By Stéphane Gagnon, Ph.D., Associate Professor of BTM, and Lily Murariu, M. Eng., DBA PM (Candidate), Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), Gatineau, Québec, Canada
What is Business Technology Management (BTM)?
Business Technology Management (BTM) is proposed as the new professional and executive association, certification, and Body of Knowledge (BOK), uniting Information Systems (IS) and Information Technology Management (ITM) graduates. Whether following a BBA or MBA, IS and ITM graduates pursue very diverse career paths, often combining several professional certifications. This new designation should help them promote their identity and interests, and help employers better recognize their contribution in leading digital organizations in the right direction.
To discuss the future of our profession, ITAC Talent and its BTM Forum invites all IS and ITM faculty, along with executives of a dozen professional associations, to join a working group on Monday May 29th for the Annual BTM Symposium in Montreal.
What is a “Digital Organization”?
A digital organization (beyond all the hype) is one that has achieved a high degree of business-technology-management “hybrid acumen”. It is evidently one where the BTM profession is well represented and plays a strategic role throughout the organization. This hybrid acumen should be clearly visible in the 5Ps of your business strategy: the agility in how your people use and master IT, the innovative application of IT throughout your processes, the fusion of IT in your products and services, the unusual places and ever expanding territory or things where you integrate IT, and the strong, transformational leader positioning relative to other firms in your market and value chain.
Who takes part in your “BTM Executive Team”?
BTM Executives include everyone among CIO and CXOs involved in IT governance processes, or who may have a leadership role in making the organization ever more digital. While IT is the concern of everyone in a digital organization, we include among BTM Executives those who are directly accountable for integrating IT throughout the 5Ps of business-technology strategy. This goes beyond the traditional, limited CIO role of “keeping the lights on”, and should be visible through shared leadership in every part of the digital lifecycle, including digital innovation, adoption, transformation, and optimization.
Are your BTM Execs “agile” enough?
Most would say you’re never agile enough, in any circumstance. But (again) beyond the hype, a mature digital organization is like every other less-digital and non-digital one: the CIO still needs to manage IT, and the CXO still need to attend to their core competencies. The difference is that they share a common hybrid business-technology “acumen”. They are all able to “shift” the organization’s business-technology strategy seamlessly, and “move as a team” without the communication gap found in some CXO team.
How do you “coach” an Agile BTM Executive Team?
It is typically expected from executives to “learn by doing”, with minimal to no guidance in doing their job. But increasingly, as CIOs are required to take ever more diverse leadership roles, the lines between CXO roles is blurred, and the lack of guidance can create a difficult (sometimes costly) learning curve. This could be made more efficient and effective by “coaching” a BTM Exec Team, relying on a best practice Body of Knowledge (BOK) customized to this strategic-level team.
What would the BTM Executive “BOK” look like?
As shown in Figure 1 below, we are working on developing a new BTM Exec BOK Model. Contrary to traditional views of CIOs solely in charge the IT portfolio, highly mature digital organizations position the CIO as an “orchestra and/or choreography” conductor/director, integrating all functions and roles throughout the whole digital lifecycle. As such, they are expected to team-up and influence various CXO roles, whether in finding opportunities for innovative IT, helping prioritize IT projects as per business strategy, ensuring that innovative IT projects realize their promised benefits, and provide the necessary governance for projects that deviate from traditional IT PM methods.
Can you contribute “good or bad practices” to our BTM Executive BOK?
We need your help to develop a BTM Executive BOK, as we are presently developing a thesis proposal for the DBA in Project Management at Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), to be defended publicly by the end of summer 2018. We will pursue 4 research objectives:
- Develop a competency model or BOK for BTM Executives, helping to integrate diverse recent studies of the changing CIO roles, and the evolving nature of digital organization leadership.
- The various roles of the CXO suite will be integrated within a common framework of the Digital Organization Capability Maturity Model (DOCMM), allowing to pinpoint the varying interactions among leaders at different stages of organizational evolution.
- It will be possible, by observing organizations at different stages or maturity levels, to identify the incremental capabilities required of CIOs, CXOs, and the overall organization.
- The conditions required for “migrating” between maturity levels may be used as guidance toward coaching BTM Executives toward greater focus on relevant tasks of leading digital organizations, whether digital innovation, adoption, transformation, and optimization.
