Monday, August 2, 2010

Capability maps for Business Alignment

Don't Just Build Business-IT Alignment, Map It: This is a really useful item. My precise below.

CIOs need to be able describe IT functions in business terms. Alignment occurs when people have a common understanding of what's important to the business, how this relates to the business model and the supporting technology, and where to prioritize investments for measurable improvements.

Business capability maps provide a framework to capture, assess, and communicate these needs. These maps put technology strategies in the context of the business process, functions, and capabilities they affect, and help enterprise architects design application and information architecture.

There are no industry standard models or frameworks to guide architects in their development. Forrester developed a six-step process that provides the foundation to successfully build and apply capability maps.

Step 1: Identify the Business-IT Alignment Issues - interview stakeholders to get differnt perspectives. Start with IT and use the results of those interviews to refine the process before moving to the business. Analyze the interview data to find common problem areas. Validate the identified problems with stakeholders to ensure that the accurately reflect their concerns.

Step 2: Define Your Approach - Create a current-state view that includes the issues and a future-state view. Use the current and future-state views to map alignment Issues to solution options. Focus on tractable issues. Define the roles and resources needed to make the initiative successful.

Step 3: Develop the Business Case - Develop a resources project plan (showing ramp up). Identify risks and mitigation approaches. Determine tools and technologies. Develop a cost estimate. Sell the business case.

Step 4: Build the Capability Map - Determine your organising principle e.g. value streams, business functions, services to clients and define the capability framework. Validate the structure by focusing a single element and identify capabilities for that element and add details (narrative description, people, process, technology, information, business goals, metrics, and gaps). Repeat across all of the organizing elements.

Step 5: Apply the Capability Map to Identified Problems - Create a capability map view to that focus on the decisions to be made. For exmaple for investment decisions analyse performance of core capabilities that provide significant market differentiation and competitive advantage to see where investment need to be made.

Step 6: Assess Progress and Refine the Approach - Examine the work to date. Re-examine interim deliverables. Identify unforeseen issues that affected progress, and plan forward and adjust the framework based on knowledge gained.

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