World Class IT
Technology is all around us. It is so pervasive in our daily lives that we may not even recognize when we interact with it. Despite this fact, many companies have yet to leverage information technology as a strategic weapon.
What then is an information technology executive to do in order to raise the prominence of his or her department? In World Class IT, recognized expert in IT strategy Peter High reveals the essential principles IT executives must follow and the order in which they should follow them whether they are at the helm of a high-performing department or one in need of great improvement.
- Principle 1: Recruit, train, and retain World Class IT people
- Principle 2: Build and maintain a robust IT infrastructure
- Principle 3: Manage projects and portfolios effectively
- Principle 4: Ensure partnerships within the IT department and with the business
- Principle 5: Develop a collaborative relationship with external partners
The principles and associated subprinciples and metrics introduced in World Class IT have been used by IT and business executives alike at many Global 1000 companies to monitor and improve IT's performance. Those principles pertain as much to the leaders of IT as they do to those striving to emulate them.
About the Author
Peter A. High is the founder and president of Metis Strategy, LLC, a business and information technology strategy consultancy founded in 2001. His experience lies in corporate strategy, business-unit strategy, information technology strategy, and all of the areas covered by the principles and subprinciples of World Class IT. Peter and his colleagues have implemented the World Class IT Methodology at many companies in a wide range of industries including financial services, insurance, business process outsourcing, retail, pharmaceuticals, health care, travel and transportation, and media.
Peter has lectured at a number of leading business schools, and he also hosts a widely heard podcast called "Metis Strategy's Forum on World Class IT." Peter graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in economics and history. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with his wife and their two sons. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Table of Contents
Foreword, by John Boushy xi
The Author xvii
1. IT and Broader Company Vision 1
2. Principle 1: Recruit, Train, and Retain World Class IT People 15
3. Principle 2: Build and Maintain a Robust IT Infrastructure 35
4. Principle 3: Manage Projects and Portfolios Effectively 59
5. Principle 4: Ensure Partnerships within the IT Department and with the Business 97
6. Principle 5: Develop a Collaborative Relationship with External Partners 119
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The author points to a common feature of many firms - a gap between an IT department and the rest of the firm. Not just at the executive suite, but also extending several layers down in management. One typical reason is that IT management often hails from an engineering or scientific background, while non-IT management comes from a financial, business or legal background. The book tries to bridge the gap by furnishing a few best practices. One that I found especially cogent was a tighter partnership between IT and the other departments. Often the latter might simply not be aware of what IT can do for them. Ignorance can be cured! Another advantage of this stronger coupling is that it helps IT protect portions of its budget during regular reviews, when other departments can come into bat for it. The book also talks about infrastructure. This can be considered a factorisation of the narrative, so that it cleaves cleanly between discussing infrastructure and the other uses and activities of the IT department. Regarding the former, the author has found that many firms simply neglect it. When infrastructure is working, it is usually meant to be invisible, and hence the tendency to overlook and underfund its maintenance. The book advocates a more proactive approach that can ultimately improve the overall firm's performance and adaptability. You can also choose to use this factorisation in a pragmatic way. It is difficult and hence risky to try to change too many things in the firm at the same time. An alternative is to perhaps build up the infrastructure using the book's recommendations. Then, if this is successful, you can turn to the other sections of the book about the IT department.
Peter hits the nail on the head with the 5 essential principals of great IT organizations. He emphasizes people, infrastructure, portfolio management, the business IT relationship, and strategies for managing outsourcing. World Class IT is easy to read with well thought out 5 principles of World Class IT organizations, and a logical framework for each of the principles. I particularly like the emphasis on metrics, and each chapter contains basic and advanced measurement so that managers can actually apply the approach in their organizations and measure the results. This book is a must read for anyone in business, not just IT, interested in bringing up the game of their IT organization.