Does the CIO play an important role in organisational strategy development?

Business architecture as a key framework for Strategic Information Systems Alignment

For time, strategic alignment of Information Systems (IS) has been a frequently discussed topic. Several approaches have been developed to achieve this objective. However, typically the team in charge of this task comprises only or mainly IT staff that naturally adopt IT models without capturing essential organisational semantics. Differing interests and languages make the communication process with management people very difficult

In fact, the strategic alignment of IS is only possible if a Business Architecture (BA) is designed. This task should involve management models and people. BA is fundamental for the alignment of the whole organization and should therefore be the reference frameworks for the organizational knowledge and continuous improvement of the organization.

Organisational Strategy is a topic in the agenda of Business Process Management (BPM) approaches. Normally it is referred to as a part of the business architecture being the top layer of enterprise architecture. A strategic view of the organization and its business processes is not the main issue in most projects, which are too heavily focused on operations and technology. The organization is not only the sum of its processes. The business architecture includes organizational boundaries and organizational SLAs that represent key success factors in the strategic alignment of the

whole organization. This is fundamental to organizational innovation, assuring good system specifications and contributing to the business strategy. In practice, only a few non – IT people are addressing this issue. Business architecture, according to the state of art, should be system – oriented in order to endorse the agility and adaptability to the organization.

Thus, the profile of the people integrating the change team should have competencies in system and process oriented thinking, a broad understanding of all processes and projects and be aware of enabling technology for the competitiveness of the business.

CIOs are very well positioned candidates for this job. A recent CIONET / INSTEAD survey showed that there is a trend towards process and client orientation. CIOs need to extend their effort to cope with strategic field of the business architecture, such as value creation chains, and not only the

operational processes. CIOs should play a key role in the innovation of processes but also of the organization as a whole.

This article was written by Jorge Coelho. He has an academic background in mechanical engineering and computer science. Jorge is President of IPBPM, Vice – President of ABPMP Portugal and university professor at the University of Minho, University Portucalense, ISCTE, ISEG and Porto Business School. He also is a CIONET Portugal Actvisory Board member.

46 CIOVISION CIONET Portugal September 2013