Saturday, October 12, 2013

What is the “Modern Scenario" to Bridge IT and business?

The function of the bridge is to mind the gap; the wonder of the bridge is to create a scene

There is always some friction between corporate and business units. This can get aggravated whenever Corporate IT wants to implement an integration project across group businesses. The gaps between business and IT are caused by functional mentality or isolated process, ‘the ownership vs. stewardship’ political dispute or ‘he said, she said’ miscommunication. So what’s the ‘modern scenario’ to bridge IT and business effectively?

 Strategy clarityBoth business and IT stay on the same page about business strategy, and weave IT into business strategy, in order to build a bridge between IT and business, there must be a very clear understanding and agreement between IT and the business about the role of IT in the organization. If the business only regards IT as a support function, then the priority will be operational efficiency. If the business expects IT to be a driver of innovation and change then the IT function needs to be flexible and responsive and even proactive. The business needs to know what IT can deliver and enter a dialogue about what best serves the goals of the business. Getting to this stage can take many years, but in order to get there, IT needs to be telling the business about the opportunities and possibilities and that means IT needs to really understand the goals of the business.

Communication enforcement in developing a trusted, working relationship with correct stakeholders: The connection between IT and Business lies in using the common language to help business cross that bridge to IT. Both need to understand that IT as a function is also business related and revenue generating in that the billing systems and data used for business decisions are always being used to make important decisions for the overall company. The faster both understand that IT is not just technical, but rather Business Technology, then we will see that many companies start to have better conversations with each other and what’s more, a better understanding of how it all makes sense.

Framing the right problem and therefore framing the problem right! Building the 'right' bridge between IT and business, closing the gap is about doing the basics right. It's often about strategy alignment and implementation. Ultimately you'd want to recognize that what most businesses need is an IT capability, not "just" an IT department. Getting the basics right starts with a collaborative attitude towards perhaps the most important step, which often more or less gets to be forgotten: Understand what you and your team are required to do to deliver the strategy. A good starting point would be to fully understand what the business requirement is, this is a key starting point for IT and making IT a profit center as the business is almost always skewed towards ‘financial’ goal of the balanced scorecard.

Leverage System Thinking and EA: The tactical way to build bridges is to adopt the Enterprise Architecture approach using an EA framework as ‘super glue’ between business and IT for planning and governance. bridging the gap should be part of the governance structure, but by no means should it be implemented by itself. You will need A) a balanced approach and B) to consider multiple layers depending on the organization you are implementing it in so you can ensure the right information for decision making is provided AND budget decision making is broken down to the level of delegation consistent with organizational policies. Though there’s no such EA framework as a magic pill, always customize it to fit your circumstances, in line with company structure and current values/culture/delegation approach

The ‘modern scenario’ of bridging business and IT should well align the open mindset, the digital technology, as well as the agile processes, to ensure IT is business, and business’s IT, and business as a whole is more optimal than the sum of pieces.


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