Breaking Out of IT Bureaucracy

Strategy
by Guest Columnist

The IT function can occasionally find itself lost in confounding bureaucratic red tape. While IT management can be complex, one writer argues that IT processes should adhere to a “Goldilocks” principle. That is, processes are not too complicated, they’re not too simple—they’re just right.

Mark Settle writes, “Business executives frequently complain about the collective impact of government regulations on the cost and complexity of everyday operations. IT organizations are burdened by a variety of processes that have the same collective effect. Some of these processes are externally imposed while others are self-inflicted.

“Most IT staff members are well aware of the administrative burdens created by their internal work processes. And they should be—they helped invent many of them! Nevertheless, staff members routinely complain that certain key processes are hopelessly over-engineered and far too sophisticated for their needs; while other processes are poorly defined, inconsistently enforced or made up on the fly.

“IT’s business partners are equally frustrated, if not more so, with IT’s work practices. They tire of submitting trouble tickets, project requests and business cases to address concerns and opportunities that seem obvious to them. And they tire of tracking their issues and requests through the labyrinth of technical teams within the IT organization.

“Large enterprises have roughly equal access to the tools, talent and best practices that are required to build effective IT organizations. Under these circumstances, process efficiency can become a source of competitive advantage. The real challenge is constructing just-in-time processes that balance efficiency and effectiveness. IT processes need to adhere to the Goldilocks principle: not too complicated, not too simple, but just right!”

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