Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise



IT Management eBook

Contributors: Dennis Drogseth. and Allen Bernard 2 2 4 It is Time to Think Beyond IT CIOs More Focused on Business than Ever 4 6 6 8 Mastering the Art of IT/Business Alignment Leveraging the Right Resources for Alignment 8 . Patty Azzarello. Jerome Oberlton.Contents… Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise This content was adapted from’s CIO Update Web site.

selfadaptive heuristics. Attention to process and the disciplines that best practices such as ITIL could provide were barely emerging. Let’s revisit the premise of EMA’s old idea of the “Global Corporate Control Center. © 2010. The Web was certainly not Web 2. by leveraging IT capabilities for monitoring. service management.0 let alone SOA. and the notion of broad integration technologies such as CMDB. Internet. at least). Then IT had the shock of its life. transportation fleets. an Internet. Back then. and analytics. compliance. these “advanced analytic” capabilities mostly didn’t work. One thing that should become apparent just from reading the press is that companies in many industries are accelerating their quest to find new and more effective ways of working. Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) consultants assessed processes and technologies involved with monitoring and managing manufacturing floors. security. Inc. not even that. 2 Back to Contents Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise. and advanced discovery fundamentally didn’t exist. In other words. there is something of a slow-burning political revolution within many IT organizations leading to dialog across organizational groups in a creative. but rather a series of feudal kingdoms each with its own walls and each with its own opinions about priorities and governance — when defined priorities and governance existed at all.” At that time. IT process automation. visibility. and process automation existed (when it existed at all) in very narrow silos within IT. automation. utilities.” They came to the conclusion that great economies of scale could be achieved by consolidating these requirements. And while that fight has been renewed in the latest economic crisis. monitoring was pretty basic (well. most IT organizations have learned a lot since then about governance. but the IT landscape is fundamentally shifting. even more basic than it is today. EMA called this the “Global Corporate Control Center. more risk-free. businesses could gain new levels of operational efficiencies. and how to optimize better with many of the above-mentioned technologies. Of course there’s still a long way to go. accountability. And when these later appeared. minimize risk and more proactively optimize to changing market Business and IT in the Enterprise It is Time to Think Beyond IT By Dennis Drogseth M ore than 10 years ago. . Even more IT Management eBook. From 2000 to 2002 the technology bubble imploded. and gamechanging way that simply never existed before. responsible. IT was very much a kingdom set apart from the business — or no. Analytic capabilities were mostly rule-based event management with very little in the way of self-learning. a division of QuinStreet. and other “business infrastructures. instrumentation. configuration management systems (CMS). and more accountable fabric of people and technologies.” which suggests collapsing a whole new set of “feudal kingdoms” into a more efficient. leaving many technology companies adrift in a sea of doubt and IT organizations fighting hard not to be outsourced. in the late ‘90s. asset planning. more automated.

such as healthcare.Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise Some of these industries. make visible. Several vendor initiatives. such as utilities. And when. Transportation systems can be run much better when IT provides better capabilities for monitoring. “service management” and “lifecycle fleet management. such as manufacturing and retail. most notably from IBM. Internet. you have an opportunity to promote IT services and technologies in a broader business context. and more IT process automation.” And even financial services. and automating the business side of hospitals and other healthcare institutions is beginning to take hold. outreach. defining priorities. © 2010. visibility. is it time to start to think more creatively about extending IT resources in support of business needs? While it may seem counter-intuitive. 3 Back to Contents Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise. enabling collaborative diagnostics. you are squarely part of the cure and not the disease. an Internet. you may ask. the linkage between the “business infrastructure” and the “IT infrastructure” becomes intuitively obvious as the power grid is essentially a “network of resources” that needs to be better monitored and optimized. which have spearheaded a lot of investments in IT innovation (and may have gotten in trouble from too much ill-focused automation). may begin to show value in a whole host of new and unexpected ways. Just think: with a modest but creative investment in instrumenting business infrastructures your chosen IT technologies. The fire in the belly exists in many businesses and organizations across many verticals to act now.). 2001. Inc. the upside for you and the IT industry as a whole is high. In some industries. reflect a more proactive effort as electronic information for storing and sharing patient records. And while the equivalent of an ITIL guidebook for doing this doesn’t yet exist. Technologies and services from a whole host of companies and services can and should apply. the processes and skill sets for dialog. consensus building. are facing a drastic need to consolidate. a division of QuinStreet. inform. tracking. This time IT Management eBook. you and your organization. And while new opportunities often come with associated headaches. this may just be the perfect moment to get credibility and support for a more innovative use of IT. are targeting individual vertical business infrastructures in much this same way. vs. and control just to ensure competitive survival. Other verticals. and support a whole host of existing and coming compliance requirements. etc. . integrate. are increasingly dependent on better systems of automation. But this idea is much bigger than IBM. The notion I’d like to put forward to CIOs and enterprise IT executives is that just as you need to lead the charge in supporting organizational transformation and its associated technologies within IT (CMS. and documenting processes across multiple groups all still apply.

