Business Information Management CSF’s

Published on Thursday 27 September 2012 by in News with 2 comments

Latest updates: 11/june/2013 following the Aranea Roadshow event….

This news item shares Critical Success Factors (CSF’s) relating to Information Management as identified during BookStore TM business simulation sessions held as part of the Global Information Management roadshows, and information from BookStore sessions conducted by GamingWorks and their partners. This news contains the text from the Whitepaper produced by Mark Smalley for the ASL BiSL Foundation. The  CSF’s have been categorized into the areas of People, Process and Performance.

They are intended to help organizations prevent or mitigate the fail factors and use the success factors when crafting their own Business Information Management improvement initiatives. The ASL BiSL Foundation is convinced that ‘BiSL projects’ that take these factors into account will achieve significantly better results.

They can be used by user organizations, training/consulting organizations and for providing input into research on Business Information Management practices. 

Critical Success Factors in the People area

Clearly defined roles, responsibilities and accountabilities must be defined, agreed, understood and executed at all levels . Within the business domain, the Information management domain and the IT domain. Including decision making rights; adherence to roles; understanding and sticking to agreements, also the need to confront each other on agreements and responsibilities. 8
IT must develop a core competence of ‘demand acceptance’ and the ability to make business cases for IT investments; IT people must learn to communicate in business terms; There needs to be more dialogue and ‘listening’, showing an ‘understanding’; IT people must develop trust and credibility, show empathy and understanding of business needs and goals; what is needed most of all in IT is business and soft skills to bring people and ideas together and get commitment to Information management. IT needs to learn more ‘push back’, by explaining in terms of value, outcomes, costs, risks. IT is often better able to see risks and threats but poor is explaining or making business cases. 7
Both business and IT need to be aligned in terms of maturity for the relationship and processes to work. First gain insight into the maturity of both parties with regard to Demand articulation and demand acceptance. If IT wants to gain a ‘partner’ or ‘value-add’ position it must first demonstrate maturity in terms of predictable and repeatable and reliable; mastery at middle maturity. 3
Business roles need to be involved in requirements specification and testing. This needs to be formalized within Business projects/initiatives involving IS/IT. Business & IT need to ensure ‘time’ for analyzing the requirements and for considering options before prioritization of resources and investments. 3
The IT manager needs to be able to act more on the strategic alignment than at the operational level. Make internal processes effective so that the IT manager can focus on the strategic issues and positioning emerging technologies. 2
Business must develop a core competence of ‘demand articulation’ to ensure needs and requirements are clear. 1
IM functions (Information manager, Information analyst, functional manager) must all have specific business knowledge to understand the business processes and the impact and priority associated with information and its use).  IM is not just there to ‘pass on’ business demands but has a clear role in helping align business and IT investments, decisions and strategy realization. 2
The business is focused on strategy and longer term issues, IT is primarily focused on operational and short term issues. The IM function needs ‘content expertise’  to be able translate these needs between business and IT. 1
There needs to be a better understanding of each other’s future needs and more asking and explaining  ‘why?’, rather than ‘dumping or throwing over the wall’,  to gain a better understanding. 1

Critical Success Factors in the Process area

Processes must be seen in the context of Continual Service Improvement. Processes are never right first time and must align to ever changing business strategy and needs. CSI is a core capability and must be performed end-to-end ; Give the processes a chance to work; bring people together to evaluate end-to-end and agree their own improvements. 5
Let those responsible design together as a team their own processes and ways of working, let them agree information needs and meeting structures; collective approach and common view of the situation; Need to involve all parties in designing and agreeing the roles, responsibilities and processes. 3
Ensure decision making is embedded in processes and roles; Move on when phases in decision-making process are reached: facts -> opinions -> decision. 2
Do not see adoption and deployment of IM or BiSL as a project, embed it in the line and have those responsible take direct ownership for the processes. 1
More structure required in ‘ meetings’ , more ‘ agreements’ & ‘ decision’ taken at the right level. E.g ‘ strategic steering committee (involving Business, IT and IM). 1
BISL can help with assessment, dialogue and scoping Improvements. 1
Application management and infrastructure management need to work more tactically, understanding what is in the pipeline and planning the changes rather than operational support activities. 1

Critical Success Factors in the Performance area

The Business, Information management & IT must have a shared view of the strategy and the pipeline of initiatives; everybody supports the plan; Business,IM & IT must have a mechanism (strategic steering committee?) to align decision making at strategic level. IT is often too late in the process, or IT input is missing; timely insight into the strategy and planning allows IT to respond in a timely way with impact, risks and consequences of strategic choices. 6
IT must demonstrate repeatable and predictable maturity and performance before it can become a strategic partner delivering the required value. 3
The need for an effective ‘ Information plan’  based on the organization strategy. This gives a shared direction, focus and helps with investment and resource planning. This also ensure projects are more readily accepted and less effort needed to continually explain why projects are started. 1
Positioning information management as a part of the business and as a client for IT. IM is not a part of or an extension of IT. 1
Timely insight into the strategy and planning allows IT to propose new solutions and emerging technologies 1
The business must be involved in decision making. Decision making mechanisms need to be engineered into strategic and tactical processes (such as Change board for example, or project steering group) 1

Mark Smalley is responsible for global promotion at the not-for-profit, vendor-independent ASL BiSL Foundation and is an IT Management Consultant and Author. He is specialized in Application Lifecycle Management and IT Governance. Mark is a regular speaker at international conferences, where he has reached out to thousands of IT professionals.

Follow and engage with Mark on Twitter @marksmalley

Email: mark.smalley@aslbislfoundation.org

Paul Wilkinson, GamingWorks

Floow and engage with Paul on Twitter @gamingpaul

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2 comments

Mark, Paul,
you are spot on with this analysis. And I expect you’ll find more proof if you continue discussions in this direction.
The big question then is: how to solve this?

In the Netherlands this has been on the radar of IT for at least 25 years and most educated IT managers were taught the basics of the problem domain.
Currently two initiatives are focused on tackling this in practice:
1- a book on Business Information Management is in the pipeline. A peek preview will be delivered at the Focus on demand conference on December 13th.
2- the FSM Method is a practical method for getting in control of business information management, which is already available and applied in practice. The FSM method is based on the very successful ISM method for the Supply domain, and has a mature set of instruments available for immediate use. The method applies the management approach documented in the ISM Method book (http://bit.ly/ISMbook), and a dedicated add-on for BIM will be supplied for the FSM training programs.

So there is hope…

oo often, managers do all the talking in a feedback situation, something I like to call the dreaded Manager’s Monologue – and that is guaranteed to cause trouble. It is vital to engage the employee in open dialogue; to seek to understand their thought processes and reasons. If you don’t listen to them, you may not get a clear understanding as to why the employee is behaving in this manner (do they lack skills, knowledge, etc). You will also increase the likelihood that they will not listen to you.”

Remember to take a peek at our very own web portal
<".http://www.caramoan.co/caramoan-island/

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