IT Modernization Needs to Be Part of Business Transformation

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Business Drivers for IT Innovation

In cost containment, after an IT organization has done the comparatively easy stuff, the question quickly becomes what to do next.

Getting business executives to care about IT issues can be a major challenge. This is why so many IT executives have such a hard time getting funding for modernizing enterprise IT systems.

But State Street Corp. CIO Chris Perretta in a recently published paper, "Evolving Role of Technology in Financial Services," says that, among other things, IT modernization projects are most successful when they are coupled with business process transformation.

Coming out of the downturn, Perretta notes that most chief financial officers are anxious to see fundamental gains in business process efficiency. Rather than tying IT modernization projects to what Perretta refers to as "silly IT metrics," the IT leadership needs to make IT modernization a component of a much larger business processing transformation initiative. Not only then is it easier to get funding for these projects, notes Perretta, the success of the effort is measured in tangible business results rather than theoretical IT metrics.

After years of economic growth where the tendency was to throw hardware at one application after another, Perretta concedes that IT organizations are now faced with some major data management and IT infrastructure challenges. But many of those issues don't necessarily resonate with business leaders, especially when it comes time to set priorities. What does resonate with business leaders is how a business process can be improved, which by the way may require the introduction of new IT constructs such as cloud computing.

What Perretta is really getting at are the politics of IT management in a business world. All too often the conversation surrounding IT takes place in isolation from a business context, where the overall message ends up falling on deaf ears.

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