Driving business value through technology

Sitting in Israel this morning at the annual ISACA Israel Conference, it became obvious to me the total dependence I personally have on technology. Last night as I checked into the hotel, I was asked how many internet connections I have and I replied, three. The hotel team member (their term, not mine) told me that the average was four; what am I missing, I have my iPhone, my iPad and my Mac?  Do I need an internet-connected watch or personal TV?  Good thing my connections are free (or at least I hope so). As I connected my devices, I quickly found that I was working on a presentation on my Mac, watching a webcast on the iPad and taking a phone call on my iPhone – and I still needed the hotel phone for a conference call.

Now you might think this is overkill, but this is typical of the world today; data is coming at us from everywhere. Our role is to turn this data into information that we can use, and this is easier said than done. That said, the way that we are doing business is rapidly changing: if you do not innovate, it is clear that you could soon be out of business. For example, take the travel agency business. I recently read that a well-known travel organization warned the market that their recent financial performance was not up to market expectations, and that major organizational changes were required including the closure of multiple agencies due to the changing nature of vacation purchases over the internet. I’m living proof of this. I haven’t visited a travel agency in years. I manage my own research on the web, read customer comments and guidance posted, and make decisions using web comparisons. I can buy my vacation directly or through a broker, and execute the whole transaction without any direct human interaction. In the past, I would have missed the experience and wisdom, but this is now available through the social collaboration offered on the web. It isn’t always perfect, but if it’s not I will let the whole world know about it in public forums such as Facebook, Twitter, or even on the discussion forums at the vendor site.

The lesson here is “Innovate or die!” and the same message is true for IT.  If we don’t innovate in how we deliver business capability, we also will be obsolete. Based on the many discussions I have had globally, IT is still regarded generationally by business leaders as a cost center. As a cost center, these business leaders see little value added and therefore IT is often a victim when cost-cutting exercises are underway. 

Fundamentally, IT must transition to a symbiotic relationship with the business, participating along another paradigm.  It will require a detailed understanding of business value, where IT can be driven for competitive advantage, and where commoditization mandates a focus on cost efficiencies.  Frankly, many IT organizations are currently not mature enough to do this, but the good news is that can and is changing.

IT must become a value-driven organization. This requires that the IT organization is fused with the enterprise, and no longer simply run IT like a business. In this organization, the CIO may become the become the COO or owner of core business processes like Supply Chain Management (SCM), with ownership of technology, process, and, most importantly, process outcomes that will be measured in business, not IT Key Performance Indicators.

The focus in this next-gen organization is how to use IT as a tool to deliver rapid business innovation. In this organization, rather than focusing on the technology aspects, the project management office is evolving to drive capabilities that help deliver business outcomes. In this organization, instead of a massive team of developers they may be working with a number of partners, third parties and even cloud providers. And in this organization, the requirement will be time-to-value with business metrics as the deliverable to drive decisions.

It is for this type of organization that we developed CA Clarity PPM v13, which releases this month. With the infinite demands and infinite decisions that will be required of these new, evolving IT organizations, the only way to remain competitive – indeed, the only way to survive – is by being able to manage the complexity and challenges of a rapidly-changing business climate that demands more from us and our organizations every day.

Interestingly, we are only at the beginning of this transition. Where will it end? That requires another reading of the crystal ball – and possibly one more internet connection at the hotel.

Internet image used under Creative Commons License courtesy of lecasio. This blog also appears on CA Technologies Service Management blog.

Article source: CA PPM Blog

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