IT Value Archetype

A recent IT Process Institute Strategic Alignment performance study indicates that there is no such thing as generic IT. What the business needs from IT is different at different businesses. However there are three primary types of IT organizations based on basic attributes of how IT serves the business.

  1. Utility Provider - primary purpose is to provide common infrastructure and information management services.
  2. Process Optimizer – has two primary purposes; provide a common infrastructure and information management, as well as help optimize business processes and enable business-unit-specific objectives.
  3. Revenue Enabler – has three primary purposes; common information management services, business process optimization, as well as enable customer-facing products and services.
IT executives concerned about how IT can best drive business success are thinking about aligning their organization’s capabilities with what is needed to execute business strategy. Understanding your organization’s archetype can help.

Answering nine questions in this self-assessment allows you to quickly identify your IT value archetype, compared to 269 companies in the study.


For each of the following nine questions, read the statement and then enter the percentage that each of three answers applies to your organization. You may enter any number from 0 to 100, as long as the sum of the three columns for each topic (row) adds to 100%. For instance, for some questions you may put 100% in only one answer and 0% in the two other categories. For others, you may divide the 100% across the three columns such as 50, 40, 10.

1) Purpose
The primary way that my IT organization supports the overall business strategy is… …provide common infrastructure and capabilities that support basic information management applications such as e-mail, accounting, payroll, and reporting and decision support. …enable business unit specific objectives and capabilities by implementing applications that optimize key business functions and processes. …enable unique products/services that allow the organization to enter markets that wouldn’t be possible without IT-enabled offerings.
2) Technology Requirements
At my IT organization, technology requirements are determined by… …cost efficