Meet the Newest Profit Center to Join the Enterprise: The IT Department
No Longer Just a Cost Center, IT Must Think Long-Term and Leave a New Legacy of ROI
March 02, 2017

Tim Flower
Nexthink

Share this

For decades IT departments have been regarded as "cost centers" — departments and entire divisions made up of necessary expenses which don't produce any measurable profit but instead help companies avoid losses by ensuring uptime, addressing end-user concerns and implementing C-suite approved technologies. As noted by the Harvard Business Review (HBR), however, this attitude is changing: Companies now recognize the potential of IT departments to drive total ROI and boost the bottom line.

To live up to this new role, however, IT must lose the short-term mindset, which, to be fair, has often been necessitated by one-off and sudden-impact issues. IT managers must adopt a long-term strategy in order to create new revenue, improve profitability, future-proof the corporate technology landscape and leave an ROI legacy.

Changing Conversation

According to a recent Forrester report, companies are coming around to a new way of thinking about IT, especially as applied to end-user experience management. Businesses now recognize the need to obtain ground-floor data about how end-users interact with IT systems "in the wild" instead of relying on pre-designed stress tests or waiting for front-line staff to submit IT tickets. The former method puts tech pros in a reactive rather than proactive position and encourages end-users to seek out their own answers, bypassing IT.

The Forrester data tells the tale: While 28 percent of companies put improved end-user productivity among their top-five goals, cutting the cost of end-user support was similarly prioritized. Leading their priorities was cutting the total cost of end-user operations using active monitoring tools. While not a revenue generator in isolation, this priority speaks to the emerging long view of IT departments: If real-time monitoring tools can reduce the costs of end-user operations by quickly addressing issues and determining root causes, this money can be re-invested into more "profitable" areas of IT such as deep-data analytics or social media tools.

Getting SaaSy

Another key driver of the emerging long-term view is the huge Software-as-a-Service market. As noted by WhaTech, the SaaS market is headed for a $170 billion-dollar value by 2025 as companies leverage the power of off-premise software. But it's not the only game in town — according to Forrester, companies must now bridge cloud-native, SaaS and packaged applications, all of which run on different platforms and may not play nicely together. The result? Thirty-six percent of companies surveyed by Forrester have adopted multiple clouds to ensure their SaaS stable can coexist with cloud-native offerings and in-house applications.

While this might seem short-sighted on the surface, it's a testament to the necessary future of IT: As cloud becomes ubiquitous, it only makes sense for companies to adopt the ideal combination of on-site, public and private clouds to cover all the bases. In effect, this doesn't limit IT potential but rather expands it, giving departments the room and resources they need to develop profitable initiatives rather than remaining locked in by limited network compatibility and outdated views of IT as a cost-center.

The role of IT is making a transition from a cost center that is simply chasing problems, to a profit center that is thinking long-term to implement strategic initiatives that leave a legacy of ROI. In doing so, IT needs to implement innovative tools and technologies, and work in collaboration enterprise-wide to better understand the needs and challenges of end-users to ensure a better business outcome.

Tim Flower is VP of Sales Enablement at Nexthink
Share this

The Latest

February 02, 2023

As organizations continue to adapt to a post-pandemic surge in cloud-based productivity, the 2023 State of the Network report from Viavi Solutions details how end-user awareness remains critical and explores the benefits — and challenges — of cloud and off-premises network modernization initiatives ...

February 01, 2023

In the network engineering world, many teams have yet to realize the immense benefit real-time collaboration tools can bring to a successful automation strategy. By integrating a collaboration platform into a network automation strategy — and taking advantage of being able to share responses, files, videos and even links to applications and device statuses — network teams can leverage these tools to manage, monitor and update their networks in real time, and improve the ways in which they manage their networks ...

January 31, 2023

A recent study revealed only an alarming 5% of IT decision makers who report having complete visibility into employee adoption and usage of company-issued applications, demonstrating they are often unknowingly careless when it comes to software investments that can ultimately be costly in terms of time and resources ...

January 30, 2023

Everyone has visibility into their multi-cloud networking environment, but only some are happy with what they see. Unfortunately, this continues a trend. According to EMA's latest research, most network teams have some end-to-end visibility across their multi-cloud networks. Still, only 23.6% are fully satisfied with their multi-cloud network monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities ...

January 26, 2023

As enterprises work to implement or improve their observability practices, tool sprawl is a very real phenomenon ... Tool sprawl can and does happen all across the organization. In this post, though, we'll focus specifically on how and why observability efforts often result in tool sprawl, some of the possible negative consequences of that sprawl, and we'll offer some advice on how to reduce or even avoid sprawl ...

January 25, 2023

As companies generate more data across their network footprints, they need network observability tools to help find meaning in that data for better decision-making and problem solving. It seems many companies believe that adding more tools leads to better and faster insights ... And yet, observability tools aren't meeting many companies' needs. In fact, adding more tools introduces new challenges ...

January 24, 2023

Driven by the need to create scalable, faster, and more agile systems, businesses are adopting cloud native approaches. But cloud native environments also come with an explosion of data and complexity that makes it harder for businesses to detect and remediate issues before everything comes to a screeching halt. Observability, if done right, can make it easier to mitigate these challenges and remediate incidents before they become major customer-impacting problems ...

January 23, 2023

The spiraling cost of energy is forcing public cloud providers to raise their prices significantly. A recent report by Canalys predicted that public cloud prices will jump by around 20% in the US and more than 30% in Europe in 2023. These steep price increases will test the conventional wisdom that moving to the cloud is a cheap computing alternative ...

January 19, 2023

Despite strong interest over the past decade, the actual investment in DX has been recent. While 100% of enterprises are now engaged with DX in some way, most (77%) have begun their DX journey within the past two years. And most are early stage, with a fourth (24%) at the discussion stage and half (49%) currently transforming. Only 27% say they have finished their DX efforts ...

January 18, 2023

While most thought that distraction and motivation would be the main contributors to low productivity in a work-from-home environment, many organizations discovered that it was gaps in their IT systems that created some of the most significant challenges ...