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Partner Insights: How to Start a Productive Conversation about IT/Business Alignment

Oct 03, 2019 | By Wil Cleaveland

Cost Optimization IT Cost Transparency Planning, Budgeting & Forecasting

Today, we’re introducing a new category of content to our resource library: Nicus Partner Insights. Each installment will be authored by IT Finance experts from our implementation partners, then co-published and syndicated by Nicus.

The goal of Nicus Partner Insights is two-fold:

Our first Partner Insights contribution comes in the form of a whitepaper from Nan Braun, founder and CEO of Thavron Solutions – a prominent, vendor-agnostic ITFM/TBM implementation and consultancy firm.

Nan holds nearly 25 years of experience working in and with Corporate IT. Over the course of her time leading Thavron, she’s helped numerous high-performance organizations across the private and public sector build successful and mature ITFM practices – saving them countless hours and millions of dollars.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll be publishing a Thavron Whitepaper Series by Nan as a subset of Nicus Partner Insights.

Nan’s first whitepaper – How to Start a Productive Conversation About IT/Business Alignment – is summarized below, and it’s available for instant download here.

Everyone Wants Alignment, Few Know How to Achieve It

Fostering a strong connection between tech spend and business value is one of the toughest challenges facing IT organizations today. Leaders across both IT and the business can easily tell when alignment is lacking, but there’s rarely an obvious way to rectify it.

The crux of the problem is communication between IT and the business.

IT can figure out how to deliver anything the business needs, but that does little good if there’s no clarity on what those needs truly are. Conversely, the business has a firm grasp on what it needs, but it often struggles to explain those needs so IT knows how to deliver and report back.

Communication Quality Over Quantity

At first glance, the solution to this problem seems simple. If IT and the business communicate more, the problem will work itself out, right?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. The language barrier is just too big. Simply starting the conversation and hoping for the best isn’t enough.

The conversation must be guided by a clear framework. Otherwise, critical information will keep getting lost in translation, and confusion will become the norm.

A Framework to Guide the Conversation: The Technology Adoption Curve

According to Nan, one of the simplest and most effective frameworks to guide conversations on alignment is the Technology Adoption Curve – a sociological tool designed to analyze the rate at which new products permeate the market.

It works like this: when a new product or technology is introduced to the market, it will pass through five different groups of consumers before being fully adopted (assuming it’s ultimately successful). As the curve moves from left to right, additional groups of consumers begin adopting the product.

But each group has unique motivations, and supplier strategy will shift dramatically as adoption increases and new groups of consumers enter the picture.

So, what does all this mean for IT Finance?

By mapping an organization – or individual Lines of Business (LOBs) within the organization, if they’re materially different in terms of market or product – on the Technology Adoption Curve, its core needs, goals, and priorities become far easier to identify (and far easier for IT to address).

Key Metrics & Initiatives for Alignment to Value

For each point an organization may fall on the adoption curve, there’s a unique set of metrics to track and initiatives to pursue.

Nan explains them all starting on pg. 8 of the whitepaper, but here are a few quick, high-level examples:

Get Your Copy of the Whitepaper Here

The full whitepaper covers both the rationale and methodology behind this process in-depth. Inside, you’ll see Nan explain:

You can download the full whitepaper by Nan here: How to Start a Productive Conversation About IT/Business Alignment.

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