We’ve talked about the need for alignment before convergence, and on aligning IT to Business or Business to IT. But, how do we go about this? What is the starting point?
In order to start, we need to have an understanding of what it is we are trying to do. When we speak of aligning IT to Business, what is it we want? What are we really trying to accomplish? Regardless of the details, I think it is safe to say that what we want is an IT group that has established a flexible infrastructure that enables the business to rapidly adjust to changing needs in the market. We want agility. We also want to make sure that IT is providing strategic insight into the business and providing value beyond keeping email up and the servers running. We want to make sure Business leaders have a firm grasp and understanding of that IT can bring to the table to improve the organization.
A solid foundation, open, two-way communications, understanding of the business issues, and mutual respect – that’s what we want.
To do this, the perception of IT must change. The perception of IT must change from a cost center to a strategic partner.
So now we know what we want to look like, and what we need to change to, but how do we go about it? Well, we need to start with the basics – People, Process, and Technology. Most people will find it difficult to disagree that these three areas are crucial to the success of any change or improvement initiative. It’s the order that gets us in trouble.
In the past when we have implemented improvement projects that involve technology, the approach has been:
Focus on Technology
Glance at the Process
Blind to the People
However, in order to effectively and completely transform an organization from IT as a cost center to IT as a strategic resource, the approach should be:
Focus on the Process
Involve the People
Prepare for Technology
In order to focus on the process, the people who are engaged in the process must be involved. They are the ones who “own” the process, and make it work every day. By eliminating waste, reducing non-value added activities and increasing value added functions, the organization can effectively implement the technology that will enable the organization to move forward, setting a foundation for improvement.
In the next few weeks, we’ll go a little deeper into each of these areas. Let me know your thoughts!