5 Tips for Managing the Perceptions of Information Technology

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2008-09-09 Print this article Print

Aligning business with information technology practices and management can be a tricky business. Baseline gets some advice from Forrester Research on how to best meld the functional aspects of business with key technology role players and everyday practices. Some of these tips include business metrics, pushing IT down the org chart and making business users more independent from IT.

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2. Take an “outside-in” view of IT.

As an extension of the first tip, IT demand management needs to define and group technology based on how the outside business leaders would do so. Rather than lump processes and technologies together based on the IT functions the serve, they should be grouped according to the business process they support.

“Use these aggregations of technology as the basis for customer interactions,” Cameron writes.

3. Select metrics that measure business value.

Once the IT department is better aligned to business processes, it becomes much easier to predictably support those processes—and to demonstrate improved IT performance.  One of the biggest flubs that contributes to poor perception of IT is in imperfect selection of performance metrics—technology execs often choose operational measurements that don’t reflect how well IT is driving business value.

The department needs to hold up a measuring stick that business leaders understand and appreciate, Cameron says, explaining that internal metrics should be relevant to business expectation and translated into business terms.

4. Move technology management down the org chart.

Cameron believes that successful CIOs these days are freeing up more time to sync technology with business users and strategize alignment by leaving more mundane operational duties in the capable hands of development and infrastructure organizations. He suggests pushing duties down the food chain by putting development, infrastructure and operations under the control of a single direct report.

“(This) business management posture means that IT’s technology management — focusing on applications, servers, and tools — becomes much less visible in most of IT’s interactions with the business organizations,” he suggests.

5. Help business users become independent.

In today’s evolving business technology environment, successful IT departments are learning to relinquish some direct control over technology in order to better serve their users, Cameron says.

“This includes business analysis, project management, software configuration, and even vendor selection and management,” he writes.
Offering technology capabilities and training that allows users to become more self sufficient will go a long way toward driving value and engendering better relations with the business.


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