Information Technology is a core aspect of every traditional business operation. Over the past 10-20 years it has become apparent that a business cannot and should not operate without adequate Information Technology resources. However, a lot of organizations still look at IT as a back office support function. There are several techniques or frameworks (e.g., COBIT®, ITIL®, COSO, Six Sigma®, etc…) that help an IT department reposition itself to be a key element within the essential (if not the most essential) functions of the business, including the activities of defining, supporting, enabling, and driving business change. Efficient and effective business change and transformation is vital for any business in today’s economy. Manwani successfully outlines a comprehensive set of critical points, values, and techniques that drive and support ‘IT-enabled business change.’
IT-enabled Business Change is a very handy resource describing the different perspectives of an IT Service Management professional’s view of a business change. While often the views are very similar, the book addresses elements that are not directly described (or at least not in much detail) or supported by, for example, ITIL best practices. I have found the ideas for managing cultural change, addressing stakeholders properly, providing appropriate benefit information, and understanding organizational structure issues to be very informative and applicable to my future projects. It’s important to remember (and Manwani makes this a fundamental point) that it is the business initiative that IT drives or enables and not an IT initiative that the business supports. The real world examples and case studies (from medium or large organizations based on finances, organizational structure and customer impact) highlight the importance of IT being seen as a core competency to enable the organization to meet goals, manage risks and ensure overall project success. The book has comprehensively described a set of tools (e.g., Agile, MOST, TOGAF, SWOT, etc…) collected from several business and quality, project or service management practices to show in plain, easy to understand, non-IT specific language how to accomplish your goals driving IT and business change.
However, the recommendations or ideas, while useful in theory and in some aspects might sound prescriptive (e.g., suggestions for roles and responsibilities, benefit calculations, etc…), can be adopted by any organization for large scale business initiatives. Manwani’s business change lifecycle should be familiar to the IT reader, but it approaches ITs’ role in business change from a higher level. The second step in this lifecycle, Business Improvement, coupled with more formal or larger scope considerations, such as program management, performance management, incentives or organizational design elements, is probably more appropriate for senior IT leadership or consulting companies involved in a business transformation versus a professional in an enterprise organization.
Overall IT-enabled Business Change provides very practical guidance in how to be in the ‘driver’s seat’ rather than reactively addressing the ‘fallout’ of a business change. The book should be applicable to anyone in Information Technology or in a Business function working with IT. It successfully removes the back office view of IT and makes it a core part of an enterprise. It addresses an important role of an IT Leader (CIO) who should not only understand IT, but also should understand the business and its customers becoming the effective dynamic supporting the use of the most appropriate IT technologies (beyond software and hardware) to drive change.
Lastly, this was great reading for anyone in an IT leader role or for those who might be struggling with getting the necessary support for your IT organization or project in an enterprise. Recommended!