The Technology Garden – Cultivating Sustainable IT-Business Alignment
by Celia Ellis, PMP, ITILv3
Is your organization playing the finger pointing, blame game? Does there seem to be a constant gap between what IT can deliver and what the business wants? Is the business forced to change behavior based on IT constraints?
If you answered yes to any of these questions and you’re a Technology or Business leader looking to solve any of these problems going forward into 2014 then the Technology Garden by Jon Collins, Neil Macehiter, Dale Vile, and Neil Ward-Dutton is a must read for you.
Jon and his team of IT expert authors interviewed dozens of IT directors, CIOs, and senior business and technical decision makers to find out what works and what does not. The team gathered the results into this short readable handbook with application methods that can be applied right away.
This handbook groups the best practices that an IT manager should harvest and hone in on to ensure that IT is aligned with the business’ needs and provides value in a service oriented approach.
In addition, the book also provides a framework for the application of these principles and provides template tools such as organizational self-assessment checklists and surveys to understand where companies are on the IT-business alignment road map and how to progress.
It starts with asking what are the six things you can do to become a successful IT manager, then sums them up into the following:
It then maps these six actions against four key stages:
- Gain Trust form the business (Become the trusted IT service delivery organization)
- Understand and reflect the business (Differentiate business support from IT)
- Engage the business (IT Service Management In the Business)
- Drive the business (Appropriate Change and Transformation)
In the past IT has taken on a passive role and not been aware of the key drivers for the business or had an understanding of their operational goals. This book stresses the importance of maintaining proactive business engagement, understanding corporate strategy and goals, and the significance of being a transparent service oriented organization.
The stages outlined above reflect how mature the IT and business relationship is within the company with this in mind.
In the example below, the six key activities are mapped against the four stages and prioritized based on the results of one of the surveys provided in the handbook.
Additional tools are provided that help to establish a road map and a course of action to map how the IT-
Business relationship can be improved based on the results of this exercise.
In addition to the importance of maintaining Business-IT Alignment, Collins’ work stresses the importance that the IT organization has with Innovation. The business looks to IT to bring solutions that can aid the business in developing or maintaining their competitive advantage.
The authors discuss IT’s unique view across the enterprise at all of the various capabilities. From this vantage point, the business is BLIND. IT can be a true enabler and take advantage of this position to bring solid recommendations for building out service road maps, enabling new capabilities, and retiring old or duplicate capabilities and functions. This in itself can lend to the companies competitive advantage.
In closing, forget those verbose, academic and long-winded books that claim to provide answers to these
issues and read this straightforward handbook as part of your 2014 action plan.
If you need help with implementing your Business-IT Alignment initiative for 2014, Golden Source Consultants’ Strategic consultation services can you expedite your plan.
We have experience with helping enterprises deliver innovative solutions delivering true ROI through creative, well researched, and industry-appropriate implementation methods.
Our expertise combined with Collin’s illuminating handbook will provide invaluable tools on for your Business and IT relationships can align and shine!