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The first series of questions in the 2011 BSM Maturity Benchmark survey focused on evaluating BSM maturity.  The good news is there is growing clarity re: the definition/purpose of Business Service Management with movement away from the narrow focus on Application Performance and Running-IT-as-a-Business to a measurable activity for aligning IT with business goals.  The bad news is the noticeable gap identified by respondents between the perceived maturity of the "business" and the abilities of IT to support rapidly changing business needs.

There was almost universal agreement that technology is no longer an option but a critical requirement for business survival and growth ...particularly as it relates to customer relationships, profit margins, revenue growth, competitive advantage, product differentiation and time to market.  Three of the more interesting dichotomies of the benchmark related to:

1.      83% of business respondents affirmed that "technology provides us with a unique, sustained competitive advantage" while the IT view was significantly lower at 30%.    

2.      84% of business participants agreed that technology was used by their company "to create product and service leadership in our industry" while the IT view came in at 55%. 

3.      Only 42% of business users supported the idea that the company limited "the use of technology to basic business functions" while the IT view was much higher at 67%.

Why this discrepancy between the business and IT views?  Is it that business has a better perspective of how technology actually impacts business initiatives?  Is it that IT better understands what technology "could" do for the business, but isn't?   Fortunately these questions are explored in greater detail in subsequent sections of the 2011 BSM Maturity Benchmark report.  Click here to obtain a copy.

Our friends at BrightTALK are hosting a BSM Summit on August 10th.

The summit is featuring two of our BSMReview experts, Bill Keyworth and Ken Turbit.

Bill's session entitled "Can BSM Navigate the Turbulent Air Currents of Cloud Computing" is focused on the widening gap between IT and Business as more services are pushed out to the cloud and provisioned by business.

Ken's session entitled "Five Steps to Ensure BSM Works in the Cloud" describes what he believes are the 5 critical capabilities required to effectively support BSM in the cloud which are aligned with ITIL best practices.

The virtual summit features 5 additional industry experts that discuss how cloud computing is affecting BSM and ITSM strategies and processes. A few of the thought provoking session titles include:

How to Take the BS out of BSM?
How to Catalog your Cloud?
Can 140 Characters or Less Really Impact IT and the Business?


I think you will find this summit worth your time and it may, in fact, be quite entertaining.

I would also like to point you to a BSMReview article entitled "A Service Model for Cloud Computing" that is a worthwhile read as you prepare for the BSM Summit.

Cheers.

Vance Brown, CEO of Cherwell Software, makes the case for changes IT organizations must make to survive in the new economy in a recent BSMReview article.

But change is hard -- it requires people to alter their behavior, processes to be reinvented and technology to support the new business process. Vance states that "the cornerstone to effective change in information technology is to harness the necessary information to proactively make the right business decisions-at anytime from anywhere-and thereby truly aligning IT with business objectives."

With today's technology, business unit managers can utilize an iPhone or PDA device to proactively receive, and then act upon, the right information-at anytime, from anywhere. This enables people with sound processes to make the right business decisions. In order to make right, or "RITE" decisions, management must have data and information that is:

  1. Relevant to the mission, strategies, and objectives of the organization
  2. Integrated across all department "silos" and geographic locations
  3. Timely, so that the issues can be addressed and resolved before they become crises and
  4. Efficient, so that with the mounds of data, organizations can "manage by exception" and the automated best business processes can be enforced
What we all know is that Change is Inevitable .. How you control and manage it is optional.

More >>
As IT becomes increasingly important to business operations more and more IT organizations are turning to ITIL and other such ITSM frameworks to bring IT under control and provide services that deliver business value. ITIL V3  sums up perfectly what we in IT need to deliver "Value to customers in terms of outcomes they want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks."

Unfortunately, too many  ITSM improvement programs fail. Reports vary, stating that between 70% and 80% fail to deliver value. A Forrester report revealed that 52% fail because of resistance. These failures cause wasted costs and increased business risks. These failures are no longer acceptable.

