Do you have an IT Blueprint?

The core focus of IT Strategy tends to be digital enablement of business activities, but forging a dialogue on IT’s participation in and contribution to business strategy (i.e. seat at the table) tends to be marred by distracting frustrations with quality, efficiency, speed, and cost issues surrounding in-flight projects and the running of live services. These hygiene issues detract IT from playing a greater role in shaping the business’s roadmap and future intentions. When these levels of frustration exceed nominal tolerance levels, the noise percolates upwards to the Management Board through the power hierarchies and questions get asked at macro-level:

  • How does IT operate?
  • What are the key activities of the IT function?
  • How does work flow through IT?
  • Who is accountable for what in IT?
  • Why does IT need so many people? What do these people do?
  • How are decisions made? Who makes them?
  • How do we measure IT performance?

An IT Operating Model is a strategic artefact developed to answer these queries, it empowers the CIO to have a meaning conversation with the Board to provide clarity on how IT has organised its resources to best execute its remit. It also forms the basis for carrying out re-organisation and implement new ways of working to achieve a future-state Target IT Operating Model (TOM). Having an IT Operating Model in place helps employees understand the role they play in the wider organisation and remit of IT.

For example, when the IT function’s only remit was to manage technology efficiently, requiring little or no interaction with other departments, traditional operating models (such as the centralised plan-design-build-transition-run) were adequate. Today’s business executives demand speed, agility, lower cost, and access to specialised talent with expectations that technology should directly influence shareholder value – which may require a fundamental shift from traditional, centralised IT to more modern, digital operating models.

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