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CIOs need a framework to manage their IT investments and operations. While the role of the CIO has evolved from technologist to business liaison, the classic "business/IT" chasm is still common in many organizations. What's missing is a formal mechanism to link what the business wants to accomplish with the ability of IT to enable, create, and support those outcomes.

CIOs need a framework that provides an end-to-end view connecting the fundamental elements of service delivery and IT with desired business outcomes. In the upcoming series of articles, we'll describe a three-dimensional framework that links the business, services delivery, and information technology to achieve desired business outcomes (see Figure 1).

Figure 1Figure 1 Unification framework.

In the business dimension, we'll focus on how to identify, quantify, and understand the business, and desired outcomes such as business growth and cost reduction. These are the drivers for both services delivery and information technology. In the services delivery dimension, we'll examine the services that must be delivered to support desired business outcomes, including services to customers, internal supporting/enabling services, and services that must be delivered into the business.

Finally, the information technology dimension focuses on building and managing IT infrastructures that enable people to drive the business. In all three dimensions, we'll describe not only what needs to be done and why, but more importantly, how—with intelligent, practical plans of action.

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