Data Arteries – Enabling Business Strategy Through Information Technology

Regardless of size and industry, every enterprise is dependent upon information technology, and must have a strategy for how to employ it, especially as the internet becomes more pervasive. Information technology strategy is an enabler of business strategy. Not only must an enterprise manage relationships with its constituencies, but it must be able to connect with them electronically through data arteries – information supply, value, and demand chains. The information supply and demand chains are external; the information value chains are internal.

An information technology strategy is a special case functional strategy because every function in the enterprise requires electronic information delivery capabilities, and many require electronic process control also. In very large enterprises, strategy may be formulated at both the enterprise and organizational unit levels.

As websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Plaxo, and Twitter become more pervasive in business, linkages between application systems and databases and social networking websites will be more important to enable constituencies to communicate both collaboratively and cooperatively. Just as email has become a primary method of communication between enterprises and their constituencies, so will social networking sites especially for advertising and ecommerce.

Business intelligence information can be used to identify opportunities for competitive advantage. However, information technology itself can be an enabler of competitive advantage, especially when there are opportunities to digitize products or deliver information products electronically. In such cases, business strategy is inseparable from information technology strategy.

Information technology comprises the analytical and operational application systems, databases, and technical infrastructure (hardware and networks) of an enterprise. Not all computer technologies are information based. Computer technology is used for process control applications in special purpose equipment. However, connectivity is essential as applications become more integrated. As digital construction and manufacturing practices develop through such technologies as computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM), the processes, the control of processes, and the products and/or services delivered by processes all rely upon information technology for connectivity.

For example, in the manufacturing industry, not only can design and manufacturing work be conducted through integrated CAD/CAM processes with electronic linkages to carriers, such as FedEx and UPS, but the entire project and process management activities can be monitored electronically from ideation to product delivery.

Through technologies such as electronic data interchange and electronic funds transfer, data and both digital and information products flow through information supply and demand chains in parallel to material supply and product and/or service demand chains. Within the enterprise, data flows through information value chains from supply chains and to demand chains.

Developing an information technology strategy document is essential for describing the requirements and for educating users because:

The impact is enterprise or organizational unit wide and other elements of strategy cannot be implemented without it
Administrative activities, such as legal, finance, and human resources, and operational activities, such as research and development, procurement, manufacturing or equivalent, distribution, marketing, sales, and service depend on information technology – analytical and operational systems support both administrative and operational functions
The time frames, expenditures, risks, and magnitude of efforts are usually larger and more complicated than other initiatives and must be clearly understood; information technology projects have a tendency to go out of control and under deliver – therefore, contingency plans are always necessary
The subject matter can be complicated if not well explained

Information technology strategy is usually packaged as a separate but related document to the strategic plan. It is deployed and executed through specific programs and projects that develop new or enhance or maintain existing application systems, databases, and technical infrastructure.

Large information technology development projects are usually cross-functional, and may be part of a broader initiative sponsored by multiple functions collectively. Broader initiatives that have information technology components include:

Market research and development
Product research and development
Infrastructure research and development for processes and information delivery

For example – for the development of a:

Digital manufacturing system integrating both research and development and sales and production activities (sponsors: Manufacturing and Sales functions – impact is on Research and Development, Procurement, Manufacturing, Distribution, Sales, and Service functions)
Financial, managerial, and regulatory accounting and reporting system (sponsor: Finance function – impact is enterprise wide)
Human resource management system (sponsor: Human Resources function – impact is enterprise wide)
Sales tracking system (sponsor: Sales function – impact is on all salespeople enterprise wide)

Some projects can be solely for the Information Technology function, in which case it is a customer of itself.

Steering committees should be established for major programs and projects representing the various impacted functions in order to resolve cross-functional barriers. Major programs should come under the review of a planning and policy committee at the enterprise level.

Information technology strategy formulation is a project in its own right at the enterprise or organizational unit level. Very large projects are grouped as a program of inter-related components under a program manager. Projects can be stand alone also. A single project can deliver one or more application systems and related databases and technical infrastructure, or multiple projects may be required depending upon complexity.

For example, when launching a new product, it may be necessary to conduct marketing, product, and infrastructure development projects that include the delivery of new systems, and upgrades to existing systems. However, if an addition to the product line is launched at a later time, a new project or set of projects may be required to enhance or maintain the current systems, or even develop new ones.

The work breakdown structure for downstream development, enhancement, and maintenance projects decomposes into planning, analysis, design, construction, implementation, and performance measurement phases. The performance measurement phase can be conducted in parallel with the other phases, and each must end with a performance review. A feedback loop to future planning activities must be established so that lessons learned from the past can be reflected in future initiatives.

