Digitalization is complex force that, among other perspectives, challenges the role of IT in corporations and organizations. The traditional view of the IT as solely enabling stable and efficient business process through automation with applications and infrastructure is no longer valid. The IT function is no longer a technical unit but rather a business enabler focusing on revenue generation and customer engagement with business oriented services. IT is part of the business ecosystem that contributes to the digital agenda and change. Digitalization is here to stay!
As part of the IT Business Value Chain, IT needs to provide valuable services to all business stakeholders. In the end, it is all about managing and exceeding business expectations in a fast-changing environment. This is done by continuously re-defining itself and its Operating Model regarding how it generates business value and improves customer engagement. Only by understanding the key enablers of the IT Operating Model can we use it to drive business and customer value.
Conceptual Design: Defines IT’s way of working on conceptual levels with an aim to optimize value creation. The conceptual levels set the strategic guidelines for the IT Operating Model defining how Governance, Demand, Development, Operations and Sourcing work in synergy and in alignment with business prerequisites.
Tools & Processes: Defines tools, processes and concepts that support the relationship between IT and Business, but also within various elements in the IT Operating Model. Here we find concepts such as Enterprise Architecture, Business Relationship Management, and Service Management Office/Service Integration and Management.
Culture & Leadership: Digitalization challenges culture and leadership of IT that need to catch up with the new business reality. In this domain we find leadership training, change management and communication plans – all critical for digital transformation.
Skills & Competence: Each element in the IT operating model requires the correct skills and competence. Here we see a shift from traditional operating IT staff to more business-oriented staff that understands how business value is created and sustained.
Information: Information is the glue that keeps the IT operating model together and aligned to business expectations, IT requirements and external/internal trends. The value of information is based on how well it accurately describes the situation at a given time. In a fast-changing digital environment, the value of information will decrease rapidly. Great decision-making in all parts of the IT Operating Model requires accurate and correct information.
Calendar: The time aspect plays a pivotal role in digitalization as unpredictability increases rapidly. The enablers of the IT Operating Model need to be aligned quickly with new digital pre-requisites. The strategic guidelines are only valid for a limited period of time (9-12 months) and need to be updated accordingly.
What is interesting about the IT Operating Model and its enablers is that all of the enablers will change over time in the journey of digitalization and hence need to change according to business expectations. An IT organization with a great tool and processes may in theory deliver great value but only in combination with the other enablers is great value realized. It is the combined force of the enablers that create great business and customer value.
There are few IT Management companies that embrace (?) the complete IT Operating Model in supporting clients to boost business value creation. Often, IT Management consultants focus on one or two enablers that do not lead to sustainable change or value creation. Frameworks such as ITIL focus heavily on Tools and Processes but almost neglect other parts – a perfect example of sub-optimization not able to cope with new digital requirements. The result is a very bureaucratic IT organization without a clear idea of how to transform ITIL practices into business value.
The most successful approach can be found in the collaboration between IT Standard for Business Framework (open-source framework) and Business Information Services Library (provided by the non-profit ASL BiSL Foundation).
The IT Standard for Business helps business executives and IT professionals with digitization in the enterprise. It covers the operation of the entire IT organization, which is described in everyday language in five streams from Enterprise Development to Service Management.
The Business Information Services Library (BiSL) offers comprehensive process-based guidance for managing the demand for, and use of, information and technology from a business perspective. This complements the IT supply-oriented guidance that most other bodies of knowledge offer. As such it belongs to the collection of widely accepted industry bodies of knowledge to which the IT Standard refers for detailed guidance in specific areas.
This joint effort provides a cocktail of IT Operating Model enablers that guarantee optimal value creation and sustainable change. It also helps avoiding sub-optimization of any one domain. In combination with the overall IT Standard for Business framework, the joint effort addresses all of the IT Operating Model enablers and will value assure the IT organization of the digital landscape. It is a great example of how two bodies of knowledge acknowledge the new pre-requisites of the digital era and find a perfect match in business value creation.
Comparison between IT for Business and BiSL® frameworks Date: 2016-11-11 Author: Hans Gillior