Meeting the IT Profitability Objective

Cutting costs only takes a business so far, especially as it pertains to IT. When faced with constricted budgets, Steve Heilenman, CIO of Computer Aid, Inc. (CAI), believes we should take this as an opportunity to “reposition technology to assume new roles in meeting the objectives of the business.” In an article for CIOReview, he shares the methods he uses to make IT a critical business enabler.

Building Self-Sufficient IT

To better support CAI, which is a global IT services firm, they established “CAI Labs,” a small consulting and R&D team within their IT organization. The aim of this innovation incubator is to ultimately create new products that expand CAI’s portfolio, but since it is stationed within IT, it offers the added bonus that profits generated from products go directly back into IT investment. In order to ensure wise investments are made, the lab is run much like a business unto itself, where ideas are pitched and are funded if approved. CAI Labs combines Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur’s “Business Model Canvas” with a practical, cost-sensitive minimum viable product (MVP) approach.

Heilenman elaborates on the value of the canvas:

[The Business Model Canvas] defines the unique value to the business, probably buyers, and critical elements for each proposed idea. If we struggle to complete the canvas, it is not an opportunity to pursue. If we can complete a canvas, the output is then turned into a pitch presentation to get approval for the idea, and the canvas alone may be enough to approve creating a prototype prior to making the pitch. Additionally, the canvas serves as an approved guide through the product development lifecycle—we revisit it regularly and modify the canvas as we see a need to pivot our products.

CAI Labs is presently addressing challenging questions raised across a variety of industry verticals and developing products to answer them. They have already demonstrated their robustness by building and marketing a testing automation tool in one stroke (TestInSeconds) and working on ultrasonic technology to pinpoint locations of ER patients in another stroke. Building teams such as these within IT creates a whole new spectrum of possible ways to generate profit, to such an extent that IT might someday be able to pay for itself. Is this not an idea worth entertaining within your IT department?

You can view the original article here:

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