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Convergence: The Wave of Future Success

By Lawrence Walsh Print this article Print

The results of the Baseline/BTM 500 study show that enterprises that fully integrate business and technology management are more agile, more competitive and potentially more profitable.

Silicon Valley is littered with the carcasses of high-tech ventures that started out with pomp and circumstance but amounted to little more than a pile of broken dreams and a roadside sale of used Herman Miller office furniture. NetApp was not born to be one of those companies.

In just 16 years, NetApp—formerly known as Network Appliance—has grown from a small venture in the nascent enterprise data storage market to become one of the most vibrant, fast-growing and consistent performers in the high-technology arena. It achieved what every small Silicon Valley newcomer aspires to: a gleaming campus along Highway 101, an army of salespeople and developers, and a loyal and expanding customer base. With more than $3 billion in revenue, NetApp challenges the market leaders, such as EMC and Hewlett-Packard, in the highly competitive storage market.

The secret to NetApp’s success is having a plan and a process for leveraging technology to meet its business objectives, and building an IT infrastructure that is flexible and extensible to meet changing market conditions. As you will read in our NetApp profile (see “Young Company, Mature IT,” page 36), NetApp’s early successes forced it to adopt technology and business practices normally reserved for much larger companies. It learned to treat technology as another resource, rather than becoming a slave to its capabilities. NetApp achieved its success, in part, through business-technology management convergence.

READ NetApp: Young Company, Mature IT

Business-technology convergence and business-technology management are terms that may be new to you. The idea is simple: Technology is a means for achieving business objectives, so why segregate the management of business and technology into separate silos. By converging business and technology management, enterprises are able to nimbly respond to changing marketplace dynamics, technology evolutions and competitive pressures.

In research conducted by Baseline and BTM Corporation, NetApp is among an elite group of U.S. corporations that is driving toward optimization of their technology management, placing their business interests and objectives first and then using technology—everything ranging from IT hardware, software and services to hybrid car engines, satellites and cellular transmitters—as a critical resource for opening new business lines, markets and revenues.

The result of this research is the Baseline/BTM 500, a sampling of Fortune 500 companies that highlights enterprises with the most efficient and optimized technology management organizations and explains how that convergence contributes to growth and profitability. This report is based on the detailed examination of dozens of leading companies, including Oracle, Verizon Communications, New York Life Insurance and Del Monte Foods.

READ Verizon: They Can Hear Customers Now

Determining the maturity level of an enterprise’s business-technology management is no easy task. The Baseline/BTM 500 is based on BTM Corporation’s BTM Framework and BTM Convergence Index, a continuing study developed over the last five years for measuring companies’ convergence level. (See “Baseline/BTM 500 Methodology” at the end of this article)

The study validates the link between business-technology convergence and the maturity of that convergence in an enterprise’s efficient operations and financial performance. It also shows that converged enterprises are more able to adapt to dynamic market conditions, push through innovations faster and maintain resiliency in the face of competitive challenges. Ultimately, business-technology convergence may be just the thing that ensures the sustainability and viability of companies such as NetApp.

This article was originally published on 2008-09-29
Lawrence Walsh Lawrence Walsh is editor of Baseline magazine, overseeing print and online editorial content and the strategic direction of the publication. He is also a regular columnist for Ziff Davis Enterprise's Channel Insider. Mr. Walsh is well versed in IT technology and issues, and he is an expert in IT security technologies and policies, managed services, business intelligence software and IT reseller channels. An award-winning journalist, Mr. Walsh has served as editor of CMP Technology's VARBusiness and GovernmentVAR magazines, and TechTarget's Information Security magazine. He has written hundreds of articles, analyses and commentaries on the development of reseller businesses, the IT marketplace and managed services, as well as information security policy, strategy and technology. Prior to his magazine career, Mr. Walsh was a newspaper editor and reporter, having held editorial positions at the Boston Globe, MetroWest Daily News, Brockton Enterprise and Community Newspaper Company.
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