Is the Business & IT gap getting bigger?

Published on Tuesday 13 June 2017 by in News with no comments




In my keynote at the IT Manager of tomorrow (ITMofT) conference in Gdansk I showed the latest trends in ‘Business & IT-Alignment’, as published in the BITTI publication ‘Trends in Business IT & OT’ – a 2017 Dutch language publication of research into hundreds of global companies.

‘Business & IT-Alignment’! A term that often evokes irritation and seen as an outdated phrase. Yet it is something many organizations continue to struggle with. The Business Relationship Management Institute (BRMI) prefers the term Business & IT-Convergence. As the results below reveal, for many organizations a lot has to change before they reach this ideal state.

The top trends were:

  • Business & IT-Alignment
  • Business Agility & Flexibility
  • Business Process Management
  • Innovation
  • Business Continuity (security)

Driven perhaps by the latest industry hype of Digital Transformation. Many do not really understand what it means, but anybody doing any kind of IT investment seems to be labeling it as Digital Transformation and everybody wants it…….now!

The key themes of the ITMofIT conference were:

  • Culture and Leadership in the digital age
  • Closing the gap between IT and the Business
  • Emerging technologies and frameworks

I presented the current state of affairs as discovered in ABC of ICT (Attitude, Behavior, Culture) workshops held across the globe, conducted through our World-wide partner network. We then explored how the IT Manager of Tomorrow could…or rather must close the gap between business & IT; the required cultural and leadership shifts in behavior; and some emerging frameworks and practices that should be explored.

As I presented I asked for audience feedback. This is some of the feedback and shows why the GAP is still so large and gives areas where IT managers need to focus. These are the captured findings from my twitter stream:

  • #ITMofT: conference Gdansk – The gap between Business and IT is big! …. It isn’t just an IT behavioral or maturity problem!
  • #ITMofT: these were the top 3 scoring cards in #abcofict workshops at the conference….the same as the global top 3!
  • #ITMofT: out of 150 people 10 were doing #brm (Business Relationship Management) – despite the wide recognition of top #abcofict cards.
  • #ITMofT: 3 other conference sessions stressed the need for IT governance. Only 7 out of 150 said they had IT Governance. 4 hands went up for having #COBIT.
  • #ITMofT: All agreed core capability for #itsm in CSI (Continual Service Improvement) 5 out of 150 had formal #CSI
  • #ITMofT: only 3 people out of 150 engaged users/customers in ITSM solution design (Design for experience) #itilpractitioner
  • #ITMofT: 5 hands went up to the question on definition of service…symptom of top scoring #abcofict card ‘IT has too little understanding of business priority and impact’.
  • #ITMofT the key words in definition of service according to ITIL are ‘Value’, ‘Outcomes’, ‘Costs’, ‘Risks’ – in our global surveys  very few know this or know ‘WHY’ their organizations is ‘doing’ ITIL.
  • #ITMofT recommendation: send all in IT into business to learn how business colleagues consume services – how they deliver value or are a barrier to value
  • #ITMofT recommendation: explore #brm as possible solution guidance to massive alignment gap
  • #ITMofT recommendation: look at #COBIT – especially goals cascade and use as dialogue instrument with business (goal alignment)
  • #ITMofT recommendation: examine #csx #cybersecurity guidance – understand critical information assets (impact & priority) and ‘model behaviors’
  • #ITMofT recommendation: start introducing CSI into ALL existing meetings, processes – ‘Even more important than daily work is the improving of daily work’ – Mike Orzen

The day after the conference in Gdansk I conducted a Grab@Pizza ‘Business & IT-Alignment’ simulation with 18 practicing BRM’s in the UK together with Baxter & Thomspon Associates.

Key findings from this workshop also confirmed the fact that many are struggling to achieve the ‘Strategic Partner’ position because of lack of trust and credibility caused by poor ITSM capabilities, and at the same time lack of ‘business understanding’. A common thread in the debate between 50 BRMs also revealed a need for ‘Effective Governance’. Other important findings from the BRM’s were the BRM role in CSI and the need to communicate in business terms demonstrating an understanding of business impact and value, in terms of Value creation AND Value leakage.

Despite the enormous amount of training and certification organizations continue to struggle to close the gap. One type of training that can be used to help translate theory into practice is a business simulation, a form of experiential learning, that can be used to bring both Business & IT together to explore solutions and agree concrete steps for closing the gap. One such simulation is the Grab@Pizza business simulation.

Here are some examples of how the simulation has been used to support BRM and IT Governance.

Global BRM Trends and Challenges

Isaca Case study

Conlea who hosted the IT Manager of Tomorrow event also deliver this simulation.


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