BTM can be implemented in five steps
But where to start? The job of implementing 17 BTM capabilities and measuring progress using the BTM Maturity Model can seem overwhelming. After all, every enterprise starts from a different place, with existing investments in systems and business processes that make starting over virtually impossible.
So don’t start over. Start anywhere.
The right way to approach BTM implementation is iteratively. Fundamentally, an enterprise must determine where it is in order to get focused on specific priorities, design and implement specific capabilities against those priorities, and then execute and continuously improve.
You not only can, but you actually must begin by recognizing where the enterprise stands with regard to BTM maturity. Only by respecting what is can you make real progress toward what is to be. Then you cycle again, using five steps to continuous BTM improvement (see Figure 1.6):
- Establish a Baseline (assess BTM maturity levels, confirm opportunity areas, identify high-priority functional areas and key stakeholders).
- Educate and Align (educate key stakeholders on BTM capabilities, review baselines, and develop consensus on roadmap).
- Diagnose and Design (analyze and define the scope of the problem, identify relevant components of the BTM Framework, design processes, organization, information, and automation).
- Realize and Mobilize (implement the design with best practice templates, operationalize repeatable decision-making processes).
- Optimize and Maintain (fine-tune management processes, update information, and ensure decision quality).
Figure 1.6 A Step-by-Step Approach to BTM
There are five steps to continuous BTM improvement.
The flexibility of this approach provides multiple points of entry into a BTM roadmap, with or without previous BTM experience. This eliminates any need to completely recast the existing approaches in an organization. BTM maturity initiatives are easily blended with and serve as a supporting framework that can organize and improve existing practices. Incumbent tools and standards for technology management are integrated into the holistic BTM Framework.
The flexible nature of BTM and its implementation cycle easily interfaces with external sources such as compliance studies, management consulting engagement outputs, and audits. Regardless of the source, virtually any baseline or starting point will support the identification of target activities appropriate to an organization’s current environment and its state of business and technology synchronization.
As a company approaches the successful conclusion of a BTM improvement cycle, it will be simultaneously planning the evolution of its BTM maturity. This is accomplished by observing results and preparing to establish the next performance baseline. Ultimately, a company operating in the "execution and improvement" zone will seek to revisit their baseline and to determine areas of focus for the next cycle of BTM progress.
Smart enterprises today are rightfully pursuing alignment of technology with the business, and that in itself is no small achievement. But for some, the right level is really synchronization, where technology shapes (not just enables) strategic choices. And at the highest level of achievement, business and technology leadership actually converges, reflecting an executive and management team that has achieved an extraordinary level of cross-understanding and vision for the future.
The BTM Standard supports enterprises at all three levels. Assembling the components of Business Technology Management as described previously yields unprecedented capacity and opportunity for success in a marketplace where competitive advantage is increasingly defined through technology.
Business technology budgets are so big today that they obviously cannot be ignored by any senior management team. There are those companies with executives who will wring their hands, clamp down with arbitrary spending caps, demand a quick fix such as outsourcing, and call for the head of the CIO. Within a short while, they will cycle through those steps again, since nothing there addresses the core issue: You cannot spend (or slash) your way to business technology excellence and congruence with the business. That demands intelligent application of technology, with spending determined by strategic business needs, not by arbitrary benchmarks.
In fact, there are companies whose executives are beginning to see that business technology investment must be accompanied by appropriate BTM investment. This new kind of capital includes the processes, organizational structures, information and technology required for unified business and technology decision making. This new kind of company will move beyond alignment, where technology supports but never goes beyond immediate business needs, to synchronization and convergence, where technology helps shape new opportunities and in fact cannot be separated from the business.
You had better hope that company is your own, and not your competitor.