This site is dedicated to the emerging subject of enterprise IT automation, otherwise called Enterprise Resource Planning for IT. This is not the automation of the business by IT; rather it is IT automating itself...
Why Do We Need ERP for IT?
The modern enterprise is built on the following resources:
Financial capital (money)
Productive capital (land, machinery)
Human capital (people)
Stock of goods (inventory)
Enterprise resource planning software is software that can comprehensively manage the needs of a major enterprise resource area. And of the major resource areas, only information (i.e., IT) lacks integrated vendor solutions such as those offered by SAP, Oracle, and PeopleSoft for the other resource areas.
What Makes Managing IT So Hard?
Consider this old chestnut.
A scientist gave a lecture on basic cosmology at a local library. Afterwards, an elderly woman came up and asserted,
"You know, the world is really just sitting on the back of a gigantic turtle."
"But what is that turtle standing on?"
"And what is that turtle standing on?"
"You can't fool me, young man; it's turtles all the way down!"
The enterprise IT problem - it's a stack of turtles. A hall of mirrors. We are seeking data about the data and process to manage the processing. The work becomes highly leveraged; small errors can have large consequences. It also makes the brain hurt at times.
The current state of affairs in most enterprise IT shops is painfully fragmented. No major system of record exists for the resource. Analysts, support personnel, developers, and executives rely on personal connections, Excel spreadsheets, and a host of un-integrated point solutions to manage the business of enterprise IT. This irony has been observed by many; see Chris Murphy's excellent article The Cobbler's Kid: Why Isn't There ERP To Run IT?
How can ERP for IT Help?
First, I need to strongly emphasize that I am not looking for IBM, HP, or CA to become the "SAP of IT." Using the ERP term is simply evocative, and meant to imply the kind of comprehensive integration that ERP systems provide -- sometimes, at their best.
There have been many, many proprietary attempts to solve various pieces of the IT puzzle. But no comprehensive, integrated solution exists, nor will any one vendor be able to supply it given the complexity of the domains involved. However, with the right foundation on industry standards, a de facto, federated, ERP for IT solution could start to emerge that would radically improve the efficiency of enterprise IT.
For a deeper discussion, see my BI Journal article.