Friday, January 25, 2013

Will Business and IT Aligned?

For decades we are talking about closing the gap between business and IT, but the gap is still as wide as it was.
In the beginning of the ERP era, we focused on aligning Business Processes and Core Systems, but in most enterprises we failed.

SOA was the next alignment promise: defining the SOA Services in Business boundaries instead of Technical boundaries, should narrow the gap. However, despite of SOA Business Value (Agility and Reusein most enterprises, the large Business-IT Gap remained as large as it was. 

The IT Community aimed at the next alignment attempt: SOA is technical and BPM is its Business related complement. 

Will the current BPM based alignment attempt succeed? I do not know, but Nick Heath's article  titled: Stop doing what the vendors tell you, CIOs told, published in Tech Republic, suggests that the root of the problem is not Technological.  

Stop Doing What the vendors Tell You
Nick Heath's article is based on Gartner's CIOs survey. Gartner surveyed more than 2,000 CIOs about their plans for the coming year.Heath's  summary of the survey result is: "The problem with CIOs is they don't appear to share the singular focus of their organization. In general, Corporate IT strategies are largely unchangeable and loaded with generic  statements about cost and service levels."

In other words: 
1. IT priorities are not in accordance with Strategic Business priorities.
2. IT Strategies are inflexible and static. The CIOs do not change strategies when the Business is adapting to changes.     

My Take
It is not because of SOA or BPM or ERP that Business and IT Alignment is not improving. 
The reasons are closely related to perception:
How IT professionals evalute their department's  contribution to their Corporate Business (They think that they contribute a lot) vs. the way Business professionals perceived their Enterprise IT  (You can not do Business with them and you can not do Business without them, Inflexible, not aligned with Corporate Goals and Missions).

The Gap could be narrowed, if and only if,  IT professionals and Business people views of the other team DNA and Role will be changed. 

The Risk of Consumerization and Could Computing
Consumerization may reduce IT and CIOs responsibilities and budgets, because users could bring their Own  Devices and Software.

Cloud Computing could also narrow IT scope, because non-IT managers can buy IT services and systems directly from Cloud Vendors.

The risk is Chaos or loosing Control of IT Systems. 

IT Vendors and CIOs
Gartner's recommendation to CIOs, as described by Nick Heath, is not new: IT Vendors could shift IT goals away from the Corporate goals and strategies.

Few years ago I wrote few posts on possible Vendors conflict of interests e.g. 
SOA VDS – AmberPoint Example, ESB for an Orphan.
  
CIOs not stop always from doing what the vendors tell them, but they should understand when it is proper to act according to a vendor recommendation and when it is not.

11 comments:

Avi Rosenthal said...



Linkedin



Big Four Accounting Consulting - Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PwC, Accenture, Capgemini (Big4.com)



Will Business and It Aligned?

Aligning business processes can sometimes be tricky, however looking at the gap between IT and business, it seems that they should be kept separate. It is similar to the gap between marketing and business, whereas marketing is just as essential as IT is to any company.
By David A. Grande





Avi Rosenthal said...







Big Four Accounting Consulting - Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PwC, Accenture, Capgemini (Big4.com)



Will Business and It Aligned?

"Alignment" consists of both formal structure and social communication. It has to come down to tools. A new generation of SaaS platforms are filling the human gap that exists in our organizations. grafShare.com provides the structure to diagram a schedule or process combined with communication tools for tasking and chatting. The natural social interaction has proven to close the business -IT gap.
By Asher Gendelman

Avi Rosenthal said...







Big Four Accounting Consulting - Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PwC, Accenture, Capgemini (Big4.com)



Will Business and It Aligned?

It sounds like we are talking about effective change management. Unfortunately most change management methodologies are not effective, focusing on training and communication primarily which are important but only two of several factors and certainly not the foundation factors. Alignment/integration of all operational functions like IT and marketing is essential. Effective change management aligns/integrates new solutions (IT for example) by starting with the foundation element, work processes. We install IT solutions to improve business performance. If work processes do not change, neither does output performance. To change (improve) performance we must change the way work is done which is through work processes. When we integrate an IT solution such as SAP for example it is necessary to refine or in some cases redesign impacted work processes from end-to-end. SAP methodology typically only addresses those process activities, tasks and roles enables by SAP system. Work processes must be made to accommodate the IT solution in order to realize the full benefits of the investment. From this end-to-end process realignment with the solution requirements, it is easy to see exactly how the rest of the operational functions must be "resynchronized" to support the redesigned work processes including work process tasks and roles. Resynchronization of operational functions to support this foundational change is now pretty straight forward in guiding realignment of reporting relationships (org structure and governance), HR support systems and even culture. This also targets required communication and training planning very clearly. However Avi, it is sometimes difficult for business leaders to grasp this holistic approach and that is why we hear the same statistics about strategic initiative failure rates being around 70% which is the same now as we heard in the mid-1990s.
By Ervin (Butch) Ackman

Avi Rosenthal said...