an Intelligent Transport system. or a transparent food supply chain.Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise CIOs More Focused on Business than Ever By Allen Bernard I n case you missed these past few years. It reinforces the increasingly strategic role that CIOs are playing as visionary leaders and as drivers of innovation and financial growth. On the other hand. given the central role that today’s CIO performs in driving new business models. More than four out of five (83 percent) survey respondents identified business intelligence (BI) and analytics — the ability to see patterns in vast amounts of data and extract actionable insights — as the way they will enhance their organizations’ competitiveness. Along with the increased focus on data analytics. IBM’s CIO. Beginning with the dot-com era and continuing through today. the survey also revealed that data reliability and security have emerged as increasingly urgent concerns. Internet. hence their growing interest in technologies such as cloud computing.” said Pat Toole. © 2010. “On the one hand they are trying to standardize routine processes and simplify their existing IT infrastructure to reduce costs. in a statement released with the findings. with 76 percent undergoing or planning virtualization projects. an Internet. and organizations of every size. The study. with 71 percent of CIOs planning to make additional investments in risk management and compliance. the job of the CIO has been morphing from top technical propeller head to that of true corporate leader.” To do this CIOs are leveraging analytics to gain a competitive advantage and improve business decision-making. • Seventy-six percent of CIOs anticipate building a strongly centralized infrastructure in the next five years. this is now the top priority for CIOs. “Clearly the role of the CIO is changing dramatically. In fact. whether it’s a Smart Grid system. . titled The New Voice of the CIO.500 CIOs supports this conclusion. represents the insights and vision of CIOs from 78 countries. CIOs are now spending most of their time figuring out how to leverage technology for business advantage as opposed to just keeping the lights on. a division of QuinStreet. Other key findings of the survey include: • CIOs are continuing on the path to dramatically lower energy costs. 4 Back to Contents Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise. it’s not surprising that the amount of time they are now spending on driving new kinds of growth for their companies is growing considerably. Once just an order taker. 19 IT Management eBook. the job has arguably changed more rapidly than any other in corporate America. Inc. IBM’s latest global study of more than 2.

collaboration and social networking tools.” “There really is a ground swell on how their role is evolving. Internet.” said Linda Ban. green IT. an Internet. 5 Back to Contents Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise. which will allow CIOs to focus less time and resources on running internal infrastructure and more time helping their companies grow revenue. CIOs are able to focus 55 percent of their time on activities that drive innovation and IT Management eBook. and whatever comes up will be what they have to focus on. virtualization. and cloud computing. director of the CIO study program. service management. they’ve got to understand where the company is moving and what the issues are and how they help make that happen. Inc. a division of QuinStreet. “So. whereas traditional IT tasks like infrastructure and operations management now consume only 45 percent of their time. ranging from process improvement to taking advantage of technologies that can provide immediate and long-term financial impact. . and Web 2. © 2010. Top Projects In the study.” As the role of the CIO itself transforms so do the types of projects they lead across their enterprises. they wear many hats during the day. They’ve got to understand the company. they change roles on a regular basis. CIOs also identified the top visionary projects that they are working on now or foresee implementing in the future. service oriented architectures (SOA). • Even as they build these standardized low-cost infrastructures. CIOs are transforming their infrastructure to focus more on innovation and business value rather than simply running IT. customers. “You can see that they are really a combination of business and technology so at any given point in time in the morning they may be focused on (technology) and in the afternoon they may be working on a five-year plan for the business.” said Ban. “It’s no longer enough for them to be considered the consummate IT professional in the company. These include: BI and analytics. CIOs are also focusing on mobility solutions and unified communications. low-cost business processes.Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise • More than half of CIOs are expecting to implement completely and partners.0 projects to enable more effective communications for employees.

