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INTRODUCTION



In today’s do-more-with-less business environment, with increasing demands from customers, shareholders, and regulators, the IT organization is not only asked to work harder and smarter, but is being asked to take on the role of assuring the business. Businesses don’t succeed if they can’t measure their success against objectives, which must be prioritized and supported by an effective information infrastructure. Business governance demands that financial reporting is accurate and secure, that assets are effectively managed, and that employees, the most valuable but the most expensive asset the organization has, are enabled and productive. Yet there is a constant struggle to free up time to think and work more strategically, in the midst of today’s challenges and fire-fighting mode. Technology is an enabler for more effectively managing the business, but does not solve the problem unless it is tied directly to business and governance objectives. Utilizing technology more effectively enables businesses to address many of the challenges they face everyday, such as how to improve commercial performance, increase business up-time, raise output per employee, improve customer service and satisfaction, reduce business and security risks, cut operational costs, comply with multiple regulations, and keep staff happy and motivated.

“IT organizations must have the confidence to make key decisions on new technology if they are to move from being a business enabler to a business contributor and play a central role in the future of business strategy," said Peter Sondergaard, global head of research at Gartner who spoke at the 2005 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Barcelona. By aligning IT with business objectives, IT becomes a business contributor, in a sense - assuring that the business meets its vision and goals.

This paper discusses some critical issues and opportunities for the IT organization to think through before it invests in technology, including: 1) an approach that Touchpaper has developed for IT to define and address business objectives - IT Business Management (ITBM), 2) Compliance, 3) Asset Management, and 4) Employee Productivity.

1) ASSURING BUSINESS OBJECTIVES

ITBM enables businesses to maximize their potential by providing the highest levels of service to their internal and external customers. An ITBM enabled organization will have identified Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are critical to its success. Investment in IT will then be a direct contributor to the productivity of the organization and the success of the business. The exact KPIs will be specific to each organization. Touchpaper has identified a standard set that is likely to form the core measures. The management, tracking, and reporting of KPIs around these goals can be facilitated by the use of sophisticated, yet easy to use reporting tools.

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