From a IT point of view I think there are basically two categories of companies in the world:
- Those who think that IT is a cost and it should be kept as low as possible.
- Those who think that IT can be used to drive the business.
Let me explain a bit more. In my work as a consultant I’ve consulted with many different types of companies both private and public and in all the different sectors; Life Science, Manufactoring, Financial and so on. It seems to me that all of these companies organize their IT deparment in one of two ways; either their CIO reports to the CFO or their CIO reports to the CEO. In the first case the company is a category (1) and in the latter case the company is a category (2).
Category (1) companies are typically from the Life Science and Manufactoring sectors. Category (2) companies are typically from the Financial and Manufactoring sectors. So there’s a continuum here probably with Life Science going to Manufactoring going to Financial.
So how does this apply to IT?
Category (1) companies are clueless about Enterprise Architecture and Category (2) companies are leaders in Enterprise Architecture.
I’ve worked for some of the largest Life Science companies in Denmark, and they all have fierce measurement programs in place for all their IT projects. Nothing gets started without a business plan that details costs and tangible benefits. All IT projects are benchmarked against eachother and progress, costs, time registrations and so on are compared and analyzed. Enterprise Architecture in these companies have a really hard time, as even Gartner have yet to quantify the tangible benefits of Enterprise Architecture.
I’ve also worked for some large Manufactoring and Financial companies in Denmark – and these companies use IT as a business driver. Can you imagine a bank without IT? IT is the business – and any intiative that can make IT more effective and cost efficient is exploited. So in these companies Enterprise Architecture is very effective and after a while most companies find tangible benefits that they didn’t expect to find (or even was looking for…).
So if you’re looking for a job, consulting with a company or even in the very company you work for – if the CIO reports to the CFO then from a Enterprise Architecture perspective you’re probably screwed.