IT That Matters – A Guide to Maximizing the Strategic Value of IT

Review by itSMF USA member, Judy Sanker.

IT That Matters provides a practical approach for how the business can realize value by leveraging IT as a strategic asset of the organization. Simply said, “IT matters. IT is part of the solution or IT is part of the problem.” The IT maturity model is explained in a way that enables readers to really understand why IT matters; allowing one to use the examples to understand:

1) where their own organizations are on the maturity scale,

2) the behaviors required for improvement and,

3) where they need for their organization to be in 3-5 years.

The eight “must haves” to increase maturity to “Integrated and Optimized” are very relevant. Ravenelle uses facts, excellent examples, references to other authors/case studies and humor effectively. He has high regard for the IT Service Management Professional and the itSMF organization, has ITSM practitioner expertise in a distinguished educational institution and holds IT accountable for delivering services with excellence.

Key concepts are:

  • IT Service Provider must effectively and efficiently deliver services that can be continually scaled to deliver increased value to the business. Fixing basic infrastructure problems is foundational to process maturity where services are delivering value. Communication is key driver in perceptions of credibility and value associated with IT. If your internal organization cannot deliver at the right price and with high quality, then an IT Service Provider may be used to fill the gaps. 
  • IT should be leveraged as a Strategic Differentiator to the business. Organizations start with “spaghetti-bound” systems that have evolved to service platforms, and spend 70% of their budget on operations and maintenance. ITIL®’s 4 Ps (People, Process, Products and Partners) are the cornerstones of strategic IT. Results of a study by Harvard Business School identified mastery and consistent application of the 4 Ps as predictive corporate performance. Long-term plan linked to corporate strategy, simplified, unified corporate technology platform, and highly functional, performance oriented IT organization are critical to organization’s success. Corporations that consistently excel at strategy, execution, culture and structure AND talent, innovation, leadership or mergers/partnerships are more likely to succeed.
  • The Journey may include stages such as localization, standardization, optimization and reuse of business process. About 2% of organizations achieve the last stage where they receive agility from business modules. Key considerations are to plan your ‘road trip’, know your starting point, define your destination, prepare your leadership team, communicate and effectively manage organization’s resistance. You must determine the timeline by balancing vision with milestones and be realistic. At the beginning, you must request sufficient budget to fund your program and align resource and technology requirements. Then the most important step is to execute or “Put it all together” as outlined below, and then to enjoy the results.
  1. Fix the foundation
  2. Build governance structure and leadership team
  3. Define vision and strategy
  4. Assemble and prepare the leadership team
  5. Begin and process the work
  6. Communicate!
  7. Monitor and manage process
  8. Rinse and repeat – plan continuous service improvement projects

When IT becomes a highly-functional organization, it provides strategic value, is viewed as strategic partner with the business, influences decisions and facilitates successful business outcomes. Then IT Does Matter to the organization.

The title of this book is appropriate because IT is fundamental to the way businesses operate and generate revenue. IT provides the systems that run businesses (either internally with employees and functions, but also externally with customers who purchase products). These systems have now matured into Services that must deliver to the business (utility) AND whenever they need to use them (warranty). Practical advice given in this book explains these concepts in terms that are easy to understand.

Executives can use this guide to help make decisions to maximize the strategic value of their IT investment. ITSM leaders can use this information as a basis for the programs that are necessary to improve value. ITSM practitioners can use this book to gain insight into service improvement project initiatives to make a difference to the business value they MUST deliver.

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