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Briefing: From Good to Great

Jesse Sie | March 27, 2012
Business and IT alignment has always been the talk of the boardroom. Yet, aligning IT to business strategy remains one of the most important challenges for many organisations.

“A key lesson learnt from companies that have adopted APM is to start small and grow organically,” said Rhoads. “While there are many potential paths towards APM, one sample path we have observed is to start with just getting an inventory of the applications. Next is to identify applications that warrant further technical investigation, which often leads to making an investment decision. This in turn will gradually move towards obtaining predictive analysis tools to optimise decision making.” 

Complementing this process is an Enterprise Architecture, which is about creating both the business and IT blueprints that translate the business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change. 

“You can’t create an effective strategy without feedback from the execution side to tell you what’s working and what needs to be changed,” said Rhoads. “But with an Enterprise Architecture, you can.”

 

Telkomsel: A Case-In-Point 

Even though many CIOs are still wrestling with how they can best align business and IT strategy, there are a number of companies that have successfully bridged this divide. Indonesia’s leading telecommunications provider, Telkomsel is one such company.

According to Sebastian Jammer, Telkomsel’s Head of IT Transformation, sustaining change requires an integrated transformation process that aligns strategy and effective execution. This means having a framework that includes the organisation’s mission, a strategic intent, a business model, capabilities and culture.

“In order to successfully implement the strategy, you have to align them together,” said Jammer. “You need to get all the ducks in the row. You need to make sure that everybody runs in the same direction. So your business model needs a strategic intent, otherwise it doesn’t make sense. We wouldn’t be the leading operator in Indonesia if our strategy didn’t work.”

Jammer explained that in order for his organisation to adopt the framework and start the change process, he needed to provide the executive team a case for change, which is also known as a burning platform. 

“A burning platform creates a sense of urgency and provides an overall rationale for the effort,” said Jammer. “For Telkomsel, the case for change was the competitive pressure to improve time-to-market, flexibility, cost and service quality. And these became our strategic objectives.”

So how did Telkomsel implement the change? 

“First, we had to identify what we needed to do,” said Jammer. “Then we rejuvenated the application development process. But the most important part was to install a process where business requests were prioritised.  As a result, not only we were able to control resources and the budget, we were able to only implement initiatives that are aligned with the corporate strategies and objectives.”

 

5 Best Practices of Effective Software Delivery

IT departments are rather vague on how to practice alignment as business strategy is often not a clear target. Even so, building a well-oiled delivery engine to realise the organisation’s targets is easy, claimed Mike O'Rourke, IBM Rational’s  Vice President of Offering Strategy and Delivery. That is, as long as they follow five best practices of successful organisations worldwide.   

 

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