Is technology driving business processes, or is business process still influencing technology?

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CIO in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees
It's both. Technology does influence the business, but ultimately the business needs to do what they need to do and if they need to do it with spreadsheets, they will. I've had CFOs say, "I want you to hold my team accountable to doing things out-of-the-box, best practice. Don't let them tell you they just have to do things." When push comes to shove and that person works their way up to the CFO and says, "You know that thing you want? I can't do it. Do you want it or do you want me to do this thing out-of-the-box?" they're going to win. The CFO will say, "Yes. Customize it. Do what you need to do but I need that thing." Whatever that is.
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CEO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed

In my opinion, the business doesn't understand tools—they understand the capabilities they require. It’s on the CIO to educate the business to the realities and align them.

CEO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed
My answer is: process rules. Technology is an enabler. It is a hammer—if you have a nail, that's bad. You want to use a hammer. If you need a screwdriver, you should get one. The business wants what it wants but the most successful software vendors are those that actually understand that:
1. You have to design for business value.
2. You need to effectively connect the top floor with the shop floor.

The prism through which I see these things may be an anomaly, because I've been called the world's worst customer in very large enterprises, but I also have the perspective of a person who went down this road as a software vendor.

Recent surveys are showing that 90% of CIOs in Fortune 500s fear job loss or career limiting moves by taking on transformation tasks. If it's that serious, the onus is on the vendor community but also on educating the CIOs in those enterprises to make sure there's strategic alignment to value, to what you need versus what you'll push your money into, and strategic alignment between the top floor and the shop floor. An ROI argument doesn't cut it anymore. That's used to get funding. Beyond that it sits in a drawer. You have to constantly bring the value argument up.
2 4 Replies
CIO in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees

“Process rules” = 100%. I think Business Analysts are the most important people in IT because they are focused on the People and Process side of things.

Director of IT in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

+1 Karl—Business Analysts are the glue! Finding good ones who are techno-functional is like mining for gold.

CIO / Managing Partner in Manufacturing, 2 - 10 employees

People, Process, Technology in that order, for very good reason!

Board Member in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
The answer is, it depends on the organization. For most of the companies born in the digital age, technology would be a driver of the business process. Evolution gets shortened and aligns to solutions available and implemented. That becomes a way of doing business.

For the legacy enterprises of the past, the horse (Technology) and the cart (Business) keep trying to figure out which is a better way to approach the opportunity or solve a problem. Success comes when both sit together and define what needs to be achieved and let the technologists propose potential solutions, to be decided together.

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