By aligning in-house IT with business objectives using BTM, CIOs can build more successful outsourcing partnerships, writes CIO Update guest columnist, Faisal Hoque, CEO of Enamics.
This past year, we've heard story after story about the huge cost savings that can be realized from outsourcing IT overseas. Although the trend is on a non-stop course, with 80 percent of CIOs expected to take some IT offshore by next year, we have also begun to hear about its hidden costs, management complexities and communication challenges.
Companies that embark on an outsourcing strategy, whether it be on-shore or off, would do well to first establish a structured approach to closing the gap that often exists between business and technology -- a gap that lies at the heart of most failed initiatives.
After all, outsourcing will merely compound the difficulties most companies already experience internally.
although there are many, one such approach is business technology management (BTM). BTM offers the structure companies need to align business objectives with technology requirements, as it provides a repeatable management process for the CIO, who needs to be accountable on a near real-time basis.
It combines the cross-functional creation and reuse of an enterprise model with portfolio and program management techniques to give CIOs on-demand visibility into the costs, risks, and resources involved in initiatives.
By providing a traceable, back and forth link between the business goals, supporting processes, and technology architectures, the enterprise model ensures that IT project teams successfully develop and communicate requirements and make effective decisions about the applications and systems that will help meet their project's goals.
When working with an outsourcing partner, the use of an end-to-end enterprise model to communicate requirements helps to mitigate risk by forcing project stakeholders to collaborate and flesh out details that can be crucial to realizing projected cost savings.
Once the project has moved from the design stage to the execution stage, the model continues to act as a reference point to orient ongoing work and to help guide last-minute modifications should unforeseen challenges and opportunities arise.
Because of their highly visual nature, models are compelling communication tools, both for IT team members communicating with non-technical project stakeholders, or for team members working with remote vendors.
At the end of the project, the enterprise model helps companies retain important intellectual capital regarding their business and technology architectures, and develop and enforce technology standards.