By Serge Thorn, Architecting the Enterprise
Business Technology Management (BTM) is not a methodology but I would say a concept, or eventually the aggregation of several guidelines and techniques. It is also described as a management science which aims to unify business and technology business strategies with the aim of extracting the full potential value of business technology solutions. In a nutshell, it allows you to unify business and technology decision making. Sound familiar?
Pragmatically it corresponds to a group of various services intended to help businesses communities. BTM can include different methods such as IT planning, Project and Portfolio management (e.g. PMI, Prince 2), Balance Scorecards, Business support, Database services, disaster recovery, network management, security, document service, and frameworks. BTM delivers a set of guiding principles known as capabilities and defines the expected characteristics of an organization according to five levels of a maturity mode like CMMi. While these methods/methodologies have recognized strengths, they represent a piecemeal approach. There is a need to integrate these capabilities to achieve that strategic business technology alignment because most of these methods do not really focus on the goals and objectives of an enterprise. Balance Scorecard is a performance measurement methodology, Six Sigma or Lean are quality improvement methodologies mostly used in manufacturing, and so on…
BTM may sound like an evolved IT governance concept, where business and IT are in tune in an effort to support and realise the enterprise strategy. But does it really differ from an Enterprise Architecture which sometimes may also be considered as being the glue between various methods/methodologies?
Some questions may quickly arise…Is BTM just “better IT Governance” or simply a different way of naming an Enterprise Architecture? And does TOGAF® support BTM? BTM like Enterprise Architecture aligns activities which remain pure business and some pure technology, but most activities intertwine business and technology such that they become indistinguishable. It also guides and supports enterprises to these various states.
The precepts of Business Technology Management have been developed and refined by BTM experts working with such think tanks as the BTM Institute and the International Institute of Business Technologies (IIBT).
Business Technology Management addresses four critical dimensions of enterprise-wide strategy.
This first dimension refers to the institution of a set of robust, flexible and repeatable processes, broadly defined as:
• General quality of Business Practice: Doing the right things
• Efficiency: Doing things efficiently, quickly with little redundancy
• Effectiveness: Doing things well
The TOGAF® 9 ADM is an example of such processes with its associated governance framework.
Management processes are more likely to succeed when it refers to the establishment of appropriate organisational structures, establishing a structure in which every member understands the scope and responsibilities of his or her role, and decision rights. Something perfectly addressed during the Phases Preliminary and A of TOGAF®.
Organizational structures may include
• Participative bodies involving senior level business and technology participants on a part-time but routine basis (e.g. Business Technology Investment Board). TOGAF® suggests the creation of an architecture board who participate with the key business stakeholders.
• Centralized bodies requiring specialized dedicated technology staff (e.g. PMO).
• Need-based bodies involving rotational assignments dealing with particular efforts (e.g. PMO, Project Management teams).
Both last bodies would be identified during Phase F: Migration Planning and Phase G: Implementation Governance
Valid, effective, timely provision of information is a prerequisite in effective decision making. Information must be delivered in a way that is comprehensible to non specialists as well. Data and metrics must be available. This would be addressed by the Communication Plan defined in the TOGAF® Architecture Vision’s phase taking into account the stakeholders needs, the communication mechanisms and timetable. Measurements and metrics may be included for strategic and operational objectives.
Effective technology can help connect the other three dimensions. The idea is that technology plays a vital role in all processes and can enable timely information sharing, improve co-ordination between members of an organisation and makes processes easier to execute. This covers automation of tasks, reporting, analytics and integration between management systems. In Enterprise Architecture, this would be covered by the interoperability requirements identified by the business and the identification of appropriate solutions in the TOGAF® Phases E and F, such as BPM suites and BI products.
Business Technology Management (BTM) Capabilities
A BTM capability is defined as a competency achieved by combining each of the above dimensions and creating repeatable management processes that are executed with the appropriate organizational structures, using an effective information architecture.
Business Technology Management defines 17 of these specific capabilities, each grouped into one of four functional areas.
