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My first job was with an IT manager who wouldn’t use the term “the business” in conversation. When colleagues said, “The company is asking for …”,” he would pull them up.
He would argue that you are asking for something from the Finance or Marketing teams. There is no separation between IT and ‘the company’. IT is an integral part of the business.
All IT projects, that is, projects that were undertaken by the IT team, were therefore framed in business terms. Even things that can be considered technical work, such as network upgrades and hardware replacement, are now business-oriented. They were done because they supported the company’s overall goals and helped us move forward together to achieve the necessary business changes.
It was a refreshing way to create a company culture that supported and supported all departments. This way of thinking is now a necessity.
Delivering business change
According to a survey by BCS Digital Leaders, 55% of respondents believe that business transformation and organizational changes are the top management issues in the coming year.
“Business change” is facing difficult times. To stay competitive, businesses know they must make changes to their products and processes. Over a year, tools that streamline processes and reduce call handling time by thirty seconds can be a big return.
They must also be aware of societal changes, many which are driven by technology. Consumers interact with organizations in different ways. They expect different things, largely based on how they choose to buy, keep up-to-date, and share data.
There are many drives to improve organizational working practices, products, and processes. These projects are organized to accomplish all of them. You can see that you are looking at transformation when you add up the amount of change needed in certain areas.
Delivering business transformation
Business transformation is the next step up from business change. If you are trying to change the culture of a business, you will be dealing with transformative programs and not individual projects.
Strategy is the key to business transformation. It’s the vision of the future that will guide your efforts.
Portfolio managers don’t have to be told that all programs and projects must align with strategy. Without the projects to implement it, a strategy is nothing more than a plan. Although it may be a creative and pleasant vision of the future state, without any action it will remain a collection of slides.
It is often difficult to see the difference between the CEO presenting the strategy at an annual conference and the employees actually seeing the benefits. All teams must be creative in order to deliver business transformation. This is why IT cannot be delegated. My old manager believed that all change was business change. IT became a service function. They work in tandem with other departments and deliver projects that support business strategy.
There is nothing wrong in that. However, what elevates a team – IT or not – is their ability to use their subject expertise to solve a problem.
Because they are experts in cutting-edge tech, technical subject matter experts are often best placed to offer suggestions on how to transform a strategy presentation into a reality.
Business skills delivered
They can only do this if they are able to understand the entire organization. This is where project management’s future lies.
My well-thumbed edition, Managing Successful Programmes, discusses the role of a Business Manager. However, my personal experience – as well as that of many other project men – is what I refer to when discussing the role of a Business change manager.