Big Four Accounting Consulting - Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PwC, Accenture, Capgemini (Big4.com)



Will Business and It Aligned?

What if some ITs exchange their "big ego" for "service mindset" and "cooperation" with business?
As stated by Gartner's in the article (watch the last 3 words :)): “‘The best’ distinguish themselves from ‘the rest’ in how they use common tools innovatively and effectively and how they apply and align common strategic themes more tightly to the business needs and priorities of the organisations they serve.”"
By Agnieszka Majszczyk

Avi Rosenthal said...

Big Four Accounting Consulting - Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PwC, Accenture, Capgemini (Big4.com)



Will Business and It Aligned?

I'm currently working on a consulting assignment for a large institution where these problems are patent. IT and Business alignment is being investigated, and my client's discovering a couple interesting facts:
- IT must admit that they are serving, and must therefore develop a culture of service and results
- Business has a skewed understanding of IT and vice-versa. It is therefore to draw up a governance scheme that inscribes dialogue as a core function, via e.g. PPM and a Business case approach to projects...

From my experience, bridging the gap between Business and IT is not simply about tools or their organisational by-product i.e. change management (which essentially consists of changing the organisation and processes to stick to the rigidity of an IT solution). It is also a competence issue.

Yes, IT must strive to understand business processes to integrate the needs and I have seen most IT departments do that. However, my recommendation is that It helps to have a 'middle' layer of business AND functional analysis, whereby business needs are clearly expressed and translated into solutions that speak a language both IT and Business can understand.

Nothing new, really...
By Andre Astovasadourian

Avi Rosenthal said...

Big Four Accounting Consulting - Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PwC, Accenture, Capgemini (Big4.com)



Will Business and It Aligned?

I believe alignment is a journey with a destination that changes based on the needs of the organization. Therefore it is likely a gap will always exist. As long as the gap does not represent ground already travelled, opportunity exists, and how it is managed should be measured. Just my two cents.
By Mark Manca

Avi Rosenthal said...

Service Oriented Architecture Special Interest Group



Will Business and It Aligned?

To complete the question I would like to ask this.
It is often said that SOA must be as much a Business initiative as an IT initiative. In your everyday practice of SOA, how much do you find this to be true ?
By Rodolphe Fouquet

Avi Rosenthal said...


Service Oriented Architecture Special Interest Group



Will Business and It Aligned?

At a top leadership level, where there are appropriate touch points between business and IT, the alignment exists. However, at an operational level, there is less alignment between IT and the business. Part of the problem lies in dilution of exact intent behind business objectives that need to be achieved using IT, by the time it reaches the hands of folks who operationalize the business strategy.

So, even if multiple business services are implemented, IT folks are more concerned about keeping the underlying infrastructure up and running, rather than trying to understand how useful they are, to the business. This happens due to lack of bigger picture and end to end understanding of business processes. We cannot really blame the IT folks here because ultimately they are judged and rewarded based on the availability and response time of an interface.
By Zahid Syed

Avi Rosenthal said...

Service Oriented Architecture Special Interest Group



Will Business and It Aligned?

If we do not find a treatment to the Fiefdom syndrome, we will not have an alignment at all.
As identified by Robert Herbold:
the Fiefdom syndrome stems from the inclination of managers and employees to become fixated on their own activities, their own careers, their own territory or turf to the detriment of of those around them.
People who tend to hoard resources. They are determined to do things their own way, often duplicating or complicating what should be streamlined throughout the company, leading to runaway costs, increased bureaucracy, and slower response times.
The technology is their and ready to align business and IT but it wouldn't work without treat this syndrome!
By Ash Galal

Avi Rosenthal said...

Service Oriented Architecture Special Interest Group



Will Business and It Aligned?

Although IT is moving fast, business and the way of doing business is also going through complex mutations. We can think of aligning IT to business from a strategic planning point of view but I think it stops there. ERP came with many promises and so is SOA today. The difference is that while ERP was focusing towards integration, SOA is all about interoperability. The possibility today of implementing loosely coupled component is a promise that tomorrow we would be able to align business to IT in the sense that adaptability, scalability, interoperability would be addressed in a straightforward manner. I may sound idealistic but I believe that in less than 10 years from now it would be for every company the SOA way or the highway. Company must strives today in the training of their staff because today many talk about the concept but few really grab it
By Goddy Epie Ngene

Avi Rosenthal said...

Goddy, thanks for your comment. Unfortunatley, I am not as optimistic as you are. I agree with your suffix " today many talk about the concept but few really grab it". However, it was true five years ago as it is now. why should it be changed in five or ten years? You can read other posts in my blog addressing the same issue, e.g. STKI Summit 2011 – SOA Perspective: Business Services or only Integration http://avirosenthal.blogspot.co.il/2011/03/stki-summit-2011-soa-perspective.html

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