Can our existing IT keep pace with our planned business developments? How can our IT support business development? Steffen Eisenhut, an IT business architect, was asked to get to the bottom of these questions by a chemical company in the Frankfurt area belonging to the upper mid-market. We accompanied Eisenhut on his project.
Steffen Eisenhut works as a trained IT business architect at Bechtle. His focus is on strategy consulting for mid-sized businesses across Germany, helping them to develop their IT infrastructure, and to model and document their business processes.
After the Russian business slumped, management was thinking about a new strategy to offset lost revenue and get the company back on track for growth. The decision to push exports was close and the potential was quickly assessed. The commercial director sought a competent assessment of the IT system’s resilience. His Bechtle contact brought in IT business architect Steffen Eisenhut, a proven specialist.
“Many customers expect that we’ll just give them the standard IT spiel: the servers are too old, the network is too slow,” says Eisenhut. Eisenhut looked at the corporate goals for the years to come. "It was only on this basis that we were able to work out the corresponding IT goals with the management and the IT manager."
The first step was an organisational consultation with the IT department. It was rooted in commercial management and not sufficiently integrated into the company processes. “IT needs to know what’s coming,” explains Eisenhut. His recommendation is to make IT, as a staff unit for new products and developments, a topic for management and to participate in regular management meetings.
“Of course, we also look at how the IT department is organised and how it works." Eisenhut asked the IT manager and his staff questions. An approach that must be clearly communicated by the customer’s management. Otherwise people can quickly become confused.
The IT manager apparently took Eisenhut to one side shortly after the project started: “Why are you here? Does it have to do with our jobs?” the IT manager asked, anxiously. A classic case of inadequate communication between management and IT. By no means an isolated case, explains Eisenhut. But an important part of his job as an IT business architect is mediating between IT and management. Management quickly resolved the misunderstanding and the project was able to continue.
“A surprising result for the IT manager was our proposal to distribute the tasks within the department more efficiently, to hire an additional administrator, and to think about a managed service concept for outsourcing certain tasks." This was the only way for the team to handle the entire workload and have sufficient scope to plan strategic issues and future projects and then adequately implement them. Through his mediation, the standing of the IT department within the company has improved.
"Of course we take care of the classic IT issues, too,” says Eisenhut. But the IT strategy must be worked out and the organisation set up accordingly. “This is the basis for all new projects. We have identified which systems are relevant and therefore to be especially protected. Our tool is the IT Business Navigator,” a modular consulting framework that makes the customer's IT system transparent: The IT Business Navigator creates transparency through independent inspection, analysis and assessment of organisational structures, business processes, IT business services and infrastructure services. This results in key figures and maturity levels: “In this way, we receive management appropriate numbers and evaluations as a decision-making basis for management." These evaluations are based on analyses that are carried out, for example, using the IT Business Map. (See video below).
“It was important to the customers to work out a long-term IT strategy that is equipped to meet business development needs,” Eisenhut says in conclusion. And also the fact that it was possible to improve the position of IT within the company is seen by the management and head of IT as a sign of success of the IT business architect’s work.
IT Business Architect
Bonn/Cologne IT Systems Integrator
Published on Feb 8, 2017.