The business-IT divide
Despite years spent trying to encourage staff to think along business lines, many CIOs are still finding technology-focused EAs unable to think in business terms, and vice versa. Even though CIOs most certainly know better, Gartner figures suggest that just 9 per cent of enterprise architecture efforts will be built around business goals this year, with that figure growing to just 30 per cent by 2016.
“Control of the business definition of what you’re offering is absolutely critical to get the other stuff working,” says Tabcorp’s Page. “You can’t just have a skunkworks [project] in the corner; it becomes a completely different way of thinking in terms of how you’re going to run your projects. There’s actually quite a large and wide stakeholder group to go through and talk to. You have to take the time and energy to go through this, and to make it real with respect to your environment and what you can achieve. It’s about making a promise, and then keeping it.”
Even the most earnest attempts at architectural reinvention can be compromised, however, as staff fall into old habits and lack of business context hinders the EA’s ability to drive change throughout the organisation.
Furthermore, without the right executive support and proactive engagement of the business by the CIO, IT organisations often continue to get the short end of the stick.
You have to engage with industry and those outside your group. People just don’t do that enough in IT
Read Part 1 of Selling the new enterprise architecture.
No amount of optimisation, streamlining, or simplification of the application landscape is going to achieve the desired business objectives until cultural change is effected. However, the inexorable focus on business performance — and IT’s often insular focus on keeping the wheels turning — can delay the higher-level discussions CIOs and their peers should be having about enterprise architecture strategy.
“I see a lot of organisations that have no focus on the business outcome,” says Ric Lamb, CIO of gaming giant Crown Group. “You worry about the economy or the performance of the network, but engage with people in your own organisation about the metrics that really matter to the business. You have to start paying a bit of attention to why you get paid, and have to engage with industry and those outside your group. People just don’t do that enough in IT; we really do live in a sort of bubble.”
IT-Business balanceDeloitte’s IT-Business Balance Survey 2011 of 800 Australian and global CIOs confirmed the business-IT dance is as complex as ever:
- 37.5 per cent of businesses had flat governance, with the CIO seen as a peer or reporting to the CFO
- Half of CIOs agreed the organisations they worked for fostered clear business ownership for IT projects
- 54 per cent believe IT contributing to the business strategy contributes to better corporate performance
- 64 per cent indicated that key business users participated in design and development of new IT systems
- 57 per cent charged IT investments to the business through projects
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