com IT Management eBook. Good work speaks for itself. © 2010. endless justifications. it means you are. It’s because people with high credibility are more respected and trusted.Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise Mastering the Art of IT/Business Alignment By Patty Azzarello A s I’ve been writing about IT/business alignment and working with IT organizations. It’s up to you to find a way to share what excellent work in IT looks like in a way that can be understood by non-IT people. or protected. which means they get more budget. If it’s unpleasant for you and unlikely to happen spontaneously. and waste less time on defense. undeserving of credibility.” Some CIOs have given me pretty direct feedback that people like me should get out of the way and stop giving IT a bad rap. discovered. an Internet. Building good business relationships requires personal interaction. . listening. This is not a shallow. In IT it’s even more perilous because no one else even understands what a doing a good job looks like. I see that CIOs and enterprise IT executives fall into two camps regarding taking ownership of IT/ business alignment. and having a meal or a coffee with someone. People who work really hard and deliver great results don’t always get recognized. a division of QuinStreet. They can deliver more. “Not my job. schedule it. This is not just an IT issue. many IT executives feel like it is low-value activity. because they have fewer things blocking them and they attract the best people to work for them. As you consider your appetite for reaching out to your business counterparts here are some points to consider: Executives with high credibility get more done. in any function.” These are CIOs and executives who believe that making Inc. You don’t need to be comfortable. and stupid questions. 6 Back to Contents Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise. The only thing that should matter is doing a good job. Technology doesn’t help. by definition. or they are just not comfortable with it. political phenomenon independent of delivering results. “I need to own this. Good work doesn’t stand on its own – at any level. and board is one of the key factors in being successful in the first place. CEO. Internet. you just need to do it. Because it is outside the realm of technology. It’s sad but true. more support. relevant connections to their business peers. They think that if you need to focus on building credibility.

All business functions have the responsibility to manage their function while putting the overall business first and at the center of the IT Management eBook. and how choices are made about general business and IT investments. © what the fixed and variable costs are. This is not just an IT challenge. the clearer it will be what is important to the business.Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise Business first. and how you should focus and communicate your IT plan in your interactions with the business. The more you connect with your peers on a business-first basis (where all of you are putting the business at the center vs. Make sure they understand how IT spending impacts the P&L. How do we make money? One thing that really helps is if you make sure every person in your IT organization knows how the company makes money. Any executive leader needs to be able to focus first on what the business needs and then prioritize what happens inside their function to serve the business agenda. an Internet. Inc. and what the biggest levers that drive profit are. your own function). . Explain where the revenue comes from. Internet. 7 Back to Contents Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise. a division of QuinStreet.

executives should give up personal agendas. I was looking for an individual who was well versed in the supply chain discipline and could help guide the business along the appropriate path. Ideally. CIOs and enterprise IT executives must also hire the IT professionals most likely to create an atmosphere of alignment between technology and business. and enable IT to provide the resources that are necessary to make those programs a success. contract management. I also sought someone who understood the specific supply chain modules of Mannatech’s resident Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system so he or she could align the fundamental needs of the business with the technology. confirmed this to me. in connection with the business. Hiring the Right IT Professional to Bridge the Business As I continued to use alignment as a means of driving the success of all business programs. This combination of talents. My experience as CIO of Mannatech. © 2010. and logistics management. Inc. Such alignment often entails the willingness of key leaders to collaborate and focus on the execution and delivery of key programs. I recognized the importance of hiring a seasoned supply chain management professional who could 8 Back to Contents Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise. This individual was a well-respected leader who already understood the cultural dynamics of the business. In many cases. Inc. . I selected an individual from the talent pool of consultants who had previously worked on supply chain efforts at IT Management eBook. demand planning and forecasting.. including supply chain management. In that same professional. Internet. work side by side with the business to develop an overall strategy for supply chain optimization. in turn. successful collaboration means leaders need to have extensive conversations concerning what’s vital to the business. a division of QuinStreet. enabled the creation of a sound strategy that IT. In addition to these factors.Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise Leveraging the Right Resources for Alignment By Jerome Oberlton I T’s alignment with the business is critical to the success of an organization. could use to introduce a program that would deliver huge value to the organization. work across departments. an Internet. Mannatech hired a supply chain management executive who had a very solid background in sourcing. warehouse management. To meet this requirement. working with business executives to achieve results for our supply chain management project. With this professional in place.

