IT managers must change how they report their operations if they want to be seen as successful by the businesses of the future, industry professionals heard yesterday.
Gartner analyst Mark McDonald told the company's Symposium conference in Sydney that while IT had made major inroads in recent years in winning business respect, IT managers had to report the results their department had delivered to the organisation, not just its activities.
This would determine whether IT managers are seen as high-performing by their company, according to McDonald.
"They [high-performing IT managers] recognise the difference between activities and results," he said.
"Think back to your last status report," McDonald told conference attendees, among them many of Australia's top CIOs. "If it reported 'we did this, we did that'... you reported a set of activities that may or may not have a positive result.
"If, on the other hand, you report that the business you supported [made] thousands of dollars in business activity this month, [or] 'we transitioned Y number of customers resulting in this amount of revenue from an old system to a new system... you start to talk about results."
The difference is really important when you recognise that it is the expectations of the business, not the IT strategy plan, that determines how much IT is valued, according to McDonald.
To realise an organisation's expectations, IT managers had to spend more time working on long-term business benefits in addition to standard operational matters.
More IT managers had to ask themselves: "What's the potential value being created by the activities we're doing?," said McDonald.
He defined this as the difference between working 'in the business' (operational) and 'on the business'.
"The difference is those managers who drive for results as opposed to activities will distinguish themselves in a very positive way."