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Improve IT Business Alignment With An Infrastructure Roadmap


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Your Challenge

Infrastructure, by focusing on the reliability, availability, and serviceability of existing platforms, is perceived as a cost center rather than a business enabler.
Business stakeholders look to external vendors, rather than Infrastructure, to exploit emerging technologies. This leads to duplication of effort, inconsistent standards, and ineffective IT governance.
Infrastructure directors are unable to draw a line showing how their activities directly support the overall business goals.

Our Advice

Critical Insight
Think of the roadmap as a service, not a product. Its value is inversely proportional to the time since its last update.
Alignment perception issues can be addressed by having the infrastructure practice formally engage and communicate with business stakeholders.
Shadow IT can provide business-ready initiatives that need only to be tweaked to align with Infrastructure’s internal goals.
Impact and Result
This blueprint will help you build:

A formal channel and way of communicating value bottom-up and top-down between IT and the executive team.
A methodology to prioritize and create projects that generate business value.
A tool that can produce multiple outputs of value for different audiences using the same data.
An ongoing roadmap process, rather than a static document, that is able to adjust and react to evolving business circumstances.

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Improve IT Business Alignment With An Infrastructure Roadmap

  1. 1. Info-Tech Research Group 1Info-Tech Research Group 1 Info-Tech Research Group, Inc. is a global leader in providing IT research and advice. Info-Tech’s products and services combine actionable insight and relevant advice with ready-to-use tools and templates that cover the full spectrum of IT concerns. © 1997-2016 Info-Tech Research Group Inc. Improve IT-Business Alignment with an Infrastructure Roadmap Let the roadmap be your Rosetta Stone. Info-Tech's products and services combine actionable insight and relevant advice with ready-to-use tools and templates that cover the full spectrum of IT concerns.© 1997 - 2016 Info-Tech Research Group
  2. 2. Info-Tech Research Group 2Info-Tech Research Group 2 IT departments are failing and may not even realize it. Their failure is not in the daunting task of keeping core services up and running, but in demonstrating an understanding of business needs and requirements. An infrastructure roadmap corrects this problem of perception and clearly communicates how IT enables the business and prepares it for the future. Business stakeholders look elsewhere for IT services. Is this fair? No – well, maybe. But the business has to be accountable for its previous actions. Being informed by the past enables better decision making in the future. In a rapidly changing technical and business environment it is equally unfair for IT to appear rigid and backward- facing. Stability must be balanced with agility. Infrastructure must reach out and engage with the stakeholders to logically coordinate activity and timing. More important though is their responsibility to contextualize all activities, past, present, and future, directly linking them to the goals of the business and explicitly demonstrating their value. An infrastructure roadmap is an essential planning activity and communications tool. A forward-looking roadmap provides the what, why, how, and when of IT plans. No action in infrastructure, from adopting a new technology to refreshing or maintaining a current technology, can be in isolation. John Annand, Senior Manager, Infrastructure Info-Tech Research Group IT is failing and business stakeholders are looking elsewhere. ANALYST PERSPECTIVE
  3. 3. Info-Tech Research Group 3Info-Tech Research Group 3 This Research is Designed For: This Research Will Help You: This Research Will Assist: This Research Will Help You: This Research Is Designed For: This Research Will Help You: This Research Will Also Assist: This Research Will Help Them: Our understanding of the problem Infrastructure Directors CIOs Operations Manager or VP Departmental Managers or VPs Create a shared understanding of the value infrastructure delivers to the business. Establish priorities for Infrastructure initiatives. Demonstrate how IT investments support business goals. Deliver value from emerging technologies successfully and at the right time. Server, Network, and Storage Managers Project Managers End-User Compute and Device Managers Integrate planning and hardware replacement cycles with overall business goals. Suggest projects or initiatives to enable business goals. Allocate resources correctly for the timely delivery of milestone events on the roadmap.
