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On the Two Week 11 Readings on

Strategic IT Management
1 TRUST AND PARTNERSHIP: STRATEGIC IT MANAGEMENT FOR TURBULENT
TIMES - BENSON, R.J., RIBBERS, P.M., AND BLITSTEIN, R.B.
Preface
The preface’s main point is that the book has been written to address the “silos” separating
Information Technology (IT) from the rest of the business. Consequently the authors describe and
justify the need for a set of strategic IT management capabilities as “building blocks” for partnership and
trust between these two entities during the current times, which they assert are turbulent and
uncertain.

Later they make it clear that “business” includes government and non-profit organizations. That is, all
forms of enterprise need strategic IT management.

The authors make the important point that they wish to have the reader understand the underlying
values, cultures, goals, objectives, behaviors, and the imperatives of working well with employee
counterparts within IT, within the enterprise, and with suppliers.

The authors use four concepts to characterize the connection between business and IT:

1. Capability (Chapter 1) – what the business and IT are overall able to do


2. Total Value Performance Model (Chapter 2) – what success (or lack thereof) the enterprise
currently achieves from its investments in information technologies
3. Competency (Chapter 7) – what specific knowledge, skills, and experience the enterprise needs
to actually perform the tasks that it must perform in both business and IT aspects of the
enterprise. For example, at UMUC, professors must not only know their courses’ subject matter
but also how to use LEO, the University’s learning management system, to present the subject
matter
4. Culture (throughout the book) – what basic beliefs, values, and assumptions the enterprise
makes.

Chapter 1 – Business and IT in Turbulent Times


Chapter 1 introduces the basic challenges facing business and IT management. These range from
turbulent conditions in business and extremely frequent changes in the technologies available to
enterprises, to the need for reformed relationships between business and IT within the enterprise.

Growing, increasingly complex regulation of enterprises is another challenge. Current examples in the
US include the 400 regulations of the Dodd-Frank law, the 2000+ pages of the Affordable Care Act, and

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the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to impose Net Neutrality rules on Internet
enterprises.

The chapter also asserts that neither business nor IT understand their responsibilities to foster their
relationships with each other. Both are said to lack competencies needed to improving IT’s
contributions.

The authors’ overarching goals are to achieve superior business value from the use of information and
IT, and superior enterprise responses to turbulence and uncertainty.

The following Exhibit 1.1 shows how the authors depict business and IT cause-and-effect connections.

Exhibit 1.1. Business and IT Cause-and-Effect Connections

This exhibit demonstrates the fundamental truth that enterprise strategies and enterprise operations
almost always drive IT and technology use, and not the reverse. The exception is when technology
innovations are so dramatic as to permit or encourage an enterprise to change its mission and vision.
Twenty years ago UMUC became an example of this exception when telecommunications technology
first allowed our University to offer online courses, which a few years later had become UMUC’s primary
vehicle for the delivery of its teaching and learning.

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The chapter describes three necessary behaviors for both business and IT employees:

1. Think strategically about the business – specifically, consider how technology change can be
exploited to enhance business outcomes (that is what UMUC did in 1995 when it first started to
teach online)
2. Nurture a partnership and trusting relationship between business and IT
3. Build the ability to respond quickly and flexibly to change

2 IMPLEMENTING WORLD CLASS IT STRATEGY: HOW IT CAN DRIVE


ORGANIZATIONAL INNOVATION – HIGH, P.A.
Foreword – by Filippo Passerini, Group President, Global Business Services (GBS)
and Chief Information Officer (CIO), Procter & Gamble
Passerini points out that his mission at Procter & Gamble is to transform the way the company does
business by taking advantage of technological advances. He notes that the technology now available is
“completely different” from what it was five years ago.

However, keeping in mind that P&G remains a global consumer products company, technology
“comes last; it’s a means to an end.” The six thousand employees of GBS are business people first and
technologists second. They speak the language of business as well as that of technology. They
understand the business so well that they can suggest what is needed and what is possible through use
of technology.

Passerini stresses that there must be measurement in one’s IT plans because “That which gets
measured gets done.” The course manager of AMBA 630 /AMBA 630 Hybrid at UMUC has opined in
support that “What counts is what’s counted.”

Passerini ends by stating that the work of strategic IT management “starts with” the CIO – and he is
P&G’s CIO.

Filippo Passerini, born and educated in Italy, has been with Procter & Gamble for over 33 years. He
earned a doctorate in statistics and operations research at the University of Rome. He is now helping
P&G to make more use of data analytics.

Chapter 1 – “Techtonic” Plates


In this chapter the author suggests that there are major shifts and new disruptions - hence the title
adapted from a geological phenomenon - occurring in 21st century information technology. Some of
these changes are obvious, but others are subtle. It is important to “pick up” on this subtlety and to
determine which changes will have an impact on one’s enterprise, whether as an opportunity or as a
threat. Perhaps a competitor will recognize them first before one’s own enterprise and seize a
competitive advantage. UMUC certainly seized an advantage when 20 years ago, it early determined to
offer online learning.

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Unfortunately, the author says, many companies do not do a good job of strategic planning, in IT or
elsewhere. A “further-looking,” visionary strategic mindset is the hallmark of “World Class IT.”

In this regard, General, later US President, Eisenhower offered support when he said that

In war, I have learned that plans are useless – but planning is indispensable.

*****

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