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Business-IT Strategies

Guidance for optimizing your IT investments, avoiding IT strategies that fail to support your business objectives, and leveraging IT for competitive advantage.

 
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IT organizations worldwide use dashboards to provide managers with the key performance metrics they need to steer their organizations in the right direction and make important strategic business decisions. However, the data being measured must be meaningful for the dashboard to be valuable. Considerable effort and resources can be wasted tracking the wrong information. Dashboards need to be regularly reviewed to ensure they incorporate data from all relevant sources. For example, organizations must now incorporate and leverage the vast amount of data coming in through their various social media channels, as this data provides key information on trends that can affect an organization’s bottom line. So what is the secret to designing a dashboard that …

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As we all know, Abraham Lincoln was largely self-taught in the midst of meager means and living on the frontier in Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, far from centers of learning and culture east of the Appalachians. For him, the book represented the path, and he sought them with great effort. As president he sought books on military matters during the Civil War in order to educate himself. As a result of his own drive and intellect, Lincoln emerged as a very capable, if not supremely capable military strategist. It is illustrative to learn how far one person can advance themselves by reading. The bibliography of Lincoln’s reading is noteworthy since it reveals his penchant for …

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Finding Peace via IT Governance

Good IT governance promotes balance across time-to-delivery, portfolio effectiveness, overall IT responsiveness and affordability. Without good governance, the IT playing field quickly becomes fragmented and fraught with frustration for all players — IT professionals on one side and countless business professionals on the other. And while it’s true that both sides have a role in the process, it’s unlikely that any of the stakeholders fully understands the others’ focus. In this table, I’ve charted a way for both the demand- and supply-sides to understand governance processes and tools.   Demand Side Governance Process Supply Side User requirements and expectations Service-level definition and monitoring, funding mechanisms IT service delivery performance Applications required and used by organization …

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Research Agenda for Test-Driven Business

In my recent blog post Test-Driven Business, I started to examine the application of Test-Driven Development techniques to the business.  The general idea is that software to development is like hypothesis to the business. We test in development in order to make certain that the software works correctly. Likewise, we test a hypothesis in the business in order to validate it. Just as we fix a line of code, we fix an invalid hypothesis. The model proposed for Test-Driven Business includes two core elements: View of the flow of activities in the firm as comprising three distinct phases: Ideation, Execution and Planning. Two strands that we try to merge within each phase. With these elements …

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Jul 092012
 
Test-Driven Business

Change used to be viewed, experienced and managed as a discontinuous phenomenon. A period of change was typically followed by a period of stability. Moreover, the general expectation was that the period of stability would last a much longer time than the time it took to assimilate change. Change nowadays is becoming continuous. Various Cutter Consortium clients deploy code dozens of times a day. Companies like Wisemarkit enable you to “open a shop in 60 seconds and fill it with products you believe in.” When new features are deployed every hour and e-shops can be formed on the fly, periods of stability in which you can catch your breath have for most practical purposes vanished. …

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How Are Your Smartphone Apps Developed?

Recently our Cutter Benchmark Review team conducted a survey to learn more about the corporate use, development and implementation of smartphone apps. As regular CBR readers know, we don’t just collect data, we analyze it from two different perspectives. This time Pierre Berthon from Bentley University (USA) along with Leyland Pitt and Kirk Plangger from the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University (Canada) analyzed the data from the academic perspective, while Maria Lee‘s analysis takes the practitioner’s view. Here are some of the findings: When it comes to interacting with customers, how does your organization use apps?   To what extent does your organization utilize smartphone apps externally (i.e., to interact with and serve customers)? …

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In IT circles, ITIL projects induce feelings of both love and hate. While the IT landscape has many successful ITIL implementations, that landscape is also littered with cost overruns, frustrated IT staff that couldn’t focus on immediate customer demands, and dissatisfied end users whose business “technology” needs were put on hold pending completion of the ITIL projects. The June 2012 Cutter IT Journal with Guest Editor Bill Keyworth, seeks to identify how ITIL can be used effectively to satisfy the customer goals of IT service management and how IT operations can balance the conflicting demands of IT process and business needs. Please send us your ideas – proposals of interest are due 6 April 2012. …

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A financial services client last month asked me if I had read anything about management and the relationship to “commander’s intent.” While I had to confess that I had not, I did some quick searching to find out what the concept was about and how it might relate to effective management practice. What I found was a compelling object lesson on how we should be drawing on the lessons learned from other practices. The concept of “commander’s intent” has been around for almost 200 years. It’s a compelling military concept, originated by the Germans. The idea is that rather than apply tight command and control, leaders provide a clear sense of the outcomes they seek …

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2012 Turbulence Means “Back to the Future”

That there’s turbulence for 2012 that will affect business and IT isn’t much in question.  With great economic uncertainties (recession, Europe, elections) and, at the same time, significant changes in IT such as widespread user devices (tablets) and cloud, a lot is in flux. But what will this mean? From everything we see at clients and in the press, this means a (perhaps uncomfortable) return to basics in IT. That is, we will see great emphasis by CIOs and CTOs on the things that have in the past been very important. This includes, for example: Improving Operational Excellence Understanding IT’s costs and taking action to reduce them Successfully delivering IT value (and projects) Doing effective …

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And the Winners of IT/Business Alignment are … those who can “Market" IT

The critical need for technology to achieve core business goals has never been more pronounced.  Business is rapidly advancing the use of technology to generate better profit margins, improved customer relationships and competitive advantage. As a result, the degree of change within IT organizations is unparalleled. Simultaneously, alternative “business” options for IT services now available outside corporate IT Operations are rapidly multiplying. Cloud service providers such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are able to quickly resolve the business demands for faster IT provisioning, increased storage capacity, faster response time, and more flexible software business applications. Managed Service Providers can cost-effectively resolve or alleviate the resource handicaps of traditional, internal IT service organizations. But much …

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