Meeting the cost and schedule requirements is always a major consideration. Hence, “meeting the date” is a frequent requirement for project success. However, after implementation, the scope of what was delivered and its quality is usually remembered more than when. In anticipation of the need to make changes after implementation, an adaption project may be necessary to tune, standardize, and integrate the deliverables.

The planning phase is conducted at the enterprise, organizational unit, or program levels for one or more projects depending upon size and complexity. However, each application system and related databases and technical infrastructure is delivered through a project with distinct analysis, design, construction, and implementation phases. Each phase always begins with a detailed planning activity to ensure that resources are allocated appropriately. The work breakdown structure does not preclude the use of iterative methodologies within each phase for rapid application development and prototyping. Development, enhancement, and maintenance of websites can be very rapid, and heavily interactive with user involvement, when the appropriate tools are used.

Key questions and deliverables by information technology strategy project and downstream phases include:

Strategy project (enterprise and organizational unit levels):

Key questions:

How does information technology enable business strategy?
What are the investment priorities?

Deliverables include:

Information technology architecture (applications, data and databases, and technical infrastructure)
High level project phasing and plans

Planning phase (enterprise, organizational unit, and program levels):

Key questions:

What are the administrative functions’ systems and information needs?
What are the operational functions’ systems and information needs?
What are the priorities for the candidate analytical systems?
What are the priorities for the candidate operational systems?

Deliverables include:

Process models
Function models
Data models
Information models
Economic evaluation
Scope of analysis projects and schedules

Analysis phase (project level):

Key questions:

How do processes, functions, and systems fit together?
How do systems processes and functions relate to enterprise processes and functions?
How do systems processes and functions and enterprise processes and functions fit together?

Deliverables include:

Functional requirements
Economic evaluation
Scope of design projects and schedules

Design phase (project level):

Key questions (by system):

What are the system’s functional requirements?
What are the system’s technical requirements?
What is the total cost of ownership and benefits (tangible and intangible)?

Deliverables include (by system):

Application system specifications
Data and database specifications
Technical infrastructure specifications
Scope of construction project and schedule
Total cost of ownership/benefit analysis

Construction phase (project level):

Key questions (by system):

Is the system being constructed according to design?
If not, what change orders are required, and why?

Deliverables include (by system):

Tested application system and interfaces, databases, and technical infrastructure
Trained users

Implementation phase (project level):

Key questions (by system):

What are the costs and schedule relative to plan?
What is the scope relative to plan?
What is the quality relative to plan
When will the benefits be realized relative to plan?
What adjustments for tuning, standardization, and integration are required relative to plan?
What are the current anticipated enhancement requests?
What are the current anticipated maintenance requests?
What are the lessons learned for the future?

Deliverables include (by system):

Working application system and interfaces, databases, and technical infrastructure
List of enhancement requests
List of maintenance requests
Performance measurement report

As enterprises become more dependent upon the internet for connectivity with constituencies, it is essential to develop, enhance, and maintain the information technology strategy on an ongoing basis. The strategy must emphasize connectivity through the data arteries as digital and information products become more pervasive.

The Importance of Information Technology Training from a Management Perspective

Information technology training for IT managers and systems analysts may seem superfluous – these folks are usually well-learned in their areas of expertise. But, do they understand how a company’s technology fits into the bigger picture from a business perspective? That’s where management training becomes important. Every manager who plays a role in researching, selecting or implementing enterprise technology needs to have a firm grasp on the basics of emerging technologies, as well as how they serve a larger business purpose, to ensure that technology is being used to the company’s best strategic advantage.

Stay Current on Revolutionary, Emerging Technology Applications

A program of continual information technology training is crucial to the success of any IT team. Technology is constantly evolving, and it seems that there is a new application released every day that is meant to simplify doing business. This can be overwhelming if you do not stay current on the high-level trends of technology and their corresponding impact on business. With the Web 2.0 revolution in full swing, management training is a useful tool for managers to become familiar with the online trends such as blogs, wikis, podcasts and RSS feeds, as well as how the trends are going to change the ways we view the Internet and communicate with each other. It is estimated that these technologies will have significant business impact in the coming years, and companies everywhere have to consider directly how it affects their business strategies.

Information technology training can help managers determine the impact of new technologies and how to adapt their business processes. Trying to envision how Web 2.0 changes traditional business models is difficult when you have no knowledge of how these new technical applications are being used from a business perspective. First and foremost, managers must take it upon themselves to become proactive by keeping abreast of emerging trends and understanding them not only from a technical standpoint, but evaluating them from a higher-level, strategic standpoint. Management training courses on technology focus specifically on the ways that emerging technologies affect businesses on a high level. This is the type of knowledge needed to make conscious and informed decisions on what aspects of new technologies will affect your organization in the next few years and transition your thoughts into strategic action and implementation.