was an ideal match for the company. The VP of supply chain management carefully nurtured that relationship and was key in advising the CFO of specific efficiency and cost-saving opportunities that were available as a result of this project. Keeping this need in mind. The site desperately needed an upgrade. When hiring a new team member. and credibility will be more easily achieved. it could be used to up-sell and cross-sell products while also reducing the amount of time needed to order products and register new independent sales associates. I reached out to the head of marketing to discuss the challenges with the existing Web site. subsequently. the CMO and I spent a great deal of time learning the challenges and frustrations that associates were experiencing on the Web site. could better position the Mannatech image and brand. 9 Back to Contents Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise. One must make a methodical. The vice president of supply chain management met with the CFO to discuss the pros and cons of the effort. In preparation for our presentation. We knew if the associates’ ability to do business was hampered. Cultural awareness: Knowing the nature of the business and demonstrating an ability to adapt to the cultural dynamics of an organization are extremely important. Using Alignment to Transform Web Resources Just as with the supply chain optimization effort. as it was difficult to navigate and had little consumer appeal. . the business will readily accept this person as a member of the team. Taking on this effort was no small IT Management eBook. if appropriately designed. Not only was she able to elevate the importance of the program with the CFO. She outlined the business case associated with the need for supply chain optimization and helped ensure the program had the appropriate level of visibility at the senior executive level. The old Web site was dated and used mostly to process orders and handle the registration of new independent sales associates. Internet. As CIO. and we collectively began working on a strategy and plan to present to the CEO and. Her relationship with the CFO was important because we wanted him to understand the impact and importance of the supply chain optimization initiative. look for these traits to help ensure a successful team: Business-savvy and technical-savvy: If a candidate demonstrates strength in both areas. During this process. I realized the need to collaborate with other key executives as a means to help propel the effort forward. The chief marketing officer (CMO) agreed with the need to upgrade the site. I researched other programs that would contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Mannatech organization. the board of directors. an Internet. a division of QuinStreet. coupled with her desire to utilize technology to drive improvements and overall productivity for the business. Partnering with an individual who is well-respected among senior leadership and is committed to a strategy of collaboration can be very valuable to an organization. planned effort to build lasting relationships. Both the plan and strategy were shared with key business executives and then subsequently shared with the it would ultimately affect Mannatech’s top and bottom lines. we developed a cohesive strategy and execution plan for the supply chain optimization project. She not only set her sights on collaborating with IT but also understood the need for cross-functional business alignment as a means to achieve strategic value for the business. a candidate will understand the importance of building a relationship with the business as well as forming internal alliances. An upgraded site. Relationship-oriented: Ideally. After a number of conversations with key members of the leadership team and much deliberation. we agreed that the corporate Web site had become obsolete and was in need of a redesign. Additionally. Inc.Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise Achieving Strategic Value Her focus on supply chain optimization. Our new VP of supply chain management began work immediately after accepting her new role to ensure that both a disciplined and structured approach for execution was in place. but she also specifically worked with IT to champion the success of the program. © 2010.

a division of QuinStreet. . an Internet. At the conclusion of the presentations. both the CEO and the board elected to have the CMO and I spearhead this program for the business. Alignment and collaboration are important for any organization but can be especially valuable in bridging the gap between the business and IT. Organizational goals and initiatives can be successfully achieved by partnering with individuals who are well-respected and who have a proven track record. the CMO laid out the impact that executing this program would have on the broader market and detailed how this program would help our company reposition itself. 10 Back to Contents Aligning Business and IT in the Enterprise. IT Management eBook. This collaboration gave us true insight into what was working and what needed to be improved so that by the time we met with the board. Based on several feedback sessions. Such a partnership will help IT better understand how to connect any issues with viable solutions and ultimately achieve success. Inc. we conducted surveys and analyzed various Web tools in order to generate a viable solution. The Web site redesign program underwent extensive testing by a subset of Mannatech associates. © 2010. During the presentation. the field organization was pleased with the new Web site redesign. we were Business and IT in the Enterprise We extensively researched the impact on productivity and customer experiences.

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