Paul gives us the "Top 10 Types of Resistance" you had better keep an eye out for. And if you catch yourself resisting with one of these techniques... well, then.

More >>
Back in 2007, Gartner released the statistic that IT was responsible for 2% of global CO2 emissions. This puts IT on a par with the aviation industry. Yes, really! We all focus on the airlines, because they are big and obvious, we can even pay an off-set charge to "feel better", but we need to start and focus on things we can more directly impact on our own doorstep, the IT we use. The carbon footprint of PCs and monitors is expected to triple by 2020 - a growth rate of 5% per annum. The global data centre carbon footprint is expected to triple by 2020 - a growth of 7% per annum.

We've all heard about global warming and the impact we hungry consumers are having on the planet. It's something we need to address, especially as we begin to see the impact it's having on our weather patterns. Severe floods in South America, Australia, heavy snow in the UK and East coast of the USA. These conditions are impacting our lives and businesses and are projected to continue unless we all start to turn the tide and think of ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Many governments and businesses have Green policies and set targets as part of their corporate governance responsibilities ...perhaps your own organisation has such a policy. If so, do you know its content and how you can contribute towards it? We need to start adding Green IT thinking into all that we do, particularly in the business/IT (BSM) relationship, before it's too late.

What can we do about this? There are simple things to make a positive start, such as archive unused data, power off idle Desktops, printers etc. We need to bring this thinking into our Service Strategy and Design initiatives ready for the transitioning into live operations. We need to bring Green IT into the business-oriented service management discussion. 

Recently I came across a great article by Karen Ferris from a consulting company in Australia, Macanta Consulting, who looked into Service Management and in particular ITIL as a way of understanding, controlling and reducing a Businesses CO2 impact. I hope you'll find it of interest and useful in your Green IT efforts.

The pendulum swings...

The longer you live the more you recognise the patterns and trends in everything: styles, trends, governments, policies, and on and on. The pendulum tends to swing from one position and sometimes extreme to another position and extreme. Think of the "bell bottom" trousers, or modern day boot leg, and then the "drain pipes"  for jeans, the far left Labour governments, to the far right Labour governments, and on into the Right Conservatives to left wing Conservatives. Over time we can see it all, the pendulum tends to fly through the middle ground and never stay there long.

Well it's the same with the quality of services, from business to IT ...including business service management (BSM). We all know what good service is, and from time to time we have all experienced it, although it appears to be less common these days. Something I think is odd in these difficult times. It's at times like these that service needs to be superb and enable you to retain your clients and stand out from the crowd to obtain new clients. People are looking now for more value for the spending of their hard earned money and the quality of the product and service becomes the main differentiator, as opposed to Brand of the previous affluent years. Why would services offered by IT to their business end users be any different?

The problem with service quality being eroded over time is that we slowly become immune to it and are more and more prepared to accept lesser services because it's the norm, especially in this country. Recently I've been investing in a property to rent out and engaged a building company to carry out the renovation works. When I review the handywork I notice what I feel is poor quality, with simple things like some areas not painted just because they are not visible from ground level (but when up a ladder, to hang curtains you can see everything!), or when they carry out the finishing touches (like painting missed areas) you discover that the shading is now different. When I highlight these things I get told that I'm being "too particular" and I'm expecting too high a level of quality.

Well, I'm sorry, when I pay many thousands of my own hard earned money, I expect the professionals who sold me a quality service and finished product would deliver an excellent service to a high quality, not an average readily accepted quality that everyone tends to just accept. We become more and more accepting of lesser quality and so the supplier thinks it's sufficient and acceptable. The pendulum swings from high good quality to mediocre quality, simply because we resign to accept it. Well, we need to change things. We need to let it be known what is and what is not acceptable, especially now when things are more expensive and competition is greater and choice is wider than ever before.

