Virtrium

Business Value from IT

Business Value from IT

Strategy means:

  • Aligning your IT and business strategies
  • Matching IT governance to business governance
  • Defining the applications required to deliver the outcomes you need, infrastructure and hosting arrangements, integration requirements and provisioning, key providers, technologies or products, security and authentication requirements, and how information is to be managed

We help you to develop the right strategy by combining our knowledge of the IT marketplace and approaches other businesses use, with leading techniques and the right level of engagement with your people.

Please click on the links to read our IT Strategy case studies:

Matthew ClarkMitchells & ButlersOne Family

Business Alignment

Deriving the best value from IT investments requires changes to be closely aligned with what is going on in the business. This needs a clear business strategy, mandated by the executive, from the top down.

To confirm the required alignment, we work with you to agree and document the following:

  • The business context. This can include some or all of the following: value proposition (what value we provide); customers, stakeholders and markets served; business model and partners; macroeconomic and regulatory forces at work; relevant technology trends; and the competitive climate. It should be kept as brief as possible and focus primarily on areas that are changing, or those connected to how the business will win.
  • The business success section clarifying the enterprise’s strategic posture: “How we will win.” It must be about overall direction to drive business success, and it must be specific enough to drive trade-offs. The strategy must not consist of motherhood-and-apple-pie statements such as “we will delight our customers” or “we will strive to be efficient.” Examples of trade-offs include designing processes and systems for flexibility vs. efficiency; and using price as a signal of quality vs. undercutting competitors.
  • The IT contribution completes the demand section of the strategy. It answers the question: Given the external context, business strategy for success and business capability needs, how will IT help us win? This is the most important section of the strategy and should be the source of the “elevator pitch” that the CIO and IT team give when asked questions such as, “How is IT contributing?” or “What’s the value of IT in our business?”. The IT contribution should form the core of the board strategy The supply side of the IT strategy should also reflect this contribution.

Governance

Working jointly with MIT, Gartner defined governance as “the assignment of decision rights and the accountability framework to encourage desirable behavior in the use of IT.” Put simply, this is how decisions get made strategically. In making the business successful, governance is a companion to strategy. Therefore it is useful to summarise IT governance in the strategy, specifically how to ensure that the strategic direction is used to direct decisions.

Governance Strategy ensures that IT is responsive to the business, that it integrates with business governance and has the right operating model to deliver business requirements. This aspect of strategy can set out a target operating model design and a governance model. CObIT (Control Objectives for IT) is the recognised best practice model. CObIT is much more than an audit standard. It is a comprehensive process model for describing and governing the primary tasks involved with running an IT operation.

Ultimately, the best way to deploy CObIT is to define your desired state and adapt CObIT to meet your specific organisational needs. Smaller organisations can obtain many of the benefits of CObIT through the Quickstart method.

Larger organisations can use the Quickstart method to initiate a deployment, but are likely to need to complete the full CObIT implementation to achieve comprehensive process transparency and quality improvements.

Our best practice is aligned with IT process frameworks including CObIT, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), and International Standards Organisation (ISO) 20000.

IT Strategy

The most suitable IT strategy will depend on the nature of a business and the IT organisation. IT strategy can break down into several areas. At its simplest, your business uses applications to support business processes (so you need an application strategy), and IT uses technology to deliver the applications (so you need a technology strategy).

Your Application Strategy defines what applications are required to support your business processes and deliver the outcomes you need.

Your Technology Strategy defines infrastructure, hosting arrangements (cloud or not), integration requirements and provisioning; and sets out decisions about particular providers, technologies or products, security and authentication requirements. Subsets of the Technology Strategy include Cloud Strategy, Data Centre Strategy, Mobile Strategy, Network Strategy and Security Strategy.

While an Application and a Technology Strategy may suffice for many organisations, other elements might also be needed.

As businesses become more information-intensive and reliant, Information Strategies are becoming increasingly common. The Information Strategy typically defines a need for functions such as Master Data Management, Analytics and Business Intelligence, and Information Security requirements.

Digital Strategy tends to be more associated with customer relationships and marketing initiatives, although in some organisations’ definition, it has subsumed IT Strategy. We have also seen the term Digital Strategy used to describe approaches to digital social media, and the ‘digitalisation’ of business processes (e.g. transferring manual and paper-based processes to on-line).

Governance Strategy is ensuring that IT is responsive to the business, that it integrates with business governance, and has the right operating model to deliver what the business needs.

To help you to develop your IT Strategy, we combine our knowledge and experience of the IT marketplace and approaches used by other businesses with techniques such as value chain analysis and business process analysis, and the right level of engagement and interaction with your people.