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.

Business Technology ManagementUnfortunately, 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).

BTM Dimensions

To achieve the goal of synchronising IT systems with business practices, BTM seeks to improve four critical dimensions of enterprise-wide strategy:

Process: 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.

Information: This emphasises the value that the effective, timely provision of information has in enabling effective 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.

BTM Capabilities

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.

Managing Technology Investments : 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 technology management.

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.