Business Technology Management
Definition: Business Technology Management (BTM) is a management science which aims to unify business and technology business strategies with the aim of extracting the full potential value of business technology solutions.
There has long been a belief in business that increasing investment in technology will automatically result in benefits for the enterprise. However, experience has shown that existing and new technology must be implemented wisely and efficiently if the enterprise is to
see any benefit.
Unfortunately, this deeply ingrained belief has proven difficult to dispel, leading to many costly errors when management and technology
strategies are out of alignment. The science of business technology management attempts to synchronise strategies between upper level management, project teams and the technologies they utilise in an effort to further the business objectives of the enterprise.
The precepts of business technology management have been developed and refined by BTM experts working with such think tanks as the
BTM Institute and the International Institute of Business Technologies (IIBT).
To achieve the goal of synchronising IT systems with business practices, BTM seeks to improve four critical dimensions of enterprise-wide strategy:
This dimension refers to the institution of a set of robust, flexible processes, broadly defined as:
Quality of Business Practice: Doing the right things
Efficiency: Doing the right things efficiently
Effectiveness: Doing the right things well
Organisation: This refers to the establishment of appropriate organisational structures – essentially, establishing
a structure in which every member understands the scope and responsibilities of his or her role, and
understands the structure of which they are a part.
This emphasises the value that the effective, timely provision of information has in enabling
decision making, and puts into place a structure of data and metrics to allow their best use.
Technology: Tying the other three dimensions together is the idea that technology plays a vital role in all
processes. The appropriate use of technology can enable timely information sharing, improve
co-ordination between members of an organisation and makes processes easier to execute.
A capability is defined as a competency achieved as a result of combining each of the above
dimensions and creating repeatable management processes. Business Technology Management defines
17 such capabilities, grouped into four functional areas.
Governance and Organisation: These capabilities ensure that business technology decisions are effectively identified and
executed – essentially, developing an organisational structure that meets the needs of the
business, gives consideration to regulation and manages risk appropriately.
: These capabilities ensure that the enterprise understands its current IT capabilities,
what is currently available and what it is working on for the future. They also ensure that
executives select the best technology initiatives to advance the objectives of the business.
Strategy & Planning: These capabilities ensure that Information Officers make the most appropriate moves to synchronise
technology and business, both reducing complexity and planning for future developments.
Strategic Enterprise Architecture: These capabilities ensure that appropriate information exists that can describe current and future
business environments, and enable executives to make plans and implement strategies that will
simplify the business technology environment within the enterprise.
BTM Maturity Model
All of these measures and capabilities are useless without a method by which to measure their
effectiveness. With that in mind, the BTM maturity model defines five levels of maturity across
each of the dimensions outlined above (process, organisation, information and technology).
Essentially, the model grades an enterprise on the level of BTM maturity it has reached,
resulting in an objective measure of the success or failure of the implementation of best practices.
Level 1 enterprises exhibit limited evidence of business technology alignment. These enterprises
typically manage processes in a simple task-based manner.
Level 2 enterprises begin to show evidence of an attempt to assemble information to make major
decisions, but are likely hampered in that effort by poor alignment between executive and
Level 3 enterprises are ‘functional’ in BTM. Their practices neither greatly harm nor greatly
benefit the enterprise as a whole.
Level 4 enterprises have achieved full BTM implementation. Their capabilities ensure that there
is strong alignment between business and technology decision making, giving them a distinct
edge over less aligned competition.
Level 5 enterprises have achieved the ‘Holy Grail’ of BTM. They have reached the stage at which
business and technology is not only aligned but can actually identify future opportunities and
adapt in advance so that they are positioned to take advantage of them when they arise. These
enterprises are vastly more agile and adaptable than most of their competition, and as a result
are much more likely to lead the market in their industry.