From Business Strategy to IT Action: Right Decisions for a Better Bottom Line / Edition 1

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From Business Strategy to IT Action presents a practical and proven management approach based on a very simple idea: a company should only spend money on IT that directly supports its business strategies and operational effectiveness, and should not spend money on IT that doesn’t. Management can control IT budgets and investments, and at the same time improve IT’s bottom-line impact, by consistently developing and selecting the best IT investments and eliminating existing but underperforming IT activities. This book illustrates how to do this.

From Business Strategy to IT Action shows how CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs can improve their IT investments, control IT budgets, and get the biggest bang for their IT buck. From a coordinated business/IT strategic planning process to business/IT performance measurement, the authors present a suite of tools for understanding, managing, and controlling the entire IT budget, aimed at producing the right IT actions for the organization.

The central theme of this book is the Strategy-to-Bottom-Line Value Chain, a framework that integrates five practices a company can use to get the right bottom-line results from IT activities: Strategic IT Demand/Supply Planning, Innovation, Prioritization, Alignment, and Performance Measurement. The authors present robust Portfolio Management and Culture Management support practices, all focused on making IT produce measurable bottom-line results. All of these are tied together with the Business Value Maturity Model™, a tool for assessing the readiness of an organization to use IT most effectively in its business.

Extending the groundbreaking concepts introduced in Information Economics that promote management’s direct involvement in decision-making for IT investment, this book shows how management can actively participate in all activities in the Value Chain. By wrapping a complete planning and management framework around the original concepts of Information Economics, the authors establish a new way for business and IT managers to make the right decisions and get the right results from IT.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book provides a road map for C-level executives, including CIOs, on how to manage and invest in IT to deliver business value." (COMPUTERWORLD; 11/29/04)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471491910
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/20/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,295,014
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert J. Benson is a principal with The Beta Group, a consulting firm with clients in the United States and throughout the world. He is affiliate professor of computer science at Washington University and part-time professor of information management at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. He is coauthor of Information Economics: Linking Information Technology and Business Performance and Information Strategy and Economics.

Thomas L. Bugnitz is President of The Beta Group. He is a frequent speaker on technology management and an adjunct professor at Washington University.

William B. Walton is a principal with The Beta Group. Prior to joining The Beta Group, he spent seventeen years with Gartner Group, where he developed IT measurement services and associated analytical methods.

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Table of Contents



CHAPTER 1: Define the Goals.

Today’s Reality.

The Entire IT Spend: Reducing Cost and Improving Bottom-Line Impact.

The Strategy-to-Bottom-Line Value Chain.


Critical Success Factors.

Completing the Picture: The New Information Economics Practices.

Summary of the Book.

Define the Goals: Management Agenda.

CHAPTER 2: Ask the Right Questions.

The Right Questions Focus on Affordability and Impact.

Affordability Questions: The Starting Point for the Right Actions.

Impact Questions: The Roadmap for the Right Actions.

Examples: Answering the Questions.

The Contexts for Management Questions Are Planning and Budgeting Processes.

Why Ask Affordability and Impact Questions?

Taking Action.

Chapter Summary.

Ask the Right Questions: Management Agenda.

CHAPTER 3: Connect to the Bottom Line.

Bottom-Line Impact Based on Cause and Effect.

Cause and Effect Is Based on Management’s Intentions.

Management’s Strategic Intentions.

Principles of IT’s Bottom-Line Impact.

Summary and Additional Implications.

Connect to the Bottom Line: Management Agenda.

CHAPTER 4: Understand Costs and Resources.


Origins of Portfolio Management.

IT Portfolio Management in Prioritization.

Portfolios in NIE Practices.

Four IT Portfolio Concepts.

Practical Problems in Applying Portfolio Management.

Summing Up Portfolios and Portfolio Management in Information Technology.

Chapter Summary.

Understand Costs and Resources: Management Agenda.

CHAPTER 5: Focus on the Right Things.

The Goals and Principles for Right Decisions/Right Results.

Goal 1: Actionable, Commonly Understood Strategic Intentions.

Goal 2: The Right Bottom-Line Results from IT.

Goal 3: The Right Management Culture and Management Roles.

Goal 4: Portfolios and Portfolio Management.

Goal 5: Actions and Results.

Summary of Right Decisions/Right Results—Goals and Principles.

Goals and Principles Applied to the Strategy-to-Bottom-Line Value Chain and NIE Practices.

