Forrester's Roadmap to BT Maturity

Forrester's Roadmap to BT Maturity

IT is no longer information technology, but business technology, and the primary mission is about business enablement

Today, technology permeates almost every facet of business. IT can no longer just support the business; in most global enterprises, it must become embedded in the business. Forrester predicted this evolution back in 2003: IT is no longer information technology, but business technology (BT), and the primary mission is about business enablement, not business support. But moving from IT to BT is much more than an acronym change. At its very core is a cultural change that involves not just IT but the entire organisation from the board of directors (BoD) to senior management down to the lowest level employee.

In the 21st century, the application of value-based business technology is a critical element for survival. IT organisations can either make the transition from an IT organisation that supports the business to a BT organisation that transforms the business, or it will increasingly find itself irrelevant as its mission is subsumed by external service providers.

Benefits of the BT Roadmap

So that was then, this is now. As organisations evolve toward BT maturity, executives will recognise that evolving IT practices, while necessary, is not enough. Augmenting the typical IT-centric framework approach with a BT road map will help solidify the journey ahead for executives who want to maximise business value from technology. A new maturity model and road map is needed, one that will:

  • Illuminate next practices that are shareable with business. By adding a BT road map, execs can grow IT's business engagement as the overall organisation matures.

  • Position where an enterprise - not just the IT department - stands. A BT maturity road map can make it very clear where a particular IT-centric organisation isn't, for example, effectively communicating project or change status to business peers.

  • Serve as the basis for tracking progress across multiple domains.
The BT maturity road map identifies the distinct variations in practice for subject matter domains. Organisations may find that they are not yet evolved in a particular element - like performance management - for a subject matter domain like sourcing. But by using the road map to examine progress across multiple domains, they can see a broader picture that shows commensurate performance management immaturity in governance, infrastructure management, and architecture. With this awareness, CIOs can put in place broader, more meaningful initiatives to improve these areas and can avoid the more incremental, one-off improvement efforts.

What does BT Maturity look like?

Using a simple five-by-five matrix - what to improve and what improvement looks like - the BT maturity road map will incorporate five elements and five levels of maturity.

The Five Areas To Monitor And Continuously Improve

All BT subject domains, whether enterprise sourcing, application development, or collaboration, can be viewed across five BT elements. These elements enable CIOs to monitor maturity in a continuous and evolutionary fashion, progressing toward full BT maturity. These five elements are Strategy, Process, Structure, Performance Measurement, and Culture.

Most importantly these areas look to evaluate the business by: identifying the correct influences in the decision making process; how decisions will impact other IT domains and also the wider business; and its effectiveness to cultivate the correct behaviour and working environment for that domain.

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