Business and IT
For companies, their own IT is a cost factor and a competitive factor. How a company's IT is structured has an impact on its profitability, competitive position and future viability. It is therefore advantageous if IT is set up and aligned in such a way that costs do not get out of hand, a good competitive position can be achieved and future viability is guaranteed.
The environment: Defined by activities, processes and products
Finding the best set-up in terms of IT depends on a variety of factors:
- Industry and area of activity
- Development in the industry
- Evolution in technology
- Development in the field of activity
- Development in the product area
- Development in the competition
- Development in the customer area
- Development in the supplier area
Alignment of IT
IT should be set up in such a way that it is prepared for different developments and can be adapted in a timely manner. Looking at the structure of a company, the following areas must be supported:
- Administration (including finance, management, HR, etc.)
- Internal and external processes
- Production (value added contribution)
- Marketing and sales
- Communication internally and with customers, suppliers and other market participants
- Data management
- Security and resilience
Depending on the industry and activity, the requirements are different. They are different for a small company than for a medium-sized company and again different for a large company. Risk appetite and risk tolerance also differ depending on the company. IT forms an overall system consisting of various products, platforms, applications and data. There is no blueprint that covers the requirements of different companies. There are only "best practices".
IT products to implement business requirements
To implement this, products are needed that offer the required functionality. They should be fit for purpose and cost-effective. To do this, they must support the most common standards. Products can be developed in-house, purchased or obtained as a service.
Depending on the industry and activity, the requirements are different. They are different for a small company than for a medium-sized company and again different for a large company. Risk appetite and risk tolerance also differ depending on the individual company. IT forms an overall system consisting of various products, platforms, applications and data. There is no blueprint that covers the requirements of different companies. There are only "best practices".
In-house IT is largely implemented using products from different vendors and suppliers. In-house IT solutions are usually based on products and platforms from other vendors. This results in dependencies. Most market-dominating vendors of IT products offer mass-produced goods at affordable costs, but the products only are highly cost-effective at first glance. The actual costs are significantly higher. This can be made transparent through reasonable cost center accounting. However, this is only possible after the purchase or the start of use. The effective costs can hardly be determined or verified at the outset.
IT can be roughly divided into four areas:
The first two areas form the basis for the operation and use of applications and can usually be covered by products available on the market. For the data processing itself, in addition to infrastructure and communication, the applications are needed that provide the basic functions and the data processing logic. It is the combination of applications and data that plays the greatest role in terms of competitiveness. In-house data combined with data from other sources.
Costs exist in all four areas, and so do dependencies. The choice of a vendor's products leads to a technical and organizational dependency on that vendor. There is also dependency on the vendor's product and pricing policies, and changing vendors leads to technical and organizational effort and thus to costs.
Finding the best way to tackle these issues depends on the individual case.