Collaboration and information sharing, within and outside of enterprises, are two areas that have made huge strides that management training can help your organization harness to improve business strategies. The advent of user-created content sharing has transformed the way that enterprises communicate. Enterprise-class blogs and wikis boost productivity and innovation by enabling ad hoc teams to participate in complex, collaborative problem solving, and then make the results available to the rest of the organization with ease. Information technology training gives managers the high-level information about these technologies that they need to bring them effectively into your organization.

Large companies will often struggle the most with adopting new business strategies based on emerging technologies due to organizational inertia and the lag that comes from changing any integrated system. Not only do the right people need to be convinced of the value of a new application, but the proper infrastructure often needs to be developed or tweaked to implement the technology. This is where the importance of management information technology training to understand the potential impact of technology from a business perspective comes into play.

Management Training for Appropriate Technology Selection and Recommendation

Management training courses typically deal with logistics and personnel management but fail to guide managers when it comes to making decisions about technology. As a manager in today’s world, what really matters isn’t just your ability to lead and maintain technology infrastructure – it’s your ability to deliver positive business outcomes. Cutting IT costs and managing infrastructure are only part of the equation. Technology must also reduce business risk and generate new opportunities and growth. Information technology training can help managers transition their views of technology as an isolated island off the coast of a business and look at it as one working part of the whole machine that is the organization.

Finding a cool application that has all the shiny bells and whistles you dreamed of and recommending implementation based on the technology’s sheer innovation is no longer enough to make a good business case. Before presenting a recommendation, you must understand every step involved with the successful implementation of the technology. A thorough study will need to be conducted to determine what departments, processes and functions will need to be modified in order to benefit from the new technology. Management training courses focusing on information technology gives managers the tools they need to make that determination.

If you are going to make an impact on the decision makers of a business, you have to get on their level. When it comes down to making a decision, for many business people it is all about the numbers. That is why it is essential to participate in information technology training courses that help you perform your due diligence and gather the data you need to compile hard numbers around your recommendation. What is the true return on investment that the company can expect to achieve by implementing the technology? It is much easier to convince an associate of the merits of your idea if you can show a real increase in profit based on proven research instead of attempting to sway them based on opinion only.


Technology is rapidly changing the way that businesses communicate and function every day. It is important for managers to take a proactive role in understanding emerging technology trends and how they may affect a company’s business model by investing in an ongoing program of information technology training for all levels of staff. Management training in particular is essential for ensuring the right technologies are pursued to ensure business success. Viewing technology as a direct influencer on the business as a whole ensures consistent alignment of goals throughout the enterprise

How Much Is “Information Technology Debt” Hurting Your Bottom-Line?

Information Technology (IT) debt is basically the cost of maintenance needed to bring all applications up to date.

Shockingly, global “Information Technology (IT) debt” will reach $500 billion this year and could rise to $1 trillion by 2015!

But why should you take IT debt seriously and begin to take steps to eliminate this issue from your business?

According to Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company…

It will cost businesses world-wide 500 billion dollars to “clear the backlog of maintenance” and reach a fully supported current technology environment.

Gartner summarizes the problem best:

“The IT management team is simply never aware of the time scale of the problem.This problem, hidden from sight, is getting bigger every year and more difficult to deal with every year.”

The true danger is that systems get out of date which leads to all kinds of costly software and hardware inefficiencies.

Your tech support provider can most likely do a better job at staying current with your computer and network environment.

Have them start today by documenting the following:

The number of applications in use
The number purchased
The number failed
The current and projected costs of both operating and improving their reliability

Are you using this powerful formula to control your technology?

There’s a powerful formula I’ll share with you in a moment that will help you adopt new technology faster in your business.

In business, technology encompasses Information Technology (IT), Phone Systems and Web Development.

These three layers of technology form the backbone of your business’s technology environment. Why is technology adoption so important?

Without new technology adoption it’s impossible for businesses to be competitive in this economy. A major role of technology is to help businesses scale, design systems, and automate processes.

Studies recently have shown that adopting technology keeps businesses leaner because entrepreneurs can do more with less.

There’s evidence that new business start-ups are doing so with nearly half as many workers as they did a decade ago.

For example, Wall Street Journal’s Angus Loten reported that today’s start-ups are now being launched with an average of 4.9 employees.

Down from 7.5 in the 1990s, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City Research group.

In other words, technology allows businesses to expand quickly with less.

Researchers at Brandeirs University found that technology driven service businesses added jobs at a rate of 5.1% from 2001 to 2009; while employment overall dwindled by.5%.

These businesses save money, expand, and create jobs by adopting new technologies.

Are you adopting new technologies fast in your business?

Speed of technology adoption is critical to your business success.

Technology is changing the speed of business; now a whole industry might expand, mature, and die in months… not years.