  4. 4. Info-Tech Research Group 4Info-Tech Research Group 4 Resolution Situation Complication Info-Tech Insight Executive summary • Business executives have a perception that by focusing on maximizing infrastructure reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS), IT is ignoring contextual business goals. • Communication between infrastructure management and executives is inadequate and unpersuasive. • Data required to manage capacity and evaluate risk is of poor quality. • Sub-optimal investment in technology results in corporate infrastructure lacking the capacity and agility of third-party providers. • Business units bypass corporate IT and the associated governance and control, for their technology needs • Infrastructure practices are dismissed as cost centers at best, inhibitors at worst, and are not embraced as business enablers. • Open a channel to communicate stakeholder goals directly to the infrastructure practice and infrastructure capabilities to the business stakeholder. • Develop a methodology for project creation and prioritization that reflects current business goals. • Design a tool that can produce output meaningful to various audiences using the same data set. • Make data-driven decisions regarding asset refresh and maintenance, and evaluate their impact on the roadmap initiatives. • Maintain the roadmap as an iterative document capable of adjusting to changes according to a standard procedure. 1. Think of the roadmap as a service, not a product. Its value is inversely proportional to the time since its last update. 2. In recognizing technical debt, the roadmap addresses the legacy of past decisions. 3. As a broker of services, Infrastructure must evaluate new technologies and trends for business relevance, acceptable risk, and appropriate fit. 4. Shadow IT can provide business-ready initiatives that need only to be tweaked to align with Infrastructure’s internal goals.
  5. 5. Info-Tech Research Group 5Info-Tech Research Group 5 Infrastructure directors and their departments are failing to meet business stakeholder needs Seventy percent of business stakeholders “somewhat consistently” look externally to purchase IT services. 46.0% 60.0% 62.0% 54.0% 40.0% 38.0% 0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0% Overall Satisfaction With IT Core Services IT's Ability to Deliver Solutions That Meet Business Needs IT's Understanding of Business Needs and Requirements Business Stakeholders’ Satisfaction With IT Dissatisfied Satisfied Source: Info-Tech CIO Business Vision Diagnostic; N=2,369 According to Info-Tech’s Business Vision survey: • Only 53.8% of business leaders are satisfied with IT core services. • Less than 40% are satisfied with IT’s ability to deliver solutions that satisfy business capability needs. Some of these findings can be attributed to the CIO’s inability to: • Effectively manage stakeholder relationships. • Understand the capability needs of business partners. • Enable innovation to help business stakeholders capitalize on technology opportunities.
  6. 6. Info-Tech Research Group 6Info-Tech Research Group 6 Situation Result Insight • NASA develops technology across 15 distinct areas, representing the efforts of its 18,000 staff and nearly 250,000 external workers.1 • Technologies developed had the potential to overlap; while they delivered value, they did not necessarily contribute to the core NASA mission.2 • During a visit in 2010, the President instructed NASA to align its technology portfolio to its mission.3 • The goals were to reduce costs and duplication, and increase efficiency and effectiveness.4 • The Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) provides agency-wide technology coordination to align investments, fill gaps to meet mission requirements, anticipate future needs, and minimize duplication of effort.5 • NASA’s 2010 roadmaps listed 140 challenges and 320 technology candidates.6 • The 2015 iteration added 44 technology areas, was 2,100 pages in length, and had 340 authors. It is fed by a real-time database that tracks investment and project status, and responds to changing priorities.7 NASA focuses its efforts in response to President Obama’s challenge CASE STUDY • Roadmaps require considerable effort to produce and executive support in order to be successful. • An initiative may have value, but does not necessarily align to the business goals. • Different departments can have similar needs and a roadmap easily identifies duplication of efforts. • Stakeholders want to see that all possibilities have been considered and the roadmap can serve that purpose. Part 1/4 Source: See endnotes
  7. 7. Info-Tech Research Group 7Info-Tech Research Group 7 Ante up in order to stay in the game; keeping the lights on is just table stakes Innovator – Transforms the Business Reliable Technology Innovation Business Partner – Expands the Business Effective Execution on Business Projects, Strategic Use of Analytics and Customer Technology Trusted Operator – Optimizes the Business Effective Fulfillment of Work Orders, Functional Business Applications, and Reliable Data Quality Firefighter – Supports the Business Reliable Infrastructure and IT Service Desk Unstable – Struggles to Support Inability to Provide Reliable Business Services Transform your infrastructure practice from a firefighter to a business partner or an innovator. Mitigating risk is no longer sufficient, all departments are under increasing pressure to deliver more and more direct value to the business Ask not what your business has done for IT infrastructure lately, ask what IT infrastructure is doing to enable your business for tomorrow!