Let's review our IT "business -oriented" services and see how we deliver these services to our customers and make every effort to improve the quality and standards to raise the bar and become more in demand as a result. If we don't we end up on the slippery slope down by permitting our services to slowly detereate bit by bit until it's the main reason we are losing clients and finding it more and more difficult to obtain new ones. It's not all down to cost, its quality and value. I'm pushing the pendulum over to the high quality swing, will you help me push it?

BSMReview is a Media Sponsor for the Pink Elephant conference and expo being held in Las Vegas this week. As a media sponsor, we promoted the event on BSMReview and are covering BSM newsworthy items at the event. BSMReview is well represented at the event and we are holding down a spot on the expo floor.

As you probably know, Pink Elephant is a professional services organization that provides consulting, education and tools to assess ITIL and IT service management competency. The Las Vegas conference is their 15th international event, has 1600+ attendees, and offers a solid program of educational sessions that features ITIL experts and customer presenters. The event is well run and sessions that I attended are content rich and well attended.

As a side note, I loved the opening video they produced and recommend watching it -- it is both entertaining and insightful.

We are launching the 2011 BSM Maturity Survey at the event. We are finding a high level of interest in both the BSM Maturity Model we developed last year and the survey instrument. Nearly everyone we have spoken to recognizes the alignment gap between IT and the business, but few know how to deal with the issue. They see the maturity model as a good way to start a dialog and the survey as a way to measure where they stand as compared to other companies their size and within their industry.

Many of the presenters at the event are real customers who are sharing their experiences -- lesson learned and best practices. Many view the CIOs role as the indicator for BSM maturity. Many see their CIO focused exclusively on IT operations (keeping the lights on), others see the CIO as transforming IT (to run IT like a business) and a fewer number see the CIO as strategic to the business. There was a healthy discussion about how IT leadership transitions though these phases, what leadership characteristics are key and if multiple roles are necessary to do it all. It is worth reading the 2011 State of the CIO survey by CIO.com to see how CIOs see their priorities changing this year.

We didn't spend a lot of time with vendors and won't be blogging about any new BSM related announcements. However, we spoke to a number of vendors who have agreed to promote the BSM Maturity Survey to their customers and prospects to support the benchmark study.

Finally, we made some great connections with customers at the event and have a half dozen or so lined up for interviews, so be on the lookout for that.

The Pink Elephant event is 100% relevant to BSM, offers insightful content and is run professionally. We will be back there next year and hope to see you there.

Chris Bruzzo, the CTO of Starbucks, and Narinder Singh, the founder of Appirio, demonstrate Starbucks Pledge 5 application, built on the force.com platform.

They did it in 21 days.  That’s the real value of the cloud.

Watch:



As a community of business and IT professionals, we're conducting our First Annual Survey to measure the maturity of BSM initiatives industry-wide.  Our goal is to benchmark the adoption, perceptions and expectations of aligning IT and business within a variety of industry segments.

In addition, the survey will help refine the definition of Business Service Management, quantify its value to the organization and provide the data necessary to measure IT and business alignment based on market and business maturity.

Each survey participant will be provided the resultant BSM Maturity report (complimentary), analyzed by BSMReview experts, and be invited to participate in a webinar that discusses the results. It is our intention that participants will learn:

1.    How other companies are assessing the value of BSM.
2.    How your BSM maturity and initiatives compare to others.
3.    What others are doing to better align business with IT.
4.    How others are measuring BSM effectiveness.
5.    The norms for BSM adoption within your industry segment.

The survey consists of 19 questions and the average time to complete the survey is 10 minutes. Survey participation is 100% anonymous.  Our goal is to obtain survey response from both IT and business personnel, so we strongly encourage forwarding the survey link to business colleagues who will benefit from participating.

2011 BSM Maturity Survey

BSM Definition

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A friend of mine just pointed me at this Wikipedia definition of BSM. Whilst I like some of the entry, I must admit that I'm not keen on the first couple of paragraphs, which seems to imply that BSM is a bunch of management tools you buy from one or more vendors.

