Business Systems Ownership – Transform Systems Value

The full report is here, including implementation considerations, roles and responsibilities and focus for which systems would benefit from a pragmatic approach.

Business Systems Ownership – The Problem

  • A lack of effective Business System Ownership (BSO) can jeopardise long-term system viability, benefits realisation and value to organisations.
  • Business System Ownership (BSO) is under represented in the cannon of IT methods. The focus of system ownership in published best practice is primarily geared towards technical system ownership or operational user involvement in system management processes.
  • If there is a lack of established and effective portfolio or programme management in place business systems benefits may not be realised without adopting some principles of business systems ownership.
  • The transition of IT systems projects to business ownership, post systems launch, is focused primarily on project closure activity.
  • In practice project closure can be undertaken to the detriment of planning for on-going system success.
  • Legacy systems present a particular challenge to IT departments in terms of on-going business engagement. Typically there will be an under representation of business managers at the right level of the organisation able to provide the required strategic direction and focus required by IT departments to support and maintain systems.
  • IT can become the de-facto “owners” of systems, discharging their technical responsibilities, but often (understandably) not undertaking many (business) tasks that underpin the future success, even viability, of the system.
  • At best a lack of engaged business owners can result in a potential misalignment of IT resources and priorities. At worst, long-term system viability itself can be compromised by a lack of effective business system ownership as cost control, data management, security, end user training and business process alignment can all drift as systems “age”.

Adopting a framework in which to implement BSO can mitigate these problems. In summary: –

  • BSO is a set of responsibilities, processes and interactions (with the technology function and key business stakeholders) that are applied to a system or a group of similar applications. The full report describes these in more detail
  • BSO represents the business interests in securing long-term business success of systems. BSO should be focused on business benefits, strategy (viability & futures), changes and integrity.
  • Ultimately business system owners take responsibility for securing overall system business value and mitigating key system risks.
  • The technology function plays a vital role in supporting BSO but should not own the processes or its outcomes. In addition to the operational service and risk management aspects of BSO the technology function should help business owners focus on the strategic and planning aspects required by BSO.
  • BSO should be considered complementary to Technical Systems Ownership (TSO), which is wholly the responsibility of the Technology Function

The full report is here, including implementation considerations, roles and responsibilities and focus for which systems would benefit from a pragmatic approach.

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