The news Business Technology governance

Bobby Cameron, vice president e principal analyst di Forrester Research, espone la propria opinione sulle trasformazioni in atto nell’ecosistema it, dall’Information Technology alla Business Technology, utilizzando la leva della ‘eccellenza it’ come differenziale per pervenire a risultati di business.

Pubblicato il 26 Mag 2008


The best practice for governing technology in corporations — managing the funding and allocation of resources to meet business demands — is changing. A new technology management model called Business Technology (BT) is emerging. BT means pervasive use of technology that drives business results, with every aspect of an enterprise embodied in the technology it uses, from business processes enabled by software applications to customer and supplier interactions powered by Internet solutions.. And with BT, technology is increasingly in the hands of business people in business organizations and outside of the direct control of technology professionals in technology organizations.
Although today, only a few enterprises recognize the implications of this trend, within five years most will realize that BT is vital to delivering business results. Enterprises will fully embrace the competitive potential of technology and actively manage its use. And at the same time, BT providers will hone their offerings to enhance business results, flexibility, and configurability, making it easier for non-technicians to select, deploy, and utilize the BT solutions.
To better understand the degree of BT adoption, Forrester Research, Inc. surveyed 186 senior business executives from around the globe. We asked them to rank how control in specific roles is balanced between IT and the respondents’ own organizations. We found these business leaders’ organizations taking on many roles previously held mostly in IT. We found business organizations continuing to play a strong part in traditional roles like setting priorities and documenting requirements. But we also found business users self-identifying as playing a dominant part in new roles, including (see Figure 1):
• Directly selecting vendor-offered solutions. On average, 23% say that the business plays a stronger role than IT in selecting these solutions — like’s software-as-a-service sales force customer relationship management solution.
• Directly negotiating with and/or managing solution vendors. A quarter of respondents say that they work directly with the vendors more than does the IT organization — like choosing a business process outsourcing (BPO) provider to run direct marketing campaigns.
• Directly managing projects and technology solutions once in production. Fifteen percent of the surveyed business execs take on project management while a different 15% manage solutions in production.
This move to greater business user involvement in technology management isn’t another swing of the centralized/decentralized IT pendulum but a fundamental shift in technology management. As BT users take control, the relationship between IT and the business is undergoing fundamental and long-lasting change, with roles previously held only by IT now residing within business organizations. As a result, CIOs must work in a closer partnership with the business to assure the BT users’ success. This means  synchronizing IT’s work with the business’, architecting a flexible BT platform, and shifting IT’s culture to support business’ successful efforts.
The organization “formerly known as IT” will persist as “the BT management department” (although it will most likely continue to be called IT) with a continued focus on designing, delivering, and managing the infrastructure operations and core transaction and data systems. But with BT, technology management is moving beyond the technology department so that the line between business and IT responsibility becomes blurred. Separate IT steering committee battlegrounds will be eliminated in favor of decisions about business service — and these decisions will be made at the level of existing business units, operating units, and corporate executive boards. IT-business alignment will be replaced by top management looking for BT opportunities — better and smarter ways to use technology to grow earnings per share — the same way top execs think about sales, R&D, and manufacturing strategies.
Today’s IT department can take clear actions today to enable their firms’ BT success. To make it easier for BT users’ efforts to fit within the enterprise model, IT needs to accelerate its delivery of SOA. As BT users drive the business results at the top of the technology stack, they need access to the data and transaction management facilities delivered by IT and its deep technical expertise and discipline for transaction integrity, data consistency, policy enforcement, and audit.
And to make this work, IT has to create a BT-user-enabling culture in IT. Every touch between IT and the business — helpdesk, investment prioritization, user training, platform design, etc. — has to maintain the same BT-user-enabling focus. This means a shift in IT’s approach to technology delivery, from one which assumes IT does it all to one in which the business gets involved. This cultural shift must come from the top — driven by the CIO and her direct reports — but must also live in management and reward processes all the way down the IT organization.
Ultimately, this means that IT has to enable business users to manage risk and policy in their solutions delivery. BT users won’t be successful if their work results in increased risk or failure to follow corporate and regulatory policy. As these are a key IT skill — and built into IT processes like project, change, and problem management — IT needs to help the business users adopt processes and practices consistent with the audit and risk needs of the firm. IT can help the business hire and train these skills, ensure that the BT users stay engaged in deliberations and decisions about these practices, and follow processes that manage risk and policy.

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