Making a business case for IT has become essential to the success of enterprises today. Decades ago, when technology was new to corporate settings, IT was viewed as a mysterious force that dazzled business leaders into spending heavily with few questions asked. IT systems that could crunch sales figures or provide customer insights were a marked improvement over manual processes, and so corporations invested in technology products based on their raw capabilities without necessarily connecting IT investments to business performance. The business case was self-evident.
Today, that's changed. Thanks to the uncertain economy that has brought budget pressures across the board, business leaders won't - or can't—approve IT spending the way they once did. The business benefits of upgraded technology products over existing versions are not as easily demonstrated as the business benefits of technology over manual processes once were.
In addition, C-suite executives have grown more pessimistic about technology; many view it as an infrastructure expense - as essential yet as non-strategic as electricity - that must be maintained, managed and minimized. Because of these pressures, CIOs are faced with the daunting task of clearly and repeatedly demonstrating how technology investments help the company achieve specific business goals. Gone are the days when technology leaders could concentrate simply on technology; CIOs today must be outwardly focused, customer driven and understand technology's impact on productivity, agility, competitive advantage and other business drivers.
CIOs who work to demonstrate the positive impact IT investments have on reaching specific business goals - increased revenue, faster time to market, improved customer service, just to name a few - can readily draw the relationship between technology and business value. That data is essential when seeking additional IT investment.
In early 2012, Wipro conducted a survey of 268 executives to find out how they align IT spending and business value. It was found that there is a strong correlation between companies that view IT as a strategic enabler and those that outperform their competition financially. So by viewing IT strategically and investing in IT in a way that aligns with business goals, companies reap greater benefits and can gain an advantage on competitors who view IT as infrastructure and make tactical investments in technology. It is now the onus of CIOs to make that compelling business case and align their IT investments to strategic goals.