As one of the people, who can actually claim to have been involved in the very early formulation of BSM (at BMC), can I please explain what we were trying to achieve and what I think BSM really is? It has grown and developed since then, but I think a few key points are getting lost in the plethora of tools.  

  • BSM is not a bunch of tools. You cannot buy it.
BSM is actually a mindset. Everything you do has to be from a business point of view. This is absolutely key. Once you get this, everything else flows on from here. Tools are pointless if you don't have the mindset and processes to exploit them.

For instance if I walk into a motor manufacturer IT department and ask an employee what he/she does, the correct answer is I sell cars - not I monitor Oracle.

Once you have this, then you look at things like ITIL and CoBIT to help you achieve your goals.

  • You don't need all of ITIL - choose the bits you need
My big hang-up with ITIL is that it demands you learn its grammar and syntax and vocabulary. Sorry, I know why I need a CAB, but I couldn't care less what the initials actually stand for. Use ITIL as a means to achieve the first bullet, not as a gospel that has to be followed blindly. 

  • BSM is two-way
Everyone loves to talk about the business impact of a failed router or whatever, but  that is only a small part of the story and an example of IT impact on the business. 

What most people forget or ignore is the other way - the impact of business on IT.  One of the definitions cited in the Wikipedia entry says that BSM is a 

"strategy and an approach for linking key IT components to the goals of the business. It enables you to understand and predict how technology impacts the business and how business impacts the IT infrastructure." 

I would actually say services rather than components, but I see too many people getting bogged down in the first half and forgetting the second. Actually you have to get the second half right before you can do the first. There is no way you can design an IT infrastructure if the business hasn't told you what their goals / budgets etc. are. I can design you a sub-second 24x7 system, but do you need it and can you afford it? It may be right for some business services , but not all etc. 

  • IT and business need to be co-joined.
If IT does not have a place on the board with equal or greater importance than other departments like manufacturing, sales etc. then get another job. BSM has no chance in a place like this, as IT will always play second fiddle. 

However, this also means that IT people have to learn to not  talk IT when they meet anyone from outside their department, and that business people have to say what they need rather than what they want.

  • Don't run stuff in-house that should be outsourced
BSM is not about protecting IT - it's about running IT in the most efficient and effective manner possible for the business. For example, if you know nothing about networks, get someone else to run them for you.

  • Make your contracts business based, not component
Any contracts you have with service providers, or you have with someone outside your organisation should be based on the delivery of that service, not on the availability of server no. 843, which is meaningless.

This raises some very interesting questions on who measure the service and reports on it and with what regularity? Are they measuring it from your point of view or theirs? I don't care if the service provider uses carrier pigeons if the service meets my requirements. I have no interest in how they do it, I just need to know that it will work and how they will respond when it breaks? 

  • Don't run something just because someone else does or you read it somewhere
Every business is different. Your company goals are different. Your strategy is different. (If not, then merge and save some money). Ergo, your IT will be different.

There are many more examples I could quote, but I hope you agree that everything flows from the first bullet. If not, or you think I'm totally wrong, please let me know.

As an advocate of using "agile" principles to improve the alignment of business and IT, I'd encourage evaluation of the March, 2011 Agile Enterprise Forum 2011 ...which addresses how the CIO can effectively speed the development of business-oriented software. The need to restructure the process of developing new applications and modifying existing applications seems mandatory if IT is going to enable their users to stay ahead of the competitive curve.  Israel Gat's session on "Agile Governance: Tying Delivery to Value" is a business service management (BSM) approach to ensuing tangible value is delivered to IT's business customers by IT development ...cutting through traditional blockages.    

At the following blog post by Chris Curran in CIO Dashboard, he quotes Louie Ehrlich, CIO, Chevron Corp,

http://www.ciodashboard.com/leadership/closing-expectation-gap-business-stakeholders/#disqus_thread

It is a first person example of the CIO challenges of moving up the BSM maturity model, and the need to get your IT fundamentals in place prior to shaping IT deliverables in a business context ...which is needed prior to moving to the strategic business discussion of making technology a better enabler of effective business goals.

