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Next NCC Think Tank Topic - your views invited

From NCC’s Dr. Andy Hopkirk, Head of Projects & Programmes

We’re thinking about what the best topic(s) for the next Think Tank session(s) will be…

The previous three Think Tanks have covered

  1. Future IT Services Delivery, which led to a focus on people in IT departments that stimulated…
  2. The Future of the IT Dept. – essential skills and practices. Attention after this turned again to technology adoption issues with…
  3. Managing towards Cloud, where the main, action-oriented results were:
    • a. Focus on business value at all times.
    • b. Use the mooted move to cloud as a vehicle to engage more deeply and thoroughly across the business, top to bottom: lead the discussions and identify some beachhead projects
    • c. CIOs and CTOs (or equivalents) should champion the skills and insight of their business services technologists, and facilitate good relationships with actual and potential strategic technology partners.
    • d. The great noise about cloud hype and paradigms shifting is an opportunity to re-position the now classic IT/IS department as the Business Services department – the people who have their finger on the pulse of technological change and its potential for business threat and benefit.
    • e. Before potentially adding further complexity and costs, look for business value in renegotiating existing supplier and partnership arrangements, and in disentangling and tidying up the existing ICT estate and business processes.

For me, there is the feel of a ‘business architectural spin’ unifying all of this… There are:

  • foundational IT systems that underpin the organisational business structure (the set of business functions and how they link together);
  • there are line of business IT systems that support specific business functions;
  • there are ad hoc – e.g. self-provisioned I(C)T systems – that can interfere/ cut across/ become an extension of foundational or line of business IT systems;
  • there is a need to take a holistic view of all of this and it’s the IT leadership that are best placed to start the conversation;

and, so, talking about EA (Enterprise Architecture) or EITA (Enterprise IT Architecture) as means to capture, develop and manage all of these doesn’t quite hit the mark as well as talking about Business Architecture and how ICT services are integral to that?

That said, there is a demand for EA training courses within the NCC membership that we do meet, but is this really ‘EA/EITA driven’ or is it ‘BA in spirit’?

Q1 - Does this ‘Business Architecture’ idea resonate with you? Does it feel like a timely NCC Think Tank topic – i.e. it is relevant to us and can it be the basis of a 3 hour discussion from which we can extract useful, stimulating thought leadership, advice and guidance for NCC members?


Q2 - Is there another topic(s) that leaps to mind as being a better one(s) for the next Think Tank(s)?

As food for thought, and keeping to the theme of the importance of always seeking business value in what we do, I include below:

  1. A recently reported list of Top 10 Business Priorities .v. Top 10 Technology Priorities
Reducing enterprise costs 2 Enterprise applications (ERP, CRM & others)
Improving working effectiveness 3 Servers and storage
Attracting and retaining new customers 4 Legacy application modernisation
Increasing the use of analytics 5 Collaboration technologies
Creating new products and services 6 Networking, voice and communications
Targeting customers and markets more effectively 7 Technical infrastructure
Managing change initiatives 8 Security technologies
Expanding Current customer relationships 9 SOA
Expanding into new markets and geographies 10 Document management
  1. Some results from the most recent survey of NCC members priorities grouped as Drivers for Change/ possible Technology Solutions / Managerial Focus – Any one, or a combination of these, works for you as a timely, meaty Think Tank topic?
Drivers / Desired Ends
Budgets static/ falling Costs Control Data Security IT-Business Alignment Innovation Mobile/ Remote/ Flexitime Work
Technology Solutions
/ Means to those Ends

Virtualisation Cloud Services Collaboration Tools / Services Communications Tools / Services
Managerial Focus
/ Means to those Ends

IT Strategy Security Policies & Processes Supplier Contracts Business Analysis

I'm happy to chat about this on the phone or by e-mail, if you want to.

Feedback 'as soon as' please - we're targeting early/mid Feb for the next Think Tank meeting.

Thank you


NCC Weekly News 10 January 2011



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