The first step to more closely aligning your EDI capabilities with the overarching goals and objectives of your organization is to examine your current state. Once you define your strengths and weaknesses and have a clear understanding of client requirements, the business strategy, executive expectations, perceptions of IT, and the CIO's goals, you can begin visualizing your desired future state and put together an improvement plan.
Here are 2 pressing factors that can impact the ability of integration and EDI professionals to advance their capabilities and become true partners in driving organizational growth.
1. Misaligned Capabilities and Expectations
As the IDG / Remedi Whitepaper Preparing Your Integration Infrastructure to Support Business Strategy points out, business executives and IT executives are usually in agreement on the importance of integration across the business network. However, the parties are often on different pages regarding the organization’s current capabilities and the budget and time required to get to the expected levels of integration competency.
EDI directors, managers, and integration professionals at every level play an important role in closing the gap between IT and the executive team. Together, they can create a plan that incrementally demonstrates skills and behaviors that positively influences the cultural perceptions of IT and improve trust, credibility, and respect regarding IT's quality of work, ideas, and insights.
2. Level of IT Maturity
A CIO opinion article, IT-Business Alignment is Out; Anticipators are Winning the Day written by CIO's Dan Roberts and Larry Wolff, suggests that several things are changing to help close the competency gap. They start by discussing the IT Maturity Curve that’s part capabilities and part culture. It consists of 4 ways to classify IT teams and the value they provide to the business. At one end of the spectrum, business leaders don't trust IT to tie its own shoes. At the other end, they believe IT delivers game-changing value.
IT Maturity Curve
- IT Supplier: A basic service provider and generally unaware of new business initiatives
- Solution Provider: An effective order taker and solution provider
- Strategic Partner: A trusted advisor embedded into the business
- Innovative Anticipator: A strategic partner identifying business opportunity and risk with the application of data and technology
Dan and Larry believe that IT-Business Alignment is no longer the ultimate IT state. CIO's must transition to become Innovative Anticipators, a role that CEO's are increasingly expecting them to play. Knowing where your firm is on the IT Maturity Curve will help you progress your integration maturity and EDI capabilities, so you can better serve the business needs, keep pace with your industry and maximize your competitive advantage.
Here are a few more resources that may help with your EDI planning and capability development: