Close the gap between business strategy and IT systems

SAARBRUCKEN, GERMANY – Aligning business strategy with the underlying operational systems that support it can be tricky if an organization doesn’t even know what comprises its IT portfolio to begin with, said Konstantin Ivanov, global architecture solutions manager with Germany-based IDS Scheer AG.

Senior management is ever-more acutely tuned to cost management during this economic downturn, therefore IT transparency is crucial, said Ivanov.

Some centralized global companies might be aware of what systems and how many of them are running in the corporate office, but have no idea as to regional statistics, said Ivanov.

“If you have the right information, you can make the right decision in the right time,” said Ivanov, who spoke at IDS Scheer’s ARIS UserDay 09 in this city.

“If you have the right information, you can make the right decision in the right time,” said Konstanin Ivanov.

Complicating the situation is that IT planning is not solely the domain of the strategy team. Ivanov said groups like the business team (business strategist, process owners), architecture team (business analyst, IT architect), IT team (chief information officer, systems administrator) and operational support team are also involved.

Some of these group members may not necessarily require access to the nuances of an organization’s strategy, but they should at least be aware of changes made to the IT portfolio, said Ivanov.

Ultimately, the goal is to close the gap between a business model and the operational business systems that support it, said Ivanov.

He cites an equation best applied when assessing the IT landscape: The effect on the organization of an application divided by the cost of that application determines the overall business efficiency.

“If you get a good effect out of an application, but it costs us a lot, the efficiency is not fine,” said Ivanov.

But even if we were to emerge from this economic downturn and IT budgets get reinstated, Ivanov was quick to point out that the equation suggests IT procurement should still be conservative.
An IDS Scheer customer, German health insurance company AOK Plus, spoke earlier that day about an implementation of ARIS Business Optimizer to assess business process efficiency by measuring how long employees spent on particular tasks.

Volker Graumann, organizational analyst with AOK Plus, said the previous system would take a long time to produce lengthy reports that then required tedious sorting and analysis.

“That’s much manual work,” said Graumann. “So we needed to simplify and optimize.”

Employees can now record their time on different tasks via a user interface with a stop-watch-type functionality and ability to note explanations of irregularities in time.

AOK Plus can do analysis on the time measurements to assess how processes are affected given applied changes.

Graumann said the company also now has the ability to determine how many employees are actually required for particular tasks.

ARIS UserDay 09 ended Wednesday.

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