Connect People with Data
Best practice No. 4: Connect people with data
You must connect the right people with the right data. The only way to effectively filter relevant data to authorized employees is to consider the end-to-end business process and touch points. By segmenting the value stream into various substreams (for example, first contact to order, invoice to cash, ongoing support), IT can determine who is responsible for making decisions during each phase, then service them with information needed to conduct transactions and optimize value stream performance.
Combining disparate IT systems creates a single ecosystem for key business areas, transactions and data. Depending on the value stream in question, this can be extended to include additional data from areas such as production, safety or HR. For faster decision making, you should also consider data filtering based on role, continuous updates, proactive alerting, interactive scenario analysis, and analytics. This ensures a proactive approach to addressing issues and shortens the time between an issue arising and its resolution.
Best practice No. 5: Use SAAS to make IT more agile
In the same way that companies look at the customer value stream, so should IT consider their own value stream, as they are continuously working with business units to determine how to better service them. Combined SAAS solutions become the perfect fit for a business-savvy IT department because they remove the burden of dedicating resources to "IT plumbing" (such as building or renting data center space, setting up servers and operating systems, and implementing databases, middleware and applications) and gluing it all together. Plumbing does not create business value; optimizing business processes and providing actionable intelligence does.
By turning IT into an agile service center rather than a technology cost center, the CIO can deliver greater business value, leveraging SAAS to free up resources and quickly deploy systems to react to their customers' needs in an agile fashion.
The sum of SAAS is greater than its parts
The only way to satisfy the IT demands of ever greater performance improvement goals from the business is to recognize the core competency of IT. Is it to maintain data centers, servers, infrastructure, and build custom software? Or is it to look at existing and new services and applications that can be configured, combined and tailored to meet business needs?
With the increasing maturity of multiple SAAS solutions working in harmony, IT can deliver value and agility at a lower cost, with lower risk. IT can also play an appropriate role based on resources-from brokering a turnkey solution to being self-sufficient and deploying/configuring the solution to somewhere in the middle. In any of these cases, the SAAS ecosystem supports the business processes and transactions to connect all decision makers with relevant data and make good on the promise of continuous process improvement.
Guido Haarmans is Vice President of Developer Programs at NetSuite. Guido has nearly 20 years of experience in developer relations, alliances and CRM at both SAAS and traditional software companies. Previously, Guido was director of developer relations at CollabNet, a provider of SAAS solutions for application lifecycle management and the company behind Subversion. He was also director of customer management at Driva Solutions. Earlier in his career, Guido spent 10 years at Autodesk. Guido has a Master's degree in Building, Architecture and Planning from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wayne Morris is CEO of myDIALS. Wayne has over 25 years of experience in executive management, strategy, marketing, sales and technical roles in software, services and hardware companies. Previously, Wayne was CEO and managing director of Citect Corporation, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for McDATA, and chief marketing officer and senior vice president of corporate marketing for BMC Software. Wayne was also vice president of marketing at Enterprise Software Corporation (ESC), business unit manager with HP, and a consultant, professional services manager and account representative at Wang Australia. Wayne is co-author of "Foundations of Service Level Management," published by SAMS. He can be reached at email@example.com.