07/22/2008 by Klaus Otto
The New Role of IT
For many years, all IT departments seem to have taken up the cause of cost reducing. This has changed. Business managers more and more consider IT a lever for boosting growth. Particularly, this means for IT departments to implement new business models and concepts as fast as possible.
In most cases, IT departments are not prepared to cope with rapid changes. They utilize a major part of their capacity, sometimes 90 %, for routine work such as the operation of the data center. Very often, this means that no capacity is left for implementing the ideas and business processes the CEOs have in mind (source: Handelsblatt April 14, 2007).
Business Technology Optimization (BTO) solutions support enterprises in optimizing the business value created by IT. The goal is to consistently extend – by using suitable methods and tools – IT´s contribution in areas such as securing competitive advantages, increasing customer satisfaction and minimizing risks and costs.
The combination of Business and IT perspectives may raise new questions as to the benefit, quality and reliability of an IT service.
The focus should be on taking into account and improving the effects of IT on business results. The most important issues are: How flexible, fast and effectively do we want IT to react on enterprise decisions, corporate mergers and changed market situations? In which way do we want it to support the control of the product portfolio or the implementation of marketing strategies, and what should IT´s role of a communication platform for enterprise an customers be like?
These requirements reach far beyond the conventional IT goals: Accounting for a number of bugfixes in development, reaching defined project milestones, or efficiently utilizing the helpdesk may be evidence of successful IT, but not necessarily of a successful business.
BTO solutions are meant to support the enterprise with methods and tools to plan IT´s contribution to the business more accurately, to increase it efficiently, and to make it visible.
By no means, BTO is just a project to be applied to one area of IT. Using BTO successfully means to consistently take into consideration the effects of business on IT operation, IT strategy, IT controlling, IT revision, IT process optimization and IT risk management, and, likewise, observe the influence of IT activities in these areas on business. To reach this goal, new methods and technologies must be introduced and efficiently applied.