re: General Motors Will Slash Outsourcing In IT Overhaul
I agree that these are not new ideas. "Revenue of IT", "business value driven IT", "business aligned IT" and other popular phrases for tying IT spend to ROI have been around for decades. The problem is that the juice, generally, isn't worth the squeeze. Yes, you can probably hammer down a fairly comprehensive ROI for projects if you have a dozen analysts working on the numbers, DCFs, NPVs, etc, but, except for very large projects, the cost of the analysis and the bureaucracy consumes the gains. All of this analysis on ROI also makes it really complex to do anything as building the business case is such a hassle. Also, many IT projects don't have a clear cut ROI even though there is a clear cut need. What is the ROI on a collaboration application or an intranet portal? There may be some productivity gains, but it is a far stretch to say those productivity gains will hit the bottom line. Likewise with social media development, mobile consumer apps, etc. It is pretty difficult to determine that for every dollar spent you will receive $x in ROI. It is generally more cost effective and faster to just let managers make some judgement calls under a certain dollar amount.
On the age old application rationalization and data center consolidation topics, no one created 4,000 applications because they thought it would be more cost efficient than 40. They did it because they needed to get things done without going through the months long change management process of adding a field in SAP or some other enterprise wide application to ensure their change does not have an unforeseen impact on some other user group. By the time changes are made in centralized organizations, the requester usually has moved on or found a manual work around. Everyone has a slightly different task they are trying to perform and everyone needs their change requests processed now. Consolidation equals cost efficiencies, but they generally do not equal agility or speed to market efficiencies. You end up with a really cost effective IT organization that does not meet any group's needs particularly well. The same reason that local fire departments are not managed at the Federal level.