Flipside of IT (APMG, Jan 2013)

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Flipside of IT (APMG, Jan 2013)

  1. 1. White Paper The Flipside of IT – Introducing BiSL® In the APMG International webinar ‘The Flipside of IT – IntroducingBiSL®’, presented by Mark Smalley on 23 January 2013, the audience had the opportunity to share their opinions about various aspects ofbusiness information management. This paper summarizes the results of the polls and repeats the questions and answers that were dealtwith at the end of the presentation, covering a couple of questions that couldn’t be answered in the time available. Mark Smalley, 28 January 2013 1
  2. 2. Poll resultsMost of the participants worked for an internal IT department or for an externIT service provider, and some of them where trainers/consultants. Nobodyworked for a business department.Most of them agreed with the statement that the following activities arebusiness responsibilities • Determine which information is required and which part will be automated • Delegate the automated part to the IT department and/or external service providers • Organize the non-automated part • Ensure the quality of information • Ensure effective and efficient usage of information (systems)as opposed to these IT responsibilities • Provide appropriate functionality • Run information systems • Support users • Advise about the above.Regarding their top IT management concerns, they gave a higher priority tousing IT to improve business efficiency and increasing the speed of change ofIT than to lowering the cost of IT and improving the reliability of IT.Asked about the relative strength of business and IT as two separate entities,most of the participants said that the business was the weakest link or thatboth business and IT needed improvement.Finally, a strong majority said the BiSL either completely or partially filled agap other frameworks do not address. 2
  3. 3. Comments on top IT management concernsThe numbers #1, #2 etc. in the comments refer to professor Jerry Luftman’slatest research for 2012.While IT cost reduction (#8) can be achieved by measures within the ITorganization – improving the efficiency of IT processes and using cheaper ITstaff and tooling – IT costs can also be reduced by critical analysis ofprojects, changes and service levels. This can reduce the volume of ITservices.Reliability (#4: IT reliability and efficiency) and speed of change (#2:Business agility and speed to market) can be opposing poles and sometimesa conscious trade-off has to be made. If an organization wants to introduce anew product quicker than its competitors and if speed of IT change is on thecritical path, it may be better to accept a lower reliability and prepare forcorrective measures when outages occur. This is obviously a decision thatshould not be taken by IT – it’s part of the conversation between businessand IT where IT has a responsibility to inform the business about theconsequences of the various options.Traditionally, IT has been used to improve business efficiency (#1: Businessproductivity and cost reduction), often by automating jobs and therebyreducing headcount. Slowly but surely, IT is being used not only to survivebut also to succeed (#7: Revenue generating IT innovations1) – in otherwords gaining competitive advantage, for is instance by using Big Data.These and other topics are addressed by the BiSL framework, in processessuch as Use support (ensuring effective and efficient use of information andIT), Demand management (identifying opportunities to use information andIT to improve business productivity, reduce business costs, increaserevenue), Contract management (ensuring that appropriate services andservice levels are contracted) and Financial management (business cases andvalue management).1 Luftman found the entrance of Revenue generating IT innovations into thetop 10 particularly significant. 3
  4. 4. Questions and answersHow will I know as an organization that BiSL will help us in our ITstrategy?The key point here as far as I’m concerned is decision-making. Are the rightpeople taking well-informed decisions about important topics? IT strategy iscertainly important and business people should be taking strategic decisions.IT has a crucial role to play in informing the business about the variousoptions. BiSL addresses this topic by (1) pointing about the responsibilitiesthat have to be taken on by the business and (2) establishing processes andrelationships that enable a meaningful conversation business and IT.If my organization is outsourcing IT services (e.g. to foreigncountries), is BiSL the answer?Whether you outsource domestically or to a foreign country, it’s essentialthat you outsource something that’s under control. Outsourcing a problem isonly going to make things worse. There are also many examples oforganisation that have outsourced the functional knowledge of theirinformation systems, creating the risk of being ‘ransomed’ by their externalservice provider. It is therefore imperative that you (1) retain functionalknowledge and (2) manage the supplier and the services for a customerperspective, BiSL provides guidance in both areas.In which industries is BiSL best applied?There is no particular bias to any industry but as far a size is concerned, it’susually the larger organisations that want to formalize their processes, rolesand responsibilities, and while BiSL can certainly help with that, BiSL can alsobe used as a checklist for smaller organizations to give them assurance that,whether formally or informally, they’re managing their information anddealing with IT.Why is BiSL so successful in The Netherlands?Probably due to word of mouth. The first users found it helpful and I guessthis just got around. The ASL BiSL Foundation played a role by providing aplatform for sharing knowledge and good practices (I prefer ‘good practice’ to‘best practice’ because my best practice won’t be your best practice – youalways have to tailor it to your own organization).Can you name a few large Dutch large companies (public and/orprivate) who are working with BiSL?Police Force, Ministry of Defence, Tax and Customs Administration areexamples of public organizations that use BiSL. The Netherland’s largestinsurer, Achmea, is also uses BiSL as does Philips. Philips won the 2012 ASL 4
  5. 5. BiSL Foundation’s annual award based on the results they had bookedimproving the ownership of information systems within the business.Why have these large NL companies decided to work with BiSL?I’d like to answer this in two parts. They work with BiSL because as far as weknow there isn’t an alternative. The more interesting question is why arethey investing in business information management. I believe this is becausethey recognize (1) the importance of information for their organisation and(2) the fact that it’s a business responsibility.How come large NL companies working with ITIL are also workingwith BiSL?In the Netherlands it’s quite usual to use a combination of three frameworksfor IT management: ITIL for service management on the supply-side, ASL forapplication management, also on the supply-side, and BiSL on the demandside. They recognize that there has to be a complimentary business‘counterpart’ to ITIL. There’s a white paper that the Foundation co-wrote withSharon Taylor, the Chief Architect of ITIL V3, giving a balanced perspectiveon both frameworks. It’s available on the TSO site www.best-management-practice.com/Knowledge-Centre/White-Papers and the ASL BiSL Foundationsite http://aslbislfoundation.org/en/bisl/publications/whitepapers.Why is BiSL very complementary to ITIL?Both ASL and BiSL were written with ITIL in mind. It was ITIL v1 at that timeso much has changed but the basic principles remain the same. I also have adetailed process mapping of how the two frameworks interact.Why do you like BiSL so much yourself?Although I’m a bit on a ‘framework fetishist’ it’s the fact that BiSL is helpingpeople to get more value out of their investments in information and IT thatenergizes me. And there’s so much going on at the moment – things arereally in a state of flux – which makes it even more interesting. Follow thisspace! 5
  6. 6. References[BiSL] Business information Services Library www.aslbislfoundation.org/en/bisl/ publications/books/299-2012- bisl-een-framework-voor-business-informatiemanagement[BIM] Business information management function http://aslbislfoundation.org/en/bisl/publications/ whitepapers/doc_download/787-2012-08- white-paper-bim-function-v5-m-smalleyAuthorMark Smalley is responsible for global promotion atthe not-for-profit, vendor-independent ASL BiSLFoundation and is a self-employed IT ManagementConsultant at Smalley.IT. He is specialized inApplication Lifecycle Management and ITGovernance. Mark is a regular speaker atinternational conferences, where he has reached outto thousands of IT professionals.Follow & engage with Mark on Twitter @marksmalleyEmail: mark.smalley@aslbislfoundation.orgFurther details, publications & speaking engagements atwww.linkedin.com/in/marksmalley 6

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