Please contact us if you take part in a BTM Exec Team, whether as CEO, CIO, or any CXO role.
We have been granted a “green light” by the Ethics Board of our university to carry out interviews and develop case studies as part of this thesis project.
Thanks for circulating this invitation to your network too!
Student: Lily Murariu, M. Eng., DBA PM (Candidate)
Director: Stéphane Gagnon, Ph.D.
Figure 1: Evolving Role of BTM Executives in Digital Organization Leadership (e.g., public sector case)
Here is a brief review of the academic literature reporting recent evidence of the changing nature of Digital Organization Leadership, and evolving roles of the CIO and CXO in the BTM Exec Team.
- Developing a digital organization requires a high level of maturity in the way IT strategy contributes to overall business strategy [1; 2], depending in turns on the extent to which executives develop the necessary abilities to manage this hybrid strategy process .
- Key drivers for CIOs to help transform the organization through IT include: an innovative mindset that permeates throughout the organization [4; 5], gaining the necessary authority to negotiate with other executives , developing a high level of IT management competencies , exercising influence through technical leadership , and acquiring the necessary understanding of the business and its industry through experience in multiple organizations .
- However, both CEOs and CIOs have often reported a communication gap in creating the necessary business-technology alignment at the strategic level , and a lack of mutuality or joint understanding [11; 12], a constant feature throughout the evolution of the CIO role .
- A recent trend for CIOs has been the shift from traditional IT management toward business integration leadership , met with greater expectation on the business performance impact of IT [15; 16], as well as greater freedom in contributing to business strategy , often by changing the culture of the organization toward IT-enabled change [18; 19], and managing risk for both the CIO role and the whole IT strategy .
- This trend has also lead to the new roles, such as Chief Digital Officer (CDO), often a hybrid role with focus on business value from IT , called upon to partner closely with CIOs sharing a necessary Renaissance vision , can be promoted to more business-technology strategy as opposed to IT management , as long as they match and master the business strategies pursued by the organization , and a close partnership with CXO and marketing roles linked to the customer orientation of the organization .
 De Tuya, M., Cook, M., Sutherland, M., & Luna-Reyes, L. F., (2015), "The leading role of the government CIO at the local level: Strategic opportunities and challenges", Government Information Quarterly.
 Johnson, A. M., & Lederer, A. L., (2013), "IS Strategy and IS Contribution: CEO and CIO Perspectives", Information Systems Management, 30 (4): 306-318.
 Johnson, A. M., & Lederer, A. L., (2010), "CEO/CIO mutual understanding, strategic alignment, and the contribution of IS to the organization", Information & Management, 47 (3): 138-149.
 Chen, D. Q., Preston, D. S., & Tarafdar, M., (2015), "From innovative I.S. strategy to customer value: The roles of innovative business orientation, CIO leadership and organizational climate", Data Base for Advances in Information Systems, 46 (2): 8-29.
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 Ding, F., Li, D., & George, J. F., (2014), "Investigating the effects of is strategic leadership on organizational benefits from the perspective of CIO strategic roles", Information and Management, 51 (7): 865-879.
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 La Paz, A., (2017), "How to Become a Strategist CIO", IT Professional, 19 (1): 48-55.
 Gerth, A. B., & Peppard, J., (2016), "The dynamics of CIO derailment: How CIOs come undone and how to avoid it", Business Horizons, 59 (1): 61-70.
 Horlacher, A., (2016), "Co-creating value - The dyadic CDO-CIO relationship during the digital transformation", Paper presented at the 24th European Conference on Information Systems, ECIS 2016.
 Spitze, J. M., & Lee, J. J., (2012), "The Renaissance CIO Project: The Invisible Factors of Extraordinary Success", California Management Review, 54 (2): 72-91.
 Carter, M., Grover, V., & Thatcher, J. B., (2011), "The emerging CIO role of business technology strategist", MIS Quarterly Executive, 10 (1): 19-29.
 Li, Y., & Tan, C.-H., (2013), "Matching business strategy and CIO characteristics: The impact on organizational performance", Journal of Business Research, 66 (2): 248-259.
 Whitler, K. A., Boyd, D. E., & Morgan, N. A., (2017), "The criticality of CMO-CIO alignment", Business Horizons, 60 (3): 313-324.