Mr. Ehrlich references the different types of business executives he has dealt with, and offers three requirements to becoming a "business strategist CIO."  I would offer that those requirements need to be done sequentially for best effectiveness.  Great insight on BSM from someone who has been there and done that.

Reading through the articles on BSMReview.com, I started to wonder: "what is the problem?". Is IT really thàt disconnected from the business? Looking around in my living room and at the office, I can harldy imagine how life would be without any Information Technology to support me. And all of this is provided to me by companies in the form of products and/or services. Would I buy and/or use them if I didn't know what value they bring to me? No, of course not. Given that IT has penetrated already so much into my life, these "IT companies" must be connected to (or better say integrated within) "my business".

Interestingly some time ago I delivered an ITIL v3 based Service Portfolio Management workshop within a large Financial Institution. In preparing for this workshop we agreed to first focus on the question: "what is a service?". So I started by presenting the ITIL v3 definition of a service: "A means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks.". So far, so good. Then we looked at how to define a service and -more specifically- on how to define the business value of a service. Now when I asked the question "what is the busines value of your e-mail service?" the answer I got is "The e-mail service provides message traffic and storage of e-mail and e-calendaring". Does this describe a business value? Don't think so.

Looking at this sample, one might see it as a proof point that IT is really disconnected from the business and use it to justify a Business Service Management approach. Personally I wouldn't go that far. The only thing that it shows to me in this particular case is that IT is not able to articulate the business value of a service, but that doesn't mean the service doesn't have value or is not being used. On the contrary, the e-mail service sample above is one of the most used and appreciated service in the Financial Institute with an implicit value. Nevertheless and ultimately as one of the results of the workshop we came up with the following definition:

E-mail services provide value to the business when cooperative business communications are conducted without the constraints of location, device or time-zone. Value is created when IT operates for the business a store-and-forward messaging system, so that business employees can compose, send, store and receive e-mails with peers both inside as well as outside the business and in a manner that

  • Is accessible 24 x 7 x 365 across the globe
  • Allows only one outage of max. 5 min per 3 months
  • Enables messages up to 45Mb and mailboxes up to 100Mb
  • Supports protection of business confidential information
  • Ensures data availability and archiving within business policies

Similarly and on a bigger scale, I recently met with another customer (read: a service catalog manager within IT) who asked me to review his service catalog and provide feedback. Of course I accepted this and then found myself reading through a 193 pages thick service catalog printed on paper. When the guy returned after a few days and asked me for my opinion, I said: "Imagine that you are entering a restaurant and ask for a menu card. And when the waiter returns he delivers to you the cookbook of the chef. How would you feel?". He immediately got the point that the service catalog contained way too much information for their business customers. In addition I showed him that there was also information missing in the service catalog. And you probably have guessed this one already: it contained no descriptions of business value whatsoever.

Again also in this situation the reality was that all services in the catalog already existed and were actively being used by the business customers. So why then create a service catalog? Good question. In this particular case the main driver for producing a service catalog was IT's desire to explain what they deliver, however the business didn't ask for a service catalog and also was not involved in the creation. And like Bill Keyworth rightfully stated in The Why & What of Business Service Management: "BSM success is entirely dependent upon the willingness and skill of both IT and business to have an effective two way conversation ...one party without the other is doomed to failure.".

Reading through my samples above and several articles on BSMReview.com, I see a number of very specific issues and symptoms, but am still not sure what the main problem or need is for which we are trying to find a solution under the name of Business Service Management. When we define BSM as "the discipline that aligns the deliverables of IT to the enterprise's business goals" then I wonder what's the value in doing this? And isn't this already happening implicitly ? Is it really possible to define the package of whatever it takes to deliver the expected service to the business community ...in a way that they can understand and appreciate that delivery? To me this sounds a little bit similar like designing the perfect organizational structure, while we all know that this does not exist (otherwise everybody would have it by now...).

