Using innovation incentives to align IT with business

Innovation in information technology should be written into contracts which should also include incentives to align IT strategy with business, Gartner research director, Steve Bittinger said yesterday.

Alignment, Bittinger said, needs to be linked to architecture and governance for benefits to be realized and to ensure IT projects are on time and under budget.

He said enterprise architecture was unheard of a decade ago but today is an integral part of business use to define strategy.

"More mature organizations have learnt how to integrate business and IT with a clearly defined enterprise architecture roadmap," Bittinger told attendees at the Telelogic user conference in Sydney.

He referred to Gartner research entitled, The Users' View of Why IT Projects Fail, which found up to 46 percent of the systems delivered did not meet requirements while 37 percent met requirements but were delivered late.

"Strategy is key to competitive differentiation and no matter how good your organization is at the process level, strategy will not give you differentiation unless it involves good governance and mechanisms for executing against a roadmap," he said adding that organizations were still fairly immature when it came to delivering projects with real business benefits.

"Different parts of the business should be linked, like IT portfolio management and IT enterprise architecture."

Bittenger said that in such an environment an IT department could present a coherent plan to business on how an application portfolio will evolve over time.

"I know of one organization that has developed an application planning cycle that extended as far as 2015," he said.

Westpac's practice leader for project management, Andrew Gorvin-White, said the bank had just implemented a roadmap that drives the future use of toolsets and applications.

The project, known as the Towards One Methodology, its goal is to capture intellectual property (IP) and drive IT innovation within Westpac's IT business unit, Gorvin said.

"We have in excess of 200 projects across Westpac and we want to capture all requirements and design artifacts so they can be re-used; we are trying to be more innovative in capturing artifacts in a data set with a series of naming conventions and standards," Gorvin said.

"We are targeting a 60 percent (internal) take up by September next year, then 100 percent take up with the TOM project. By that time we want to map toolsets and templates and some of the applications we currently use today."

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