Why Culture Management Matters for IT Organizations

There are many definitions of what constitutes an organizational culture.  While definitions may vary, organizational culture is at the core, a set of values, beliefs, assumptions and related behaviors about what is expected as desired behavior by executives, managers and staff in any organization.  The culture of any organization develops over time, and is based on what the organization has learned in how to be successful when addressing both market challenges and internal integration.

IT organizations each develop their own unique cultures based on their collective experience. Many industry studies indicate IT organizations spend a significant
portion of their resources on maintaining existing infrastructure, rather than applying resources to technological innovations relevant to customers and driving top-line revenue growth.  This use of a significant portion of IT organizational resources is a primary driver of the current culture of many IT organizations, which focuses on infrastructure maintenance rather than enabling customer outcomes. With the increasing pressure to improve service while lowering costs, IT organizations increasingly need to examine their existing culture to determine if it is enabling, or hindering, the ability to improve service in a cost- constrained environment.

Changing the culture of any organization is a difficult challenge, but is often driven by external factors including the overall economic environment. Currently in industry, culture transformation is often approached as a one-time change in culture for an organization to catch up to a set of changes in both the organization’s external and internal environment.  Rather than view culture change as a one-time event, it can be an enabler of success for IT organizations when managed and improved on a continuous basis as part of ongoing
operations.
A critical first step for IT organizations to change their culture is to focus on maximizing cost savings in the IT infrastructure.  Adopting a systemic financial approach to obtaining cost savings in server and desktop refresh cycles, tighter management of IT investments to obtain target return on investment, and costs savings through virtualization and cloud computing are common starting points to move the culture toward viewing IT infrastructure as a commodity to be optimized.

A second step, once cost savings have been obtained from the existing infrastructure, is to more closely align application development and enhancement to the needs of the business and operational units, and begin to focus on IT innovation to drive top-line revenue growth. Moving away from a focus on infrastructure maintenance to aligning all aspects of your IT operations to enable and drive customer outcomes, is a concrete approach to changing the culture of your IT organization.

= Cheers =

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About msetyadi

I am an IT Strategic
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