This is part 2 of a 2-part series. The first installment discusses why you should establish a Business Technology Team and how it differs from traditional IT.
Most high growth companies don’t realize the value of building a Business Technology team until they start hitting the operational challenges that come during scaling. While IT teams establish infrastructure that runs the business, a Business Technology team drives departmental technology initiatives so that employees can do their jobs. Traditionally, building integrations and automations between systems that spur stakeholder initiatives has been notoriously difficult, but with a dedicated team overseeing technologies and tools that allow greater access, lines of business (LOBs) can have greater control over their own processes. This allows IT to focus on more complex tasks and the business as a whole benefits from the transformation.
Building up a Business Technology team can take up to 3 years in most cases. The process will likely start with either a Head of Business Technology with infrastructure oversight, or a Director of Business Technology and a Director of Infrastructure. It then trickles down to a Head of Architecture who will help design the solutions or connectors between systems, with leaders of Backend Systems, Customer Systems, and Business Intelligence to follow and support different departmental needs.
Timeline for building a Business Technology team
Within the first half of year one, companies adopting Business Technology (BT) teams should focus on establishing a vision; breaking down organizational silos and realigning technical resources from business groups into a single BT team; and establishing BT engagement. While IT oversees the larger organization’s infrastructure in terms of security (physical and systems), compliance, and operational efficiency, it is BT who must inform IT of every application containing employee data in order to remain compliant. A process and guardrails must also be set in place for how LOBs can approach BT with a project.
In the first six months, the company should also focus on developing a business priority cadence, hiring senior talent, and strengthening operational capabilities. As the team that drives innovation and efficiency across business, they can receive multiple stakeholder requests at a time. It’s, therefore, beneficial to host weekly or bi-weekly meetings to organize your “big asks” for the period and prioritize what should be worked on first.
For the second half of your first year, companies should focus on project delivery cadence. This can be done by partnering with business leaders to establish a project management office (PMO), which serves to ensure alignment (and timelines) between groups. A PMO can also help deliver a BT roadmap spelling out business priorities for the next cycle. By weaving project management into your business priority cadence, lines of business are kept more immediately informed about projects and BT is better supported to work on high-value initiatives.
It’s also important in the second six months to continuously hire or seek out partners for talent. Your Head of Architecture will need a solutions design team to help build an architecture for the systems and processes being implemented. Now’s the time to also think about what vendors or consulting relationships you’ll want to develop. If your finance team is looking for a specific procurement software, for example, you’ll want to vet or put a framework in place to decide which option is best for your team cost-wise, functionality-wise, strategy-wise, etc.
Growth and mature stages of Business Technology development
During the second year of building a Business Technology team, your main goal is to focus on strengthening your BT capabilities. Prepare a BT team for your major transformation initiative, as you’ll want the entire business to benefit from digital change—not just certain lines of business or IT. For this, you’ll want to consider a low-code enterprise automation platform that’ll enable users across business to control their own processes, which will allow business to scale. Of the consulting vendors you’ve selected, now’s the time to task them with major business projects and put those use cases to work. You’ll also need your design solutions team to start working on their specific projects, and to account for any loose ends not caught by your vendor relationships or partners.
During your third year, you’ll want to think about hiring new team members and promoting the existing team. As the business grows and you continue to scale, you’ll want more experienced team members leading these processes and fresh eyes building the connectors or integrations. You’ll also want to build more innovation into your systems, which is where the fresh eyes come in and help steer greater organizational efficiency. At this point, you BT model will have matured and you’ll be able to execute initiatives—and write “playbooks”—that enhance your organization’s reputation in the market.
Measuring ROI with Business Technology
Within the three years it took to build your business technology team, you will be able to project and experience revenue growth through increasing systems capabilities and efficiencies.
Within the first half of year one, lines of business will be freed from tech overhead and owning their own processes, and BT will have a vision to embark on for the work they need to produce to keep both themselves and their stakeholders efficient. In the latter half of the year, BT will be able to deliver on high-value projects based on the PMO put in place, senior team members will be hired, and a cadence will be set and recognized between their team and the stakeholders they serve.
After that, you will have developed major BT capabilities to sell products based on the applications that’ve been built and engaging product/consulting vendors for project execution. And in year three of building your BT team, you’ll be able to continue to expand upon your capabilities based on your mature model, and you’ll also embark on initiatives that set your organization apart in the market (sometimes known as “drink your own champagne” initiatives). Within three years, your business will have transformed dramatically and become a thought leader in the space, thanks in part to an organizational structure that supports Business Technology and a project management mindset.