Services - Information Technology
Our whole systems view of organizational performance, highlights the interdependence between information technology and a number of other elements. This allows us to see an IT problem from many different perspectives. In one of our consulting engagements, we were asked by a bank to help them develop an IT strategy. In this case, the CIO was under serious pressure from the bank president, who viewed the problem as belonging to IT.
Our initial interviews with the senior executive team and our analysis of the existing business strategy revealed that while extensive work had been done on the business strategy and the bank president was proud of it, there was a major hole in the strategy which prevented the IT organization from developing a successful IT strategy. Subsequently meeting with the senior executive team of the bank, we had no choice but to share this disarming news with them. In our presentation, we pointed out to them that the bank “had no goals in their strategic plan.” As we indicated to them, “While you have some very extensive and creative strategies, i.e, means, the lack of clearly-stated, organizational goals, means IT cannot be employed optimally to contribute to those goals.” As might be suspected, the news that the problem was not IT’s problem, but rather the business’ problem, was not well received. Nonetheless, the senior team proceeded to develop goals for the bank and the final result was that IT’s value and credibility were elevated in the process. In fact, the bank president volunteered to subsequently be a member of the IT Steering Committee.
For some 20 years, the number one item on IT’s list of top issues has been IT Alignment. This has generally meant aligning the IT strategy with the business strategy of the company, as illustrated in the bank case. Recently, we conducted a study at Santa Clara University, trying to understand why in 20 years we haven’t made more progress (see our article, A Research Study of IT Alignment. Once again, highlighting the interdependence depicted in our whole systems view of organizational performance, we concluded that while senior business leaders were deficient in their knowledge of IT strategy, senior IT leaders were equally deficient in their knowledge of business strategy. In the case of the bank, knowledge of business strategy on the part of the bank CIO, would have led him to conclude that the bank had no goals and would not have required him to hire us to assist him with this.
At Organizational Synergies, we believe that unlike other consulting firms, we understand both the IT strategy side and the business strategy side of the problem. With over 40 years of IT expertise and 25 years of business strategy expertise, we come prepared to help you maximize the contribution of IT to the strategy of your organization.
Other areas in which we can add value to IT organizations are as follows:
- Helping IT organizations market themselves internally. In most IT organizations, there is a gap between the value that they provide and the perception of that value. We use proven marketing principles to help IT organizations reduce this gap.
- Management development of the IT staff. We worked with Santa Clara University to help them establish the Information Technology Leadership Program. Now in its 12th year, this is the premiere executive development program for IT professionals in the industry. We bring this expertise to IT organizations that wish to develop the skills of their senior people.
- Structuring the IT organization. While times have changed, most IT organizations have not. Many of them are still structured in the traditional manner established decades ago. We work with IT organizations to develop structures that will help you be more effective and to deliver greater value to the organization. One of these leading organizational concepts is that of “relationship management.” We have perhaps the most extensive experience in this area of any consulting firm.