Information Technology (IT) Management has evolved to become more aligned with business processes. Every industry that can be thought of uses some type of information system and process automation as part of its business requirements planning. IT will continue to grow and evolve as businesses seek to build on technology investments and innovations while modern IT strategy becomes more of a business imperative. This introductory blog discusses initial strategies for building an IT business value proposition.

IT is the Interaction Between Technology, People and Business

Decades ago, simply implementing information systems and office automation for businesses was viewed as a competitive advantage, while a few programmers and analysts were the irreplaceable gatekeepers for the applications and systems that were implemented. That model is much less likely, as more stakeholders become involved in IT strategy. Today program managers, project managers, business analyst, and business executives take ownership of the solution. Business and operational resources have much more involvement and visibility at all levels of the product design. Developers and Engineers have more accountability in product testing, revisions and releases. Today, there is an expectation that operational resources (Admins and Engineers) are critical to product quality, while the business leaders own the end to end solution.  An adherence to this strategy validates the crucial role IT plays in business success.

Designing systems analysis includes user stories, business functions,  business requirements, user acceptance testing (UAT), conducting user interviews, creating functional design, building use case analysis and designing for object oriented languages using uniform modeling language (UML). Today’s IT strategies fit very nicely into more agile software development methodologies. Without these methods, businesses risk placing their IT investments into a box or worse, creating a product that is not flexible or adaptable.

Automate Functionality Where it Makes Sense

One of the keys to DevOps is the ability to automate many of the operational and functional requirements in agile software development. If you are not familiar with DevOps, I recommend the following book The DevOps Handbook: World-Class Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations by Gene Kim. Automation is a standard part of building reliable, available and adaptable services, and is an essential part of Cloud Services using Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) platforms. In most cases it’s become a mandatory part of platform and infrastructure services.

Create an IT Value Proposition

The components of IT value include:

  1. Identifying potential value.
  2. Creating an effective plan for converting opportunity into reality.
  3. Realizing when value has been accomplished.
  4. Constantly tracking IT Value and demonstrating that value to stakeholders and business leaders.

Create an IT Business Strategy

Having a sound business strategy for IT can increase the likelihood of a viable investment return for IT and helps ensure that IT investments adhere to current and future business goals. One of the biggest obstacles or challenges to creating IT Strategy consists of mastering enterprise architecture and enterprise models, as well as, understanding how budgets and funding aligns with that enterprise. Building sound relationships with business leaders and program sponsors is crucial to strategy, because no matter how sound your strategy is, without sponsorship it’s likely to go nowhere.

Works Cited: McKeen, James D., Smith, Heather A. IT Strategy: Issues and Practices
Third Edition 2015.