The Need for a New Agenda
We all know that businesses and public sector organisations are under constant pressure to reduce costs, and at the same time to improve efficiency. This calls for significant redesign of business processes together with large investments in IT, which devour an increasing proportion of business costs. Businesses therefore cannot continue to live with large IT cost-overruns and failure to deliver expectations.
Substantial improvements in IT exploitation cannot be brought about by fiddling at the edges of yesterday's flawed model. New ground rules that are better suited to today's business challenges are therefore needed. Changes in culture and management process must ensure that there is a closer marriage between business process redesign and its enabling IT infrastructure and applications.
"You cannot solve a problem by applying the same thinking that got you into the problem in the first place"
Closer collaboration needs to be encouraged at every level in business, thereby ensuring more effective involvement and unity of purpose between all parties to the change process. This calls for change in business culture and the business's attitude to IT. In particular, the business change environment needs to signal a decisive shift in emphasis away from the technology drivers of change, and towards business process fundamentals as the principal driving force.
In the management of change process, structural change is now required that spans traditional business and IT boundaries. It needs to concentrate minds on both IT and business Critical Success issues, with a clearer delineation of business management accountability for change. Such structural and cultural change needs to be initiated and driven by the CEO and the board, as well as the CIO, in order to kick start the process and ensure that it becomes absorbed throughout the organisation.
THE NEW AGENDA
- DELIVER current best-practices - such as 'Agile' systems and business focused SLAs.
- LEADERSHIP through better informed and more proactive board direction of change.
- INFORMED BY an immediacy of reporting on trends and future risks & opportunities.
- SUPPORTED BY a business environment that actively encourages and supports change.
- BASED ON constant Business Process centric business performance appraisal.
- ENABLED BY more effective partnership - through addressing key Cultural Disconnects.
Board level participation in the IT exploitation process needs to be better informed and more proactive, with a relatively small but quite distinct shift in the interface where their personal engagement with the subject is called for. This increase in directors' personal participation in the IT enabled business change process inevitably leads to more soundly based top level direction of change and to clearer business accountability for results.
If board members are to be better informed and more proactive in this area, they need a new forum that is dedicated to that end, and this in turn has to be supported by appropriate committees. These can often be created by simply replacing existing committees and those fire-fighting activities that so often take up a great deal of top and middle management time in today's scenario.
Enormous business benefits flow from adopting this new agenda, which include less duplication of effort across the organisation, and more effective and productive use of senior peoples' time. The new top level forum is routinely fed with ideas and process improvement initiatives to deal with business process challenges, and it pays special attention to learning from mistakes and to acting accordingly - often claimed but seldom achieved today it seems.