A Quality Advisor White Paper by Richard E. Biehl.
Copyright 1995-1998, Data-Oriented Quality Solutions. All rights reserved.
Generic Strategic Profile for
This Generic Strategic Profile for Information Technology is a tool to be used to support expanded strategic thinking throughout the I/S organization. It contains a description of the major core competencies that I/S must master to be a world-class information technology organization in the future. This white paper is of value to the extent that it triggers thought and discussion throughout the organization. Its benefits will most likely be greatest to those who disagree, or would challenge, the many descriptive statements included throughout.
This Strategic Profile is built around the five core competencies that comprise the strategic critical success factors for I/S. Notably, none of the core competencies involves the building, installation, or operation of any specific information system or information technology. The actual business applications - whether purchased or built - are a by-product of the continuous improvement and practice of these five core competencies:
Managing I/S Portfolio
The information services portfolio is the aggregate collection of information technology services offered to customers within and beyond the company. Application systems and hardware technology are means to delivering these services. The ability to deliver a state-of-the-art portfolio, that continuously meets or exceeds the requirements of the business, is the primary core competency of I/S. Regardless of where business systems come from, whether through internal development, purchase acquisition, or end-user self-support, the portfolio needs to be managed as an aggregate product set within the business.
Managing Processes & Projects
I/S achieves its desired ends through the execution of project activity against a sound and ever-improving process model. A core competency of I/S is to be able to put together the human and technical resources needed, along with a sound and effective process management capability, to accomplish work against the information services portfolio. This ability is independent of what technologies are used, where human resources are acquired, or what particular user application is being worked on.
Managing Customer Relationships
The effectiveness of the I/S portfolio can only be assessed by the customer. The ability to work with the customer - to understand, communicate, meet, and exceed their requirements - is a critical competency of I/S. The customer must be the focus of all improvement activity against the portfolio. Technical elegance is not the goal. Meeting all reasonable user expectations is the goal, and the ability to think and act in these terms is one of I/Sís critical success factors.
Managing Human Resources
The ability to accomplish any of the above is dependent on I/Sís ability to gain access to the best human resources available. Through effective hiring models, and significant partnership relationships with a few specialized vendors, I/S needs to be able to quickly and effectively empower and support dynamic teams with flexible skill sets.
Managing IT Research & Development
While technical elegance is not a goal, effective use of technology in support of the business is a goal. A critical success factor for I/S is to be able to proactively anticipate changes to technology that will have an impact on the I/S portfolio, the customer, and I/S human resources, in order to effectively plan and facilitate migration to maturing technologies. It is critical that I/S not have to react to late-breaking technological trends and fads, but that it can plan effective migration strategies in support of extended or deeper business need.
Market Information Services
Maintain Staff Skill Base
Process Customer Communications
Review Application Portfolio
Develop New Application Components
Acquire New Application Components
Implement New Application Components
Schedule Service Levels
Provide Operating Services
Monitor Service Levels
Revise Existing Application Components
Acquire Revised Application Components
Implement Revised Application Components
Customize Service Offerings
Participate in Company Planning
Revise Processes & Materials
The purpose of the Generic Strategic Profile for Information Technology is to begin at a very high level, the I/S Mission Statement, and develop a framework of what needs to be in place to support that mission statement. The starting point of any business is its enterprise mission statement. Everything the company does should support that statement.
To support the mission statement, each functional group within the company should have their own, more focused mission statement. In support of each functional areasí mission statement, each functional area has a set of core competencies that in turn support their mission statement.
The most visible core competency that gets the majority of the attention is Managing the Information Systems Portfolio. This core competency drives why the organization exists. Often forgotten are the remaining four core competencies that act as the building blocks for achieving organizational goals and supporting the I/S portfolio.