Sunday, May 6, 2012

Three Principles Modern IT Needs to Practice

Every IT Project is a Business Project!

Information is like blood, and technology is like a backbone for any modern business today. However, most IT organizations have a reputation as a cost center than a value creator, a controller than an enabler,  a tool than magic. With the new wave of latest technology trend such as cloud, mobile, consumerization and social, the contemporary IT leaders need to refresh the innovative mindset, embrace the lightweight technology, practice the following three principles, run IT with simplicity technically, culturally and politically, in order to become the strategic business partners and reach high-level of IT maturity.  

1.   Every IT Project is a Business Project

Every IT investment has a business purpose, therefore, every IT project is a business project. Some critical root causes of IT project failures include:

  • The business purpose of the project is not well-defined and communicated, a clear-defined project purpose should well describe the business problems need to be solved or the strategic vision needs to be implemented.
  • Business initiated projects run as an interesting technical challenge: The projects may have a relatively simple and sensible scope but get over-engineered by an excessively risk-averse IT department, adding so much cost and complexity that the project exceeds the cost/benefit or technical viability hurdles.   
  • Governance was missing or was skipped; with the convergence of enterprise governance and IT governance projects that compete for resources should be assessed on the metrics of the business - not only ROI but also include business case &strategic input, and balanced scorecard metrics.

 2.   Simplicity is an Optimum of Sophistication

Managing complexity is a systematic effort: as today’s IT switch focus from “T” technology to “I” information focused, permeating into every corner in modern business, and related systems such as financial, productivity or customer service, supply chain platforms will be simplified either via the effective process or methodology.
  • EA, BPM, PMO need to be managed holistically: The IT complexity may be also caused by short term goals, to run IT as a silo, with overcomplicated, poorly architected application/platform infrastructures. However, long-term success requires enterprise architecture, business process management, and project portfolio management teamwork more closely to reduce the waste and optimize the process.
  •   “Less is more” for modern enterprise architecture design: Overall, simplicity should become the rule for communication: less terminology, more business language; Furthermore, “Less is more” for modern enterprise architecture design; resilient process and elastic IT framework are all based on “simplicity is optimum of sophistication” philosophy.

3.   Do More with Innovation

Though CIO & IT staff work extremely hard to support businesses. However, they are still being beaten down and told IT is not agile, too slow to adopt the new technology, with over-complex processes.

  • As a steward of information technology in the organization, how can IT stay ahead of the curve, to build up security and governance model & framework before business requests new technology or service, such as today’s BYOD & consumerization of IT?
  • How to leverage flexibility, effectiveness, and efficiency by continuously communicating with business partners? And keep in mind with clear business goals such as how to improve employees’ satisfaction & productivity, how to delight end customers, and understand what customers need even before they know themselves.
  • “Do More with Innovation” is the mantra for business & IT in today’s uncertain economy, through taking advantage of new IT trends, not as new technology toys, but as timely enablers to deliver the business solution with elasticity and agility.
If CIOs and IT can really practice these principles, CIOs may not get perceived as techies without business savvy, and IT will turn to a value center, an innovation incubator, a business transformation center,  a business strategy verification brain yard, a GRC headquarter, a business rule influencer and even a game-changer.


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