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 Global Director of Business Transformation at Nexthink
Share this

The Latest

November 24, 2020

Shoppers are heading into Black Friday with high expectations for digital experiences and are only willing to experience a service interruption of five minutes or less to get the best deal, according to the 2020 Black Friday and Cyber Monday eCommerce Trends Study, from xMatters ...

November 23, 2020

Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) has become significant to businesses more than ever. Global events like Covid continue to disrupt best practices within IT to support business. The pandemic has already forced millions of employees to WFH and adopt a hybrid workspace. Network connectivity and cloud application issues in these environments will continue to impact productivity and slow progress. Even so, transparent migration and deployment of on-premise workloads across multi-cloud providers, by their very nature are complex ...

November 20, 2020

APMdigest posed the following question to the IT Operations community: How should ITOps adapt to the new normal? In response, industry experts offered their best recommendations for how ITOps can adapt to this new remote work environment. Part 5, the final installment in the series, covers open source and emerging technologies ...

November 19, 2020

APMdigest posed the following question to the IT Operations community: How should ITOps adapt to the new normal? In response, industry experts offered their best recommendations for how ITOps can adapt to this new remote work environment. Part 4 covers monitoring and visibility ...

November 18, 2020

APMdigest posed the following question to the IT Operations community: How should ITOps adapt to the new normal? In response, industry experts offered their best recommendations for how ITOps can adapt to this new remote work environment. Part 3 covers automation ...

November 17, 2020

APMdigest posed the following question to the IT Operations community: How should ITOps adapt to the new normal? In response, industry experts offered their best recommendations for how ITOps can adapt to this new remote work environment. Part 2 covers communication and collaboration ...

November 16, 2020

The "New Normal" in IT — the fact that most IT Operations personnel work from home (WFH) today — is here to stay. What started out as a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic is now a way of life. Many experts agree that IT teams will not be going back to the office any time soon, even if the public health concerns are abated. How should ITOPs adapt to the new normal? That is the question APMdigest posed to the IT industry. ITOps experts — from analysts and consultants to the top vendors — offer their best recommendations for how ITOps can react to this new environment ...

November 12, 2020

The pandemic effectively "shocked" enterprises into pushing the gas on tech initiatives that, on the one hand, support a more flexible, decentralized workforce, but that were by-and-large already on the roadmap, regardless of whether businesses had been planning to support widespread work-from-home or not ...

November 10, 2020

Maintaining call quality with Microsoft Teams is a process, not a onetime event. Network engineers and Microsoft Teams application owners need to be vigilant in preserving optimal call quality to ensure audio, video, and screen-sharing always remain satisfactory for end-users. In this blog, we cover how the Microsoft Teams Call Quality Dashboard (CQD) combined with the audio/video synthetic transaction monitoring improves this maintenance process ...

November 09, 2020

For IT teams, catching errors in applications before they become detrimental to a project is critical. Wouldn't it be nice if there was someone standing over your shoulder, letting you know exactly when, where, and what the issue is so you can correct it immediately? Luckily, there are both application performance management (APM) and application stability management (ASM) solutions available that can do this for you, flagging errors in both the deployment and development stages of applications, before they can create larger issues down the line ...