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FCW : July 15, 2014
Recent research by CEB shows that for every dollar spent by IT, busi- ness leaders spend another 40 cents on technology or technology serv- ices. However, some government agencies report an even higher rate of business-led IT spending, and many federal IT leaders say they are seeing an uptick in their business partners spending on IT solutions and services, particularly as more services shift to the cloud. Some believe such spending is due to business partners roles evolving to include more respon- sibility for technology-enabled outcomes. In fact, most IT leaders we ve talked with have noted that business partners are going to lead more of their own technology initia- tives regardless of what IT does, simply because those initiatives are critical to their mission objectives. Here are the steps to ensure that the entire agency reaps the bene ts of business-led IT spending: 1. Equip executives to make effective IT decisions. Business leaders need technology to accom- plish their goals, but they are often not well-versed in how to capture value from that technology or man- age its costs and risks. IT depart- ments should coach business leaders to ask the right questions upfront, tie technology decisions to business capabilities, assume responsibility for risks and take ownership of the information that comes from the technology they buy. 2. Use employee innovations to enhance productivity. Our research shows that almost two- thirds of employees give failing grades to the productivity tools offered at their organizations, and as a result, they often bring their own solutions to work with them. IT and business leaders should help employees fully understand the costs and risks of their decisions so that they can make informed trade-offs. IT leaders could also partner with the human resources or communications departments to identify and share the best solutions employees are using. 3. Position IT leaders to edu- cate, integrate and secure. It is the IT department s objective to help the organization get as much value as possible from technol- ogy. IT organizations must educate business partners on how to make the right decisions and integrate capabilities, thereby building shared capabilities between departments. At the same time, clear guidelines for how and when IT leaders should be involved in integration and security are crucial to ensuring that processes run ef ciently and infor- mation remains secure. 4. Reduce friction through active engagement. It is important for partners such as the nance, procurement and legal departments to be involved in technology deci- sions. However, business-led IT demands new approaches to those partnerships. IT leaders should solicit and incorporate other depart- ments expertise to give business leaders an accurate picture of the trade-offs between technology choices. For example, one solu- tion might be easy to procure in the short term but more costly to inte- grate and secure in the long term. 5. Tackle security fears. Informa- tion security concerns are para- mount when making technology decisions. To accurately weigh the business bene ts of innovative tech- nologies against information security risks, IT leaders should adopt an approach in which the true owners of the risk make the decisions. By bringing risk managers together to accelerate the adoption of technolo- gies that introduce tricky new risks, the IT department can facilitate their implementation rather than avoid them. In light of recent budget con- straints, IT leaders need to nd new ways to encourage innovation and ef ciency. By encouraging align- ment with strategy, equipping busi- ness partners to use data and exert- ing control where it is warranted, IT leaders can position their agencies for success. ■ How business-led IT changes the game As other departments increase their technology spending, IT leaders can reap the bene ts for the entire agency by following these ve steps IT organizations must educate business partners on how to make the right technology decisions. Commentary KRIS VAN RIPER AND A U D R E Y M I C K A H A I L KRIS VAN RIPER is a managing director and AUDREY MICKAHAIL is director of the IT practice at CEB. July 15, 2014 FCW.COM 13
June 15, 2014
July 30, 2014