There’s one formula that illustrates this marriage between adopting technology and business success the best… and that’s the “Optimal Technology Equation.”

I recommend you adopt this powerful “Optimal Technology Equation” in your business:

• Maintenance + Planning + Innovation (Adoption)=
• Enhanced Technology Capabilities=
• Reduced Costs + Increased Production=
• Increased Profitability.

Of course, this is only a brief explanation of this invaluable formula. Be one step ahead of the competition.

Information Technology Management, A Brief

Information technology is an engineering discipline. It is directly linked with computers and telecommunication usage for the retrieval of important data, its transmission and for storing purpose. Management in IT is a branch wherein all the technological resources of any firm are managed according to its priorities and needs. The resources include the entire stall hired to manage and maintain tangible resources like networks, software, computer hardware, data and data centre facilities. Within a company, the management of these responsibilities is directly linked with much other basic functionality like staffing, organizing and controlling, and budgeting. Other than these, there are many other aspects quite unique to technology software designing, change management, technical support, network planning and much more.

There is a visible difference between management information system and management technology information. Management technology information, as stated before, is linked with the entire IT related management activities within an organization. On the other hand, all automation or human support decision making are influenced by MIS. It involves all the methods that mainly focus on all business aspects. It has a very strong input in any business or organization’s technological phase.

IT And Value Creation

All thanks to technology, value creation was made quite possible. A prime focus of management technology information is this value creation. A unique blend of business strategies and technology is required for this purpose. Where value creation involves a very strong internal and external environmental bonding of an organization, technology on the other hand serves as an important source to improve the overall value chain of that particular organization. However, for successful outcome, the increase of business and management technology information requires collaboration, creation and synergistic to work as a team rather than a whole.

The IT Infrastructure

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library v3 state the management technology information infrastructure as a combined set of software, facilities, hardware, and networks so as to test, develop, monitor, deliver, control and support IT services. But, in the ITIL context, the people involved in the process, the process itself and all associated documentations are not a part of IT infrastructure.

IT Managers

The management technology information managers have a lot in common when it comes to project managers. There is one main focus that differentiates the two. When it comes to project manager, the responsibility and accountability factors are both confined to a certain project that has a starting and ending date. The instructions for the entire project completion and beginning are quite clear and restricted. Whereas management technology information is responsible and accountable for any program that is ongoing involving IT services. A large number of programs related to IT are created in a way to educate managers and develop them in a way in order to make them efficient enough so they can easily manage the design, planning, selection, use, implementation, and administration of any converging and emerging information and communication technologies.

How Critical Is Information Technology Training To Your Future?

Information Technology (IT) is as important as any other discipline like marketing, accounting, human resource etc. Information Technology is a very essential component of almost every business in this world. Having proper Information Technology training means that you are able to differentiate yourself from your major competitors and hence attain a competitive advantage over them.

Effective IT training consists of giving in-house workshops or training sessions, many universities and schools also organize such workshops to train students the most effective information technology skills. Information Technology training means helping managers and firms adapt to various business processes and changing circumstances. Such training focuses on the ways that emerging new technologies affect how business is conducted on a high level or large scale. IT training courses help provide knowledge and information about the use of technologies in different IT areas, which results in making quick informed decisions, yield profit for your organization, improved customer satisfaction and ensures survival of your organization in this increased competitive world. Some of the roles that professional are interested in the area of IT in getting training are mainly

• Management such as MIS (Management Information System), PM (Project Management) etc.

• System Administration
• Business Intelligence
• Support Operations
• IT Development
• DBA (Database Administration)
• Graphics and spreadsheets
• Word processing

There are various Microsoft training and programming languages courses available. Various training courses are provided in the most popular programming languages such as C, C++, Java courses, PHP, Microsoft visual studio courses etc. Moreover; Database management training is a part of Information Technology that helps develop your skills and understanding of data management, for example: MySQL, Oracle etc. Cisco training courses provide you in-depth knowledge on Cisco Networking Technologies.

Importance of Information Technology training

The technology department of any organization should be aware of the changes that are taking place on daily basis in different technological areas in order to sustain and survive competition. The purpose of IT training is to prepare an organization to effectively manage its information and resources. Proper Information Technology training can increase productivity and efficiency of the employees of the firm. IT training in the areas of computing such as getting training on how to manage flow of information by using new technologies and computer systems can have significant impact on the company’s as well as its employee’s performance. Out-dated and old methods of computing, managing data and flow of information can be time consuming and can produce delayed results and outputs. IT training in the areas of management such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or SAP which is the latest data integration module can increase effectiveness and efficiency of the firm. Apart from that, the main importance of IT training is increased customers satisfaction and customer loyalty, as customers are always interested in getting quick, fast services and deliverables.