Posted by: Derek Weeks on: October 22, 2010
Gartner’s 2010 Symposium and ITxpo came to a close last night. During the week, we attended several analyst sessions, keynotes from industry leaders, workshops with end users, and engaged in hundreds of conversations with business and IT leaders. It was clear that the burning question that is commanding the attention of business and technology executives alike across the globe: How can IT enable business goals and accelerate business results?
Several analysts at the conference focused on addressing this topic and while each came at it from a different angle – depending on their research coverage area or discipline, one thing remained consistent: transforming business is all about managing organizational change and culture change. This often understated consideration is critically important because without support, consensus and buy-in within and across the organization, true business transformation is not possible.
If the goal of business transformation is increased productivity, we need to figure out how to align IT goals with business needs and how to measure results against business outcomes. According to John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco, who delivered one of the conference keynotes, changing process is the only way to bring about productivity improvement. I think many people agree that process change, management and optimization are essential for enabling business results.
We heard over and over that the key to addressing the IT/business alignment challenge is making sure that business and IT speak the same language. If you are talking about databases and routers and I am talking about revenue per employee and faster time to market, we are not speaking the same language and our goals are not the same. When evaluating technologies and concepts, we need to ask how they are going to enable business results. If we can successfully translate technology into productivity, IT budgets will grow dramatically. If we can speak a common language, it’s a win-win for business and IT and we can move the culture of the organization forward.
The business/IT alignment conference theme resonated with the attendees we spoke with during the conference. We met with attendees from a wide range of industries – financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, energy and utilities, telecom, Federal government, armed services, state and local governments – who are looking at how EA, BPA and BPM can help them better understand their enterprise, simulate and analyze changes and process improvements and execute those changes in a way that positively impacts business outcomes. Several current customers who stopped to speak with us (thank you for stopping by!) are looking to expand their use of Metastorm, with many interested in learning more about our cloud modeling capabilities in Metastorm M3 and about Metastorm Smart Business Workspace.
Neal Lohmann’s Business Transformation and Architecting for the Cloud education sessions held during the conference were very popular as were Kevin Haugh’s Business Process Management (BPM) and Modeling for the Cloud sessions. Mark DiGirolamo’s Enterprise Business Architecture sessions were packed with CIOs, Enterprise Architects, PMOs and technology leaders wanting to learn how to deliver more effective strategic business and IT planning.
Many attendees stopped by after Salt River Project’s presentation on Tuesday and wanted to learn more about how Metastorm ProVision could be used to help them with their initiatives. Many also visited us after Gartner’s sessions on the Magic Quadrant for Business Process Management Suites (BPMS) and the Magic Quadrant for Business Process Analysis (BPA), both of which positioned Metastorm in the Leaders quadrant.
The message echoed loud and clear throughout the conference: bridging technology and the business through business architecture and process improvement is critical for managing enterprise change and improving business productivity. All in all, it was an informative and insightful week hearing from IT leaders who recognize that it is up to them to translate technology into business value. They seem energized to take on this challenge (or, perhaps more appropriately, this opportunity), and are ready for change.
I think Mr. Chambers summed this point up and brought the conversation full circle by reminding attendees that: “One of the important things to remember as an IT administrator or business leader is that transitions wait for no one.”
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