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Real Business of IT: How CIOs Create and Communicate Value Hardcover – October 20, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Hunter is Group Vice President and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research, a division of Gartner, Inc., the world's largest technology research firm. George Westerman is a research scientist at MIT Sloan School of Management's Center for Information Systems Research (MIT CISR), which Ziff Davis named the world's "most influential IT academic research center." They are coauthors of the award-winning book IT Risk: Turning Business Threats Into Competitive Advantage.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Press; Gartner edition (October 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422147614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422147610
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark P. McDonald VINE VOICE on September 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
What is the business value of IT? This is a perennial question that dominates executive discussions. Many have sought to answer this question with fancy algorithms, consulting practices, benchmark data and other tools. However, the question is basic to IT so it should have a basic answer - right? Absolutley and fortunately Hunter and Westerman provide much of the answer in this book.

The Real Business of IT is a clear and focused look at the issue of IT value and the approaches to capture, communicate and increase that value. This book is unique in several respects. It is a book written for CIOs largely based on the experience of CIOs.

The book features extended practices from leading companies like McKesson, Intel, Freescale, Deltak and many others. Building on those sources, Hunter and Westerman explain a simple virtuous cycle for driving IT value. They illustrate this cycle with about a dozen concepts that CIOs can use tomorrow to change the way they talk about value.

Hunter and Westerman make good use of these resources creating a book that is filled accessible information. One of the ways they do this is through using analogies from outside of IT. This not only makes the ideas easy to understand but also it gives the CIOs stories that they can use to inform and educate their business peers about IT.

This book helps CIOs avoid common value traps that limit the view of IT's value in the enterprise. It then goes on to build the tools and techniques to demonstrate the value for money in IT, how IT helps run, grow and transform the enterprise, manage IT's unit costs, and other key concepts.

The book is tuned and intended for CIOs and IT executives, rather than business executives.
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Format: Hardcover
Approach suggested by Authors is basic commonsense, but definitely relevant, useful and practical, which many people miss out. However this could have been articulated in just a few dozen pages, perhaps as a main article in a magazine rather than a 200 page long book. Result is verbose text, with plenty of repetition and many needless references to what contemporary CIOs, CxOs told the authors or in magazine interviews. What would have helped is giving a set of structured/concrete Checklists/Benchmarks either directly or in the case studies to supplement the suggested value creation 'framework'.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Richard Hunter is a thought leader and this is an outstanding book. Many IT Executives struggle to communicate value in such a manner that the business feels compelled to act. His is a must read for every CIO and IT Executive.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wish my company CIO, CTO, IT Managers, and Solution Architects would read this book. I knew much of the information and concepts from being a consulting and creating solutions for 20+. Unfortunately, most IT professions never will obtain the depth and width of the experiences I had. However, it did provide me many insights that I did not have. All professionals whether in an IT or business profession should read this book no matter what level or stage they are in their career.
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Format: Hardcover
How do we fix IT's problems? Well, Hunter and Westerman gave us the answer: pick up more work! Yes, and it actually does make sense. Be responsible for MORE things and your success rate will increase.

This book is about how to really deliver value from IT. It is based on changing IT's mindset. You've probably read much on this topic before, but this book sums it all up and more. And it does have suggestions that can be readily applied.

Every manager in IT should read this book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This clear, short work is one of the most insightful books on the role of CIOs, and I.T. organizations in general, I have read.

The I.T. organization often struggles with its identity, disdained by other functional groups in an enterprise and defensive about its contributions. To bridge this gulf, the authors prescribe a model that is simple and precise. The CIO, and the CIO's organization, delivers value in only two ways: positively affecting either business processes or business decision making. That's it. Refining the model a bit, the authors separate I.T.'s customers into two groups: those external to the organization and those inside the organization. This produces a classic 2x2 quadrant, with customer types on one axis and the value types on another. All technology-driven, or technology-enabled, initiatives that produce real value to the business or enterprise will fit naturally into some section of this matrix.

I heartily recommend that all I.T. leaders read this book. It resonates with empathy, understanding and truth about how the I.T. function regards itself, and what it can contribute to build value for an enterprise. It can help lead you to better strategy, better plans, better decisions and better relationships with your peers and superiors.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a tremendous resource for IT execs who may be caught up in daily slogging through IT operational issues, or those who are looking to take a more strategic approach to IT. It approaches the idea of *value* from a variety of angles. The authors introduce us to the concept of "value traps" and how to change our thinking to avoid them. They also encourage CIOs to evolve from being just the budget-minded "Cheap Information Officer" into an invaluable "Chief Improvement Officer."

One of the most fascinating and unconventional ideas represented was that of dispensing with the notion of business units as "customers" because this thinking drives a wedge between IT and the rest of the business. Instead IT should become part of the business, with a seat at the grownup's table and driving business enablement.

Other key ideas and tools in the book include the essential steps to deliver value for money, and the "virtuous cycle" of IT. Having seen firsthand so many business analytics projects go down the hindsight reporting rat hole, it's great to see the authors light a fire under IT's role in innovation (i.e. "the four new sources of value").

And finally, I was thrilled to see inklings of "infonomics" (information economics) in the chapter on IT's role as the stewards of information assets.

--Doug Laney, VP Research, Business Analytics, Gartner, @doug_laney
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