I realize that my statements are provocative, however I believe that a good understanding of and interactive discussion around the fundamental problem we are trying to solve should be the starting point for (m)any article(s) on BSM(Review.com). So let's first address the question: "Business Service Management: what's the problem?".

Looking forward to your comments.
bsm ibm


Richard L. Ptak, Bill Keyworth and Audrey Rasmussen believe that IBM's strategic focus on Integrated Service Management (ISM) and the application of IBM solutions under the Smarter Planet theme marks a milestone achievement in linking business and IT resources and assets for business success. Not the least because Integrated Service Management, in our opinion, leads directly to the broader message of how IT can effectively leverage and link together all enterprise assets and resources to achieve the goals of the business. ISM closely aligns with the Business Service Management (BSM) concepts that are being unnecessarily limited to discussions of just leveraging IT infrastructure. 

Learn how IBM illustrates and documents enterprise-wide benefits to be realized from BSM.  Read the article »

o1

"You Answer It; You Own It!"

A customer-focused service culture designed with the customer in mind will quickly benefit from the practice of Total Contact Ownership (TCO), where there is no ambiguity of ownership and direct accountability when it comes to the customer experience and ultimate satisfaction.

Read the article »

cloud 
migration

IT leaders must learn the necessity, value and process behind the development of a "Business Impact Statement" and the importance of crafting this statement in terms and metrics that are meaningful to the business community. Bob Multhaup & Ken Turbitt highlight its critical role in initiating business-oriented service management.

Read the article »

agileWhy would a business executive be interested in Agile software development? 

Why is Agile a topic of interest to the Business-oriented Service Management community? The answer involves strengthening the connection between the developer (...who provides software capabilities for business use) and the business entity (...who uses software technology for critical business functions.)  These two groups are frequently bridged (...successfully or unsuccessfully) by IT operations, adding complexity and increased business frustration to the BSM process of aligning business with IT (...both operations and development or DevOps.)

Read Bill Keyworth's book review >>
Well, here it is: "Why Doesn't the Business Drive BSM? A Value-Driven Business Service Management Maturity Model" >>

BSMReview's Bill Keyworth and Rick Berzle evaluate the management of IT services from the perspective of the business, a.k.a. "business service management."

The negative impact of IT organizations being culturally and functionally disconnected from their business community is escalating, explain the authors.  As evidenced by the push to bypass traditional IT options through Cloud and SaaS initiatives, IT must enhance how technology is provisioned for the business.

The BSM Maturity Model described in this ground-breaking paper covers 5 levels:

bsm levekls

You can download it here for free (registration required) and let us know what you think >>
For those of you who live on another planet, e.g. Venus, or in another country, which has no interest in what goes on here in the UK, e.g. most of you, we are going to have a General Election soon. This means we get to choose who is going to make a complete hash of running the place for the next five years, whilst they line their pockets with our hard-earned cash. (If you think that's cynical, you should have seen my initial version!)

The UK used to be a superpower. When I went to school, most of the world was coloured pink on my school atlas, which made geography pretty easy. However, things have changed dramatically, although a lot of people here don't seem to have realised that. No, they still think we should be poking our noses into places we don't belong and throwing our (light) weight around. To quote the youth of today - get real.

So it is also with computer systems. You may dearly love the one you built 30 years ago and think it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. You may think the new technology from WhizBang Inc. is fantastic. In some cases, you will be totally right; in others sadly wrong. Being able to stand back and look at things objectively, and with an open mind is very difficult, but I believe it is vital if we are going to squeeze the optimum results out of the limited resources we have available. Always ask yourself "Why?", and "What is it worth?"

I just hope our next government thinks the same way.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Urwiler, the SVP and CIO at Vail Resorts Inc.  Yes, this is the Vail ski resport in Colorado. They also own and manage 5 other mountains, resort hotels and more. It is rougly a $1 billion business. As a side note, I would highly recommend visiting a few of their websites for the experience alone -- I wouldn't be surprised if they win a few design awards. In particular, drop by the Keystone Resort site and check out the immersive video of Prospector run.

I wanted to share a project that was driven by IT initially which resulted in a BSM initiative that has become a significant differentiator for their highly competitive business. The approach landed Vail Reports on the list of CIO's 22nd annual CIO Awards and resulted with Robert on the cover of CIO Magazine.

Tactically Vail Inc. needed to replace an old fleet of bar code scanners that are used to validate guests at lift gates on the mountain. RFID was the natural replacement technology for bar codes and had been used successfully in Europe. It would have been easy to just use what others had already done. But the leadership at Vail wanted to differentiate the guest experience and learn more about guest patterns on the mountain.

The CIO made the case for investing in UHF RFID, which was higher risk and more costly, but met the requirements of the business. What looked like a tactical move to replace older technology resulted in a strategic decision for the business. This is a great example of how BSM principles lead to strategic business advantage. 

Utilizing UHF RFID and Wi-Fi infrastructure, Vail has been able to deliver a unique guest experience at the lift gate and can track guest patterns across the mountain which was not possible before. Knowing where the guests are skiing allows them to execute highly targeted marketing programs to promote offers on and off the mountain. 

For the details on the story see the article in the RFID Journal. 

hagel cio
Register for our monthly newsletter, and download "Creating Strategic Differentiation with Information Technology" - a diagnostic for IT executives - by John Hagel III.

Here's what John says to frame the discussion:

IT alone cannot create strategic differentiation - it is only an enabler. IT creates options that must be effectively exploited through focused business initiatives.

Nick Carr is right: competitors can copy virtually any individual business initiative leveraging information technology. This has three implications:

1. Companies must aggressively measure return on IT investment - companies often over-estimate the differentiation available from IT investment and under-estimate the investment
required

2. Building institutional capability for continued initiatives is the only real source of sustainable advantage

3. Since individual initiatives provide only fleeting advantage at best, it is helpful to define a longer-term strategic direction that can provide a context for waves of initiatives that reinforce each other and accelerate movement towards longer-term areas of opportunity


The document is made up of diagnostic questions in four key sections, to help you think through how to create strategic differentiation with IT:

I. Do you know where you are going?

II. Are you achieving as much impact as possible?

III. How do you define success?

IV. What is required to move even faster?

Don't just sit there - sign up for our newsletter, and download your copy now. >>

By Bill Keyworth and Annie Shum

A fantastic BSM article appeared last week (1/18) in InfoWorld entitled "Run IT As a Business - Why That's a Train Wreck Waiting to Happen."  The author, Bob Lewis, identified the futility of IT organizations continuing down the same broken path that is not connecting IT with their business counterparts ...yet he sees too few IT executives who are willing to initiate the necessary BSM changes.  One of Bob's central messages to IT is that "no one inside your company is your customer."  Fairly basic principle ...but highly compelling to initiate change in the way IT performs their labors.

Bob provides some outstanding examples of IT executives that struggle with providing the "same old ...same old" IT services to business people who can't see the benefit of paying what they perceive as premium prices for products and services that they see advertised elsewhere for a fraction of the cost; or who fixate on short term deliverables that are "good enough" but don't address the company's strategic business opportunity for the longer term; or who won't document requirements in a way that ensures IT can deliver on expectations.   In these cases, IT consistently finds itself in a defeatist catch-up mode.

The article provides some common-sense advocacy that running "IT as a business" ensures that IT doesn't satisfy corporate business needs.  It's an interesting twist to the dichotomy of how BSM is perceived by IT versus how BSM should be positioned and executed by IT.  Bob concludes with a vision on what an IT organization actually does and looks like when it is integral to the business community, and not an add-on cost center that depletes profits.  Again... great BSM article!

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