10:32:34 am on January 22, 2010 |
IT Is from Mars, Customer Service Is from Venus
IT and business simply do not speak the same language. Collaboration between the two groups is difficult. Often perceived as ‘lack of alignment’, it results in frustration for both sides. The problem has existed for ages. However, in today’s hyper-competitive world, where agility is one of the most important differentiators, poor collaboration between IT and Business holds huge repercussions.
So much so, that in the recent 2010 State of the CIO Survey, two of the top three imperatives for CIO were identified as:
1. Aligning IT initiatives with business goals
2. Improving IT operations and systems performance
3. Cultivating a better IT partnership with line of business operations
Clearly, the world demands a better collaboration, and that means aligning the goals of IT and Business. But can IT really build the kinds of systems businesses need? Can leaders anticipate and work strategically to help the business make the best possible use of the IT departments’ resources? The software industry has not done its part to date in helping to facilitating this communication, and to answer these questions.
With advances in technology, including service-oriented architecture (SOA), one commonly proposed technical solution for improving IT-business collaboration has been visual business process modeling (BPM). BPM technology is intended to easily enable business analysts to model processes through a visual interface. But in reality, it seems, visual modeling of complex processes is a high-wire balancing act and existing tools have not been able to bridge the gap between managing back-end complexity and usability. On one end of the spectrum, modeling interfaces are easy-to-use but not robust enough to manage the level of complexity. On the other end, modeling interfaces are too difficult to use without in-depth technical training, leaving business people feeling defeated and dependent on IT to help. In both cases, the modeling tools available are incomplete, bringing the cycle of collaboration and change to a halt.
Instead, companies need a tool that provides business leaders with control over the design and implementation of service processes — one that doesn’t rely on extensive IT programming. This means a simplistic user interface with powerful back-end programming capabilities. Business leaders must also be able to use this tool to create connections among legacy systems so that, if necessary, their new and updated processes will automatically leverage existing data. Putting this level of technical capability into the hands of business leaders takes pressure off IT as well as mid-level managers, whose front-line expertise is often used as a substitute for access to legacy data. Such technology truly allows business and IT to collaborate on building and rolling out efficient business processes with the agility necessary to keep up with real-time market demands. It enables them to communicate effectively.