  8. 8. Info-Tech Research Group 8Info-Tech Research Group 8 Spend time developing relationships and see pay-off in improved satisfaction across all IT services Relationships are 24% stronger among Innovators than Operators. Operators score a 71% average in relationship satisfaction. Relationships are 22% weaker among Firefighters than Operators. OverallsatisfactionwithIT Perceived Value of IT Firefighters Operators Innovators Info-Tech Insight The most successful relationships have a common vocabulary. A proper infrastructure roadmap translates IT activities into the language of business strategy, goals, and initiatives. Source: Info-Tech Benchmarking and Diagnostic Programs; N=21,367 Communication is paramount. You have to put in the work and the time to hear what the business is saying in order to deliver and meet its expectations. – John Hansknecht, Director of Technology University of Detroit Jesuit High School & Academy
  9. 9. Info-Tech Research Group 9Info-Tech Research Group 9 0 As organizations grow in size and complexity so should the number of participants and stakeholders involved in these activities. IT leaders must formalize the infrastructure roadmap to ensure mutual understanding and support of next steps. Contextualize goals and actions for all business units with the connective tissue of an infrastructure roadmap These processes vary widely but are broadly represented here by: 1. Strategy to enable objectives. 2. Asset management to control the lifecycle of the asset portfolio. 3. Project management to allocate resources & deliver projects on time and budget. 4. Architecture or enterprise planning. A roadmap connects the dots to show how various decisions and investments relate to each other. A roadmap is the overlay that keeps planning processes unified while maintaining flexibility. Strategy Asset Management Project Management Architecture Infrastructure Roadmap “Our roadmap” often refers to an implied understanding of direction. Explicit understanding of destination allows steps to emerge from a combination of core planning processes.
  10. 10. Info-Tech Research Group 10Info-Tech Research Group 10 Actively manage the perception of competing business and infrastructure demands Business has objectives of growth, change, and continuous improvement. A roadmap will fail to serve its purpose if not designed for agility. Stability alone is NOT a sufficient purpose of IT infrastructure. IT is increasingly expected to be more responsive and agile. This increases the need for reliability, availability, and stability. Infrastructure managers are fundamentally responsible for ensuring stability. Agility Stability IT leaders are being forced to think more like product developers: defining the future rather than simply accepting it. • Technology-enabled business models are emerging in industries where IT was previously a back-office function. • Disruptive technologies are emerging from more directions. Roadmaps are simple, adaptable, ‘strategic lenses’ through which the evolution of complex systems can be viewed, [and which support] dialogue and communication. The roadmap is a fulcrum that strikes a balance between expected stability and required agility. Source: Robert Phaal and David Probert, “Technology Roadmapping”
  11. 11. Info-Tech Research Group 11Info-Tech Research Group 11 Plot a path early on that gives real meaning for future and near-future initiatives Manage the lifecycle of aging equipment in order to meet capacity demands. Initiate a schedule of infrastructure projects required to achieve business goals. Communicate to the executive how Infrastructure is supporting enterprise objectives. Realign IT resources quickly when faced with disruption. The short-term (1 year) roadmap is definite. Your destination is precise and you know the steps along the way. The medium-term (3 years) roadmap is semi-solid. Your destination is more of a region plus or minus a few stops. The long-term (3-5+ years) roadmap is fluid. Goals must be foundational in order to withstand the uncertainty of the long term. Info-Tech Insight The roadmap is a service, not a product. You update your GPS in real time, why not your roadmap? A series of three medium-term roadmaps is more valuable than a single exercise every five years. The best roadmap is an iterative process rather than specific document. 1 2 3 4
  12. 12. Info-Tech Research Group ‹#› Info-Tech Research Group Helps IT Professionals To:  Quickly get up to speed with new technologies  Make the right technology purchasing decisions – fast  Deliver critical IT projects, on time and within budget  Manage business expectations  Justify IT spending and prove the value of IT  Train IT staff and effectively manage an IT department