In 2011, IT Will Continue To Deploy Business Process Capabilities

It’s the end of the year — time to look back and reflect on what’s going to happen next in IT.

Since Forrester predicted the death of IT 10 years ago, most IT departments have undergone significant reorganizations, first to consolidate duplicate applications and platforms, then to become more services-focused, and now to increase IT’s business process orientation.

But there’s life in the old dog yet. As our 2010 survey of 141 business process professionals showed, only 21% of the executives driving business process improvements are CIOs or process professionals reporting to IT — meaning that despite good intentions, IT plays a limited role in business process initiatives.

Many experts see the deployment of business process centers of excellence (COEs) as a panacea to IT’s process orientation problem. Set up to provide business technology (BT) services across business units — such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), business process management (BPM), customer relationship management (CRM), and business intelligence (BI) — business process COEs play a crucial role in efficiently developing and broadcasting innovative process-oriented practices across the business units.

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Business Technology 2020 – Questions And Answers

What will business and technology be like in 2020 – and what’s IT’s place in this new world? This is the subject of a teleconference that James Staten and I held for our clients yesterday and also the subject of an upcoming Forrester report.

In this teleconference, we painted a picture of the impact of business-ready, self-service technology, a tech-savvy and self-sufficient workforce, and a business world in which today’s emerging economies dwarf the established ones, bringing a billion new consumers with a radically different view of products and services, as well as in which surging resource costs – especially energy costs – crush today’s global business models. 

In the past, when new waves of technology swept into our businesses – everything from the 1980s’ PCs to today’s empowered technologies – the reaction was the swinging pendulum of “decentralized/embedded IT” followed by “centralized/industrialized IT.” These tired old reactions won’t work in the world 2020. Instead, businesses must move to a model we call Empowered BT.

Empowered BT empowers business to pursue opportunities at the edge and the grassroots – but to balance this empowerment with enterprise concerns. Key to this balance is the interplay between four new “meta roles” – visionaries, consultants, integrators, and sustainability experts – combined with a new operating model based on guidelines, mentoring, and inspection. Also key is IT changing from a mindset in which it needs to control technology to one in which it embraces business ownership of technology decisions.

The teleconference chat window was busy as James and I presented our research. Here are the questions we weren’t able to answer due to time.

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