This post on an Intel blog caught my eye:
A core component of a business value program is the concept of a using a common language of value that is defined by the customer, not IT. Business value dials (e.g., days of inventory, employee productivity, system end-of-life) represent the common language for identifying the value IT solutions deliver. To define business value dials, you need to know what is seen as valuable through the eyes of your end-users, your customer, and your company. For example, employees responsible for product inventory won’t think of IT solutions in terms of server uptime, database optimization, etc. They want to know specifically how the IT solution is going to allow them to better manage inventory and to do their job better.
Whether you call them dials, dashboards, reports, or scorecards, there's an increasing need for technology and business to erase the lexicographical lines that separate them in the enterprise. You'd have to search hard indeed to find a business process that isn't expressed in code somewhere, and enterprise technology isn't created simply for technology's sake. So why do business and IT have such a difficult time communicating?
My guess is that, in general, the functions have evolved faster than the reporting tools have. In other words, enterprise IT, as it's gotten more embedded, has become more business-savvy, and the business has gotten more digitally-aware, but the basic tools we use for communication, reports, analytics, metrics, haven't evolved in the same way. What we report is often dicated by what we can collect most easily, and that often means relying on the analytics and reporting tools built into the systems sold by enterprise IT vendors. Those tools are often limited in scope to the specific product sold by that vendor, or to the vendor's vision of enterprise architecture. When we try to implement reporting tools to cross vendor boundaries, we see difficult integration and information discovery issues. The desire to develop a complete picture that's as relevant to the business as it is to IT is clearly there, but it's thwarted by the complex, fragmented nature of the enterprise IT landscape.
Stepping back for a second, that means that even if the CIO and other top IT leaders have a vision for communicating with the business, as you get deeper into the technology organization, middle-managers, constricted by the tools they use, lapse back into an inward-looking, technology-driven vocabulary.
Since technology is Intel's business, perhaps their issues here will be easier to untangle, but it's telling that, even at Intel, the problem remains.
Tags: Intel, business, enterprise IT, value