Focus on the Right Things: Management Agenda.

CHAPTER 6: Adopt Effective Process to Produce Action.

The Strategy-to-Bottom-Line Value Chain.

Establishing the Process Connections.

Management Roles.

New Information Economics Practices.

Summing Up New Information Economics Practices.

Summing Up: Adopt Effective Process to Produce Action.

Adopt Effective Process to Produce Action: Management Agenda.

CHAPTER 7: Tackle the Practical Problems.

A Practical Perspective.

The Practical Problems Revolve around People.

Addressing Practical Problems: IT Impact Management.

Practical Problems Getting from Strategy to Bottom-Line Impact.

The Role of IT Impact Management.

Tackle the Practical Problems: Management Agenda.

CHAPTER 8: Make the Right Decisions.

The Management Context for “Make the Right Decisions”.

Elements of Right Decisions.

Make the Right Decisions: Two NIE Practices.

The Prioritization Practice.

The Alignment Practice.

Make the Right Decisions with Prioritization and Alignment.

Chapter Summary.

Make the Right Decisions: Management Agenda.

CHAPTER 9: Plan for the Right Results.

Two Planning Processes.

The Strategic Demand/Supply Planning Practice.

The Innovation Planning Practice.

Chapter Summary: Plan for the Right Results.

Plan for the Right Results: Management Agenda.

CHAPTER 10: Keep Score.

Management Issues.

Frameworks and Process Overview.


Critical Success Factors: Right Decisions/Right Results Principles in Performance Measurement.

Summary: Performance Measurement Practice.

Keep Score: Management Agenda.

CHAPTER 11: Deal with Culture.

Part 1: The Impact of Management Culture.

Part 2: The Need for Culture Change.

Part 3: Classification of Business/IT Culture.

Part 4: Applying Culture Management Concepts.

Deal with Culture: Management Agenda.

CHAPTER 12: Chart the Path to Implementation.

Introduction to the Business Value Maturity Model™.

Maturity Model Goals.

Requirement for Management Action.

Embedding NIE Practices into Management Processes.

Using the Business Value Maturity Model.

Summary: The Business Value Maturity Model.

Chapter 12 Appendix A: Details of the Business Value Maturity Model.

Chapter 12 Appendix B: The Development of Maturity Models.

CHAPTER 13: Define What’s Next.

Three Methods to Establish Right Decisions/Right Results Goals.

Setting Goals from a Corporate Governance and Process Perspective.

The IT Impact Management Program to Implement Right Decisions/Right Results and NIE Practices.

Conclusion to Chapter 13.

CHAPTER 14: Answer the “So What?” Question.

Why This Trip Is Necessary.

First, Hit the IT Improvement Zone.

The “So What?” for the Company.

The “So What?” for the CEO.

The “So What?” for the CFO.

The “So What?” for Line of Business Management.

The “So What?” for IT Management.

The “So What?” for the Business.

Continuing Development.


Appendix A The Role of Enterprise Architecture in Right Decisions/Right Results.

Appendix B Management Team Roles in Right Decisions/Right Results.

Appendix C The Development of Strategic Intentions, with Examples.

Appendix D Applying Strategic Intentions in Prioritization.

Appendix E The CFO Role in Right Decisions/Right Results.

Appendix F The Details of the Business Value Maturity Model.



Notes are available on this book’s website:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2004

    Bottom Line ==> Results

    This book provides solid, rational, and most importantly, actionable guidance for managers and executives faced with the challenge of identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing their IT spend. The authors provide a concise, structured framework which leads the reader through a step-by-step process to make reasoned decisions about both steady state ('lights on') expenditures and new project investments. The writing style is clear, fluid, and easily digestible. Each chapter includes fact-filled charts and diagrams to make the concepts come alive, along with a chapter summary, targeted questions, plus additional reading references. From defining goals, asking the penetrating 'right questions,' through charting a path to implementation, this truly is a guidebook to learning how to control spending while concurrently maximizing the impact on your bottom line. This book should be required reading before the beginning of your next planning cycle. Whether you've been in the IT business for a year, a decade or longer, you will undoubtedly benefit from the multiple layers of insight contained within this book. Note: I also recommend sales personnel absorb the concepts in this book--if you understand how your customers are evaluating IT investment decisions, you can communicate the value your offerings will deliver in a manner which will better resonate with the decision maker.

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