Friday, January 17, 2014

IT ‘Resolution’ –How to Set Goals Right

IT resolution shouldn’t be empty; setting metrics shouldn’t be too much inward focus.

It is the beginning of New Year, many IT leaders may start making ‘IT resolution’-It is very important for the IT leadership to be communicative, savvy and forward-thinking enough to tie IT goals into business strategies, and essentially, the technological footprint upon which most organizations are dependent. Regardless of your industry, if IT leaders look closer within, they will find that technology has progressed as the critical business driver and not the standard simple avenue of support. Think about what IT needs to do to support the growth of the business, improvements in product quality, speeding time to market for new products, improvement in profitability, etc.

IT needs to create and measure the annual goals with the direction of the enterprise's initiatives. However, the second front is that technology drives the majority of digital business processes today. Therefore, IT is already on the front lines and has molded the identity for the institution which inherently, already exists within the framework from which being measured. Goals may or may not be tested for success via metrics, but there should always be deliverables associated with each goal, of course. Metrics may give you an indication or support your progress on the deliverables. 1) How can the IT department bring business to your organization, This would be a more "proactive" exercise from bottom-line support to top-line business growth. 2) How can the IT department support the business? This is more reactive as you will have to listen to the board to understand where, what, and why to improve. 

A goal must have a timeline, resources, benefit, and beneficiary: A bad goal lacks one of these. The resource allocation is most contentious at the onset, while the time issue gets magnified at the end of the initiative. To address the resource competition issue, the 'benefit' must often be articulated in user-specific currency. In general, a goal is hard to articulate, as the exercise of goal setting is messy, a goal must comport a vision for a better state. For the CIO, Business Architecture is the practice that roadmaps getting from ‘as is’ to the desired state.

Goal messages are tailored for a different audience. IT leaders should first start thinking about who the real audience for your organizations' goals is. This could mean
(1) the company you work for and all stakeholders.
(2) the leadership team/executive team
(3) the IT functional component of the organization. In all likelihood you probably mean all of the above; however, each of these entities understands vastly different degrees of detail when it comes to IT and would probably need to have messages developed specifically for each group.

The other key here is to divide your goals into two parts.
(1) Issues which IT can address with little or no investment, but create remarkable value for the business.
(2). Business initiatives in stakeholder’s language and tentative system solutions for them along with the laid down process. 

The good alignment between strategy and execution, and clear mapping between business objectives and individual goals. You want to align IT goals with the strategic goals of the company and from there determine the individual unit goals to meet the strategic goals of your division. Metrics can then be determined to meet the goals and used as a report card. The specific steps are
(1) starting communicating with business executives to ensure IT is working on the right things and producing real value,
(2) understanding how to communicate this to the organization at large, and
( 3) how to communicate this to the IT organization to operationalize the objectives. Once the message is clear, you can begin thinking about how to measure success, which will be much easier if everyone understands what you are trying to achieve.

KPIs are set in the context of the organization's ability to meet customer demanded performance. The key is understanding primary metrics for IT that comprise the fundamental building blocks for the services required by your business. The metrics should be a reflection of business capabilities.
- Availability metrics are not really business goals.
- Implement X, Y, Z, key projects within the defined time frame, and budget allocation and how they underpin business capabilities.
- Improve human capital and capacity
- Raise customer satisfaction rating
- Simplify the solution landscape and be able to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness
- Improve adoption and utilization of key business solutions

IT resolution shouldn’t be empty; setting metrics shouldn’t be too much inward focus. It’s all about determining what actionable information your executive team needs in order to make decisions in real-time, in each instance, accretive to their respective business objectives. You start with the individual, in-depth discussions with each of the division heads to determine the key events and the related information that will provide insightful context so that business responses to those events (threats or opportunities) influence desired outcomes. Then work with your IT team leaders to create metrics related to the enterprise architecture necessary to drive appropriate decision support mechanisms.


Post a Comment