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2009 is the Year of Business Technology

I'm making my New Year's resolution early this year.  I resolve to raise the level of conversation as it pertains to the transformation of IT (Information Technology) to BT (Business Technology).  Why, you might ask, am I dedicating my efforts to this?  It needs to be done.  The gap between business and IT is growing not shrinking.  In a July 2008 Forrester survey of 600 business executives the numbers made me say, "what?"  All this talk about bringing IT and Business closer and "aligning" the two is nothing but total bunk.  A lot of talk and no one doing anything about making it real. 

I want to share with you some of the numbers that support my case:

  1. 82% of respondents agree that technology is core to their business, but only 71% see IT as effective at supporting that requirement.
  2. 72% of respondents see technology as central to the goal of competitive differentiation, but only 61% see IT as effective.
  3. 77% view IT as mandatory for sales and distribution, but only 67% see IT as effectively supporting them.
  4. When asked to assess the importance of business drivers and compare how well IT is supporting them, the gap widens.  The only category where IT support quality approached importance of the business driver was in improving end user workforce productivity - 78% viewed this as a somewhat or critically important business driver, but only 45% viewed IT as supporting this need very well or excellently.  Worse of all, IT's support for global expansion was viewed by 61% of respondents as important, but only 23% of respondents said IT was doing a good job at it.

See?  So what is behind these numbers?  An inescapable factor in today's business environment: the constancy of change. I've said it before, enterprises must adapt to the economic imperatives or whither and die; enterprises mastering the art of business agility can gain substantial and sustainable advantage.

The complexity of today's modern enterprise - its business and IT components, and its linkages with other enterprises - increases the difficulty of implementing changes.  Different elements change at different rates, but the pressure to change is always there.

As you can see by this graphic there are many pressures on the business: 

Pressures on the business graphic 

In this type of environment, how can you make your business more agile and capitalize on change?  By having a model/framework that addresses many of the difficult problems associated with change.

The Business Technology approach:

  • Targets change as the fundamental architectural problem to address
    • Recognizes that being adaptive requires balancing agility with three other key dimensions: financial returns (especially lower costs), performance and risk management
  • Defines a core set of architectural principles to promote agility, and applies them consistently across people, processes and technology throughout the extended enterprise:
    • Modularity: to minimize the dependencies between changes
    • Integration: to enable the composition of separate modules into useful systems
    • Standardization: to facilitate integration, maximizing reuse and extraction of value
    • Simplification: to minimize what needs to change and the associated costs

So stay tuned in 2009 as I start to put together the framework and show you ways to transform IT into Business Technology.


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