Indian CIOs Are At A Business Technology Crossroads

 

Indian CIOs are at the risk of losing business credibility if they do not improve their understanding of business technology (BT). This is the key finding from the latest report that John Brand and I just published. For this report, we surveyed 130 companies in India, using Forrester’s BT Leadership Maturity Model as a baseline for gauging the BT maturity and readiness of Indian organizations. Our survey revealed a surprising level of consistency and positivity about BT among Indian firms, regardless of organization size, type or industry.

This was especially surprising given that BT is a relatively new concept in emerging markets. When we asked CIOs at Indian organizations to define BT in their own words, the responses displayed an overwhelmingly enthusiastic and optimistic view of BT; the most common theme centered on the value of BT as a general principle. However, many topics that were widely cited in self-assessments from CIOs in more mature markets like North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand were all but ignored by Indian CIOs, including time-to-value, market differentiation, communication, and governance.  As Indian CIOs have not long been exposed to the general concepts of BT, Forrester believes that inflated self-rankings are mainly attributed to a lack of understanding of just how comprehensive BT is.

The report helps answer key questions such as:

·         Why are Indian CIOs remarkably consistent in their BT views and attitudes? And is this really just due to a common tendency to inflate their own BT maturity?

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Failure Is Not An Option

Failure or success, which do you choose?As regular readers of my blog will know, I’ve been talking about moving beyond alignment for a number of years now. The fact is, too many CIOs have been able to get by on the basis of managing the technology black box — and CEOs and CFOs have been complicit in allowing these same CIOs the freedom to do what they want within tightly controlled budgets, not wanting to sully their hands with “all that technology stuff.” But those days are rapidly coming to an end. The technology genie is out of the bottle; today’s business-unit leaders are more dependent on technology than ever before, and they are also much more tech-savvy. CIOs can no longer hide behind the technology black box — it’s time to change the IT game forever. It’s time for IT to drive business results and connect all technology investments to business outcomes.

Today’s new CEOs are looking to CIOs and IT to make a direct impact on business goals from investments in technology. While every business must make technology investments to sustain operations, IT must move beyond simply keeping the lights on and connect the dots between effective growth strategies and new technology investments. This requires a different set of technology and business skills: different people, process, and technology in the IT organization. In fact, the organization is so different we now call it the business technology organization, or BT. The distinction between IT and BT is subtle but important. BT represents the fusion of the IT organization into the rest of the business. In a BT organization, the lines between IT and business units are blurred. What is important is a focus on the roles needed for effective business technology strategy execution. What’s not important are reporting lines.

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Getting A Service Catalog: So Much More Than Buying A Tool!

I’ve been meaning to write about service catalog for a year now but I’ve just not had the bandwidth. It’s a common subject for Forrester client inquiries, mainly for my colleague Eveline Oehrlich who has several formal service catalog management outputs scheduled for 2012. Undertaking a recent service catalog webinar with ServiceNow, however, made me realize that I had already created the content for a quick service catalog blog. Hopefully it’s a blog that will help many learn from the service catalog mistakes of others.

What’s the big issue with service catalogs?

Service catalogs (or more importantly service catalog management) really hit the mainstream with ITIL v3 (introduced in June 2007) based on real world use of early service catalogs. So they are nothing new. However, many organizations struggle to start (and finish) service catalog initiatives AND to realize the anticipated benefits. The answer for many lies in that last sentence – they need more than “service catalog initiatives.”

As an aside, I often ask attendees of my presentations: “who has a service catalog?”, “who is planning a service catalog?”, and “who feels they have realized the anticipated benefits from deploying a service catalog?” While the answers to the first two questions can vary, the answer to the third is pretty consistent – organizations are consistently failing to realize the expected benefits from their service catalog initiatives.

So what goes wrong?

In my experience there are four key issues

  1. It’s often seen as a technology project … “let’s buy a service catalog tool” rather than introducing service catalog management and enabling technology.
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