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CIO Interview: Business–IT Alignment Framework That Works

Jesse Sie | March 27, 2012
Sebastian Jammer, deputy vice president for IT Transformation at Indonesia’s telecommunication giant Telkomsel, shares with CIO Asia his experience in aligning the Indonesian telco’s IT strategy with their business objectives.

Thankfully, Jammer’s senior management quickly understood the significance of the ideas that he presented. The new structure that Jammer and his team were putting into place will inherently ensure an alignment between business and IT.

“Because we took a business-driven approach, getting buy-in from the management team was not difficult,” said Jammer. “We could clearly show what the transformation would mean for our bottom-line through a business case. What also helped was that in this instance, IT themselves were the business users as we were looking at an IT internal process. Ultimately the whole enterprise will benefit from the results of the programme.”

As one could expect with any transformational change, there will be pockets of resistance to new ideas, especially from stakeholders that would be forced to change. However, the key to overcoming this resistance was to involve the relevant stakeholders from the very beginning of the project and to give them the opportunity to create and influence their own future, said Jammer.

“If your IT strategy is not aligned with your business objectives, then you’re a sitting duck,” said Jammer. “That is why we have created a governance body consisting of business and IT representatives who ensure that IT only implements initiatives that have a clear business endorsement and that are aligned with corporate strategy.”

Only when Jammer was confident that this aspect of the transformation process has been achieved, did he then embark on searching for a software tool to bring his organisation to the next level of IT maturity. 

 

IT’s about the People 

“People in IT love talking about technology,” said Jammer. “But we did not decide that we needed a new tool and hope that the tool would solve all problems automatically once implemented because this is not going to happen. You need to focus on the people and process portion first or you are very likely to fail.”

To help introduce the changes needed for the IT organisation, Jammer chose to work with IBM to implement a business–IT framework and application portfolio management system that would provide visibility not just from project launch to completion, but also the ability to focus on resource allocation. What sealed the deal for Jammer was IBM’s ability to understand and support the way Telkomsel was approaching the transformation process, which was from a business and process-driven point-of-view. 

Benefits of the transformation process were three-fold. First, by providing transparency and structured governance, the management teams will be able to utilise IT resources more effectively and focusing them where the business really needs them. 

Second, the new process includes a mandatory architectural review by an enterprise architect for every new business request. The architect decides the best way to implement the request in accordance with architectural principals. This will avoid uncontrolled changes to the architecture and decrease complexity and hence keep the architecture adaptable and agile towards future changes by avoiding dead-ends and stove-pipes.

 

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