Business Requirements Should Drive Technology Investments

Decisions on business-technology investments require structured thinking about what the business wants to achieve. This clear understanding of business requirements dictates the business-technology plans and investments needed to execute the company?s business strategy.

Deciding on such investments must begin with a solid understanding of an organization?s strategy, goals and objectives. Ultimately, a well-articulated, business-driven technology strategy will recognize the uniqueness of varying organizational capabilities and will balance that with the desired strategic positioning by adhering to a few basic tenets:

Determine what specific business-technology capabilities must be put in place for you to meet your short-term and long-term business goals and objectives. A mature business-driven technology strategy is the most effective way to ensure that the technology group understands the specific business needs and helps carry out the business strategy.

Prepare the processes that need to be put in place to improve communications and educate the organization about each component. Creating an effective strategy requires careful and complete communication, as well as the integration of enterprise business strategy (the strategic goals, imperatives and initiatives of a company), enterprise technology strategy (the strategic direction of business technology) and technology function strategy (how technology develops, deploys, operates and supports the systems needed to deliver business technology).

Decide what internal and external capabilities you need in order to execute on defined business strategies. What is the relative priority of stability and agility with regard to the business capabilities you need to have in place? To prioritize and focus investments, start by understanding the type of value that will be created. Enabling stability, agility or both will require different levels and types of investments. In addition, consideration must be given to the nature of this investment mix as it relates to supporting other critical activities.

Understand and specify the business value discipline to be pursued. What is the primary value discipline: operational excellence, product leadership or customer intimacy? The answer must be embedded in the enterprise business strategy and then cascaded through all stakeholders and to all levels of the organization. Doing so will prescribe the specific business capabilities required in a way that guides effective technology strategy creation.

Diana Mirakaj is the senior vice president of corporate development at BTM Corporation. BTM Corporation innovates new business models and enhances financial performance by converging business and technology with its products and intellectual property.? 2009 BTM Corporation | [email protected]