March 28, 2018

Can IT be a Profit Center? OR is it Simply a Drain to the Bottom Line?

Quarterly PicturePerhaps the more important question to ask should be, is IT a cost to be minimized? This topic stirred up an intellectual conversation at last Friday’s Think IT Quarterly Event. Thank you to Xcel Energy for hosting another great session as well as our esteemed panelists: Tom Butterfield, CIO at TCF Bank, Paul Challe, VP – Enterprise Applications at Medtronic, Mike McCullough, CIO at National Marrow Donor Program - Be the Match, and Trevor Farnum, Vice President of Technology at Data Recognition Corporation as they shared their wisdom and experiences surrounding the topic, Can IT be a Profit Center? OR is it Simply a Drain to the Bottom Line?

Our discussion took off when the first question was asked to our panelists and attendees. “Do you think IT is a profit center?” Richard Walker, CEO at York Solutions enthused the conversation. Majority of people said yes, and a few said no. Typical and enlightening to hear both sides of the fence.

The conversation quickly moved towards comparing IT probability to other areas of the business such as marketing. It was brought up during our conversation that IT doesn’t do the best job at marketing themselves. However, there is a difference of opinion here. It depends on who you are, and who you work for. Overall, something that we can do to improve IT, is market ourselves better within our own organizations, treating the business almost as a client.  

Relationships always tends to be a focus of conversation during these meetings. It’s brought up time and time again to build the right relationships to be successful. It appears that majority of organizations have a communication barrier between business and IT.

How well do you know the business you are in? Learning the business side of your organization is vital. In an ideal world, the CIO of an organization would control all IT related expenditures. However, that’s not the world we live in. You have to be able to bring technology to the business side and have a mutual understanding and credibility between the two.

The goal for IT should be to create enough value so the business doesn’t go anywhere else to get it. We all know the feeling of what we call Shadow IT. That’s a whole other topic in itself – but I think we can all agree that we want the business to utilize what we can give them, making it less stressful for everyone. 

Should IT be seen as a profit center? Why or why not?

See attached slides!


Posted by: Anna Wischmann

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