IT: More Consultation, Please

Scott Francis
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So, not the most stunning headline.. but Forrester predicts that IT will continue to deploy business process capabilities… Author Alexander Peters points out two formal processes IT will need to implement, in addition to COEs in the near future, to be successful:
I believe that IT organizations that want to sustainably contribute to enterprisewide business process optimizations need to implement two formal processes, in addition to deploying COEs:
  1. BT governance, which ensures that business process executives, not IT, ultimately decide how to prioritize the development and use of BT services across lines of business.
  2. BT demand management, which architects and monitors the enterprise portfolio of BT services and provides recommendations on how to optimize its performance.
I’d add a third “activity” to the mix:  BT consulting services.  Too many IT departments prefer to act as order-takers, or don’t see their mission as including advising the business.  But experience tells us that large businesses with rich IT heritage need the IT groups to consult to them.  Why?  Because IT personnel generally know the business logic that is hard-coded in software applications (or, hopefully, configured or encoded in rules systems).  IT personnel are generally more knowledgeable about the capabilities of the software that is in use to support various business initiatives.  IT has a real information advantage over “Business” in many corporations. This information advantage can be leveraged to the benefit of the business as a whole if wielded properly.  Just as outside consultants can really help a business understand how to take advantage of new software packages (or deep capabilities of more established products, such as RDBMSes), IT personnel can better explain how to take advantage of long-running systems. When you combine the pace of change in business, with the pace of change in software capabilities, with the pace of adoption of social technologies… Access to the IT experts is likely to increase.  The opportunity for IT to leverage their deep knowledge of systems and process is one of the best opportunities IT has to add value to their business. It is also one of the likely greatest missed opportunities.