Governance and Organisation: These capabilities are focused on the enterprise’s CIO and business executives concerned with enterprise wide governance of business technology. It ensures that business technology decisions are effectively identified and executed, meet the needs of the business, manages the risk and give proper consideration to regulatory, legal and industry requirements. TOGAF® addresses all of this in the Preliminary Phase and the Architecture Vision, where an enterprise architecture governance framework is created.
Managing Technology Investments: This sits with PMO and business executives who are concerned with the selection and execution of the right business technologies initiatives and fulfil their objectives. The enterprise understands its current IT capabilities, what is currently available and what it is working on for the future. This is equally addressed during the Phase F: Migration Planning.
Strategy & Planning: These capabilities ensure that the CIO and business executives make the most appropriate moves to synchronise technology and business, both reducing complexity and planning for future developments. Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF 9 undoubtedly support these capabilities; you may refer to my previous article How Strategic Planning relates to Enterprise Architecture.
Strategic Enterprise Architecture: This capability must be developed to support this functional area, ensure that appropriate information and documentation exists that can describe current and future business technology environment within the enterprise. As we observed, TOGAF® as an Enterprise Architecture framework includes most of the capabilities mentioned above!
The BTM Maturity Model
A maturity model describes how well an enterprise performs a particular set of activities. These capabilities are useless without a method by which to measure their effectiveness. The BTM Maturity model is aligned with the de-facto standard from CMMi and use the five levels of maturity of all the four dimensions. Here again the Architecture Capability Maturity Model from TOGAF® 9 may be used to evaluate these capacities. We would identify the area most in need for improvement.
Level 1: enterprises execute some strategic business technology management processes in ad-hoc way. These enterprises typically manage processes in a simple task-based manner.
Level 2: enterprises attempt to assemble information for major decisions, and refer to IT on decisions for technology implications.
Level 3: enterprises are ‘functional’ in BTM.
Level 4: enterprises have achieved full BTM implementation. Their capabilities ensure that there is strong alignment between business and technology decision making.
Level 5: enterprises have achieved the ‘Holy Grail’ of BTM. They are good enough to know when to change the rules to maintain strategic advantages over competitors.
To implement its business strategy, the enterprise requires particular operational capabilities as described above and clearly it appears that Business Technology Management can be supported by Enterprise Architecture. TOGAF® 9 is in reality addressing all of these 17 BTM capabilities grouped in functional areas, identified by the four dimensions and work as a management framework to clarify required enterprise business needs. Companies having implemented BTM should consider using TOGAF® 9 as the way of rightfully pursuing alignment of technology with the business and support a Business-Agile enterprise.
This article has previously appeared in Serge Thorn’s personal blog and appears here with his permission.
Serge Thorn is CIO of Architecting the Enterprise. He has worked in the IT Industry for over 25 years, in a variety of roles, which include; Development and Systems Design, Project Management, Business Analysis, IT Operations, IT Management, IT Strategy, Research and Innovation, IT Governance, Architecture and Service Management (ITIL). He has more than 20 years of experience in Banking and Finance and 5 years of experience in the Pharmaceuticals industry. Among various roles, he has been responsible for the Architecture team in an international bank, where he gained wide experience in the deployment and management of information systems in Private Banking, Wealth Management, and also in IT architecture domains such as the Internet, dealing rooms, inter-banking networks, and Middle and Back-office. He then took charge of IT Research and Innovation (a function which consisted of motivating, encouraging creativity, and innovation in the IT Units), with a mission to help to deploy a TOGAF based Enterprise Architecture, taking into account the company IT Governance Framework. He also chaired the Enterprise Architecture Governance worldwide program, integrating the IT Innovation initiative in order to identify new business capabilities that were creating and sustaining competitive advantage for his organization. Serge has been a regular speaker at various conferences, including those by The Open Group. His topics have included, “IT Service Management and Enterprise Architecture”, “IT Governance”, “SOA and Service Management”, and “Innovation”. Serge has also written several articles and whitepapers for different magazines (Pharma Asia, Open Source Magazine). He is the Chairman of the itSMF (IT Service Management forum) Swiss chapter and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.