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Business Technology Leader Maturity Framework

As 2009 comes to a close, a recent editorial in CIO magazine sums-up a nagging issue -- "Despite the emergence of improved IT management tools over the past decade, CIOs continue to grapple with the same IT challenges they dealt with five and even 10 years ago. Which can make a CEO wonder: when are we going to get there?"

Forrester Research believes that CIOs have typically run "the tech factory" for their firms -- responding to business needs with solutions and operations from both internal and external sources. These IT leaders have pursued operational maturity to optimize solution delivery.

Forrester says that CIOs won't ever get away from delivering on operational maturity. But as technology becomes pervasive -- more stable, standardized, and available as a business-centric service -- it's inevitable that business executives will take greater direct control over technology investment decisions.

Forrester calls this evolutionary transition the shift from Information Technology (IT) to Business Technology (BT). Let's review the key drivers of this transition once more. It's the essential "there" destination that many CEOs eagerly anticipate for their organization.

Greater Response to Business Demand
Traditional IT establishes prioritization criteria and IT governance processes. Weighed down by growing legacy maintenance, typically a third of IT spending is reserved for new projects. IT therefore creates conflict among business organizations -- who must lobby for those limited IT resources.

Broader Focus on Business Value
IT should help deliver business results, yet it's often consumed by technical issues -- re-educating staff, deciding what to re-architect, and debating whether to build or out-task. Meanwhile, new capabilities are increasingly available through managed cloud services -- and purchased directly by business groups via software-as-a-service.

Significantly Faster Pace of Change
The rate of business change continues to accelerate, forcing CIOs to be reactive -- while attempting to increase agility. The CIO's dilemma: either their business organizations will move ahead without internal IT, or, their business executives will fail to take full advantage of new technologies in time to use them effectively.

Framework for the Required Transformation
To help CIOs understand best practices, Forrester has developed a BT Leadership Maturity framework in the form of a self-assessment. This tool is designed to provide a candid benchmark of how well they are performing -- highlighting specific areas where additional work needs to be done.

Forrester concludes that CIOs who fail to move quickly will find their firm falling behind more agile competition. Those who assess and improve their organization's BT leadership maturity are responding to changing market realities -- as well as reducing the likely chaos that would result from allowing the business to move forward on its own with BT, without the CIO's close involvement.