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Part 1, INFORMATION POWER: BiSL Framework – a new perspective

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by Deborah L Anthony, PhD, DPSM

 

 

 

Information is power. This is an axiom commonly used in a myriad of contexts. 

 

“Information” is the “I” in IT.  Ideally the first statement should lend weight to the second, suggesting a balance in the value between the two words:  Information and Technology.  My observations over the past ten years suggest that this is not the case. With less and less focus on information, and greater emphasis on technology, this behavior results in an ever- widening communications/relationship gap between the business organization and the IT organization.

 

Businesses think in terms of information – the information needed as input to fuel business processes, information generated as output to be consumed by customers, and information for decision making.  IT organizations think in terms of data – data base management, data storage, data recovery and backup. But - What if both the business and IT were presented with a new context?  Could a different perspective close the gap between business information and IT data?  What if a new, common language could be introduced that resulted in the business and IT reaching mutual understanding?

 

Roughly two years ago I was introduced to the BiSL Framework (Business Information Management).  Created by a non-profit organization, the ASL/BiSL Foundation in the Netherlands, the BISL Framework describes the processes of business information management. Documented and supported through the use of best practices and aids, the framework completes and improves traditional processes.

 

BiSL was developed using the same approach the Open GeoSpatial Consortium (OGC) employed to generate all of the editions of ITIL.  The framework outlines an inter-related series of processes for monitoring the business approach to information provisioning. In most organizations, information provisioning also has an IT component that relates to the technical means used to deliver business services.   In general, business information management resides with the user organization.

 

The BiSL framework is in the “public domain” and is recognized as an international “standard” of best practices.

 

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  • The BiSL framework consists of various processes grouped together in clusters. The processes in these clusters are closely connected and are similar in many ways to the nature of management, incorporating the necessary knowledge and experience of the employees in the business information management organization.

  • The process clusters function on three levels strategic, managing and operational levels.

  • The operational processes focus on user management (support), maintaining functionality and change management.
  • The managing processes cluster ensures that the means are available for information provisioning, and that its use is managed in line with the needs and possibilities of the organization
  • The strategic processes cluster deals with the design of information provisioning in the longer term (policies), the functionality of information provisioning organization – role of supplies, the relations with chain partners and the setup of the provisioning organization, and managing the balance between strategy and functionality.
  • Most business transactions include the transfer of information – invoices, updates to inventory systems, financial exchanges, shipping logs. If 90% of that information transfer involves technology, than the management of business information (formal or informally defined) appears to be an essential element in the delivery of services and goods.

Reviewing the Framework, I could  see a great many opportunities for use, but the initial “light bulb” that went off for me centered on a new means of having the classic Business and IT conversations around requirements, service level objectives, and operational performance.  

 

There is an abundance of current and historic research to suggest that breakdown in communications and the relationship between the business and IT is real, profound and oftentimes borders on the tragic.  Could changing the perspective of the communications / discussions make a difference?  Could speaking to “Business Information” as the focus of business requirements, service levels, and performance break the negative reinforcing loop of current strategies to provide both with a fresh perspective that might result in better outcomes?

 

In my next blog, I’ll be discussing some of the highlights of what I learned while facilitating a series of working sessions that explored the most effective means for Business to IT conversations.

 

I urge you to visit the ASL/BiSL Foundation Website: http://www.aslbislfoundation.org/.  As a non-profit foundation, ASL/BiSL offers a plethora of free information available on their website.

 

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About Deborah Anthony

 

Deborah has 20+ years of experience designing, implementing and managing IT organizations, and 15+ years of consulting experience. She has worked across industries including public sector, manufacturing, financial services, retail and telecom.

 

Her work includes taking two large governmental organizations through enterprise-wide technology-driven changes that resulted in those organizations being acknowledged as “best of class”.  She has also managed key emerging technology beta projects, assisting both HP and our customers to discover the potential impact and value of innovation.

 

She earned a Ph.D. and MS degrees in the related fields of information management and technology. Additionally, she holds certifications in PMP with Project Management Institute, and ITIL, where she is V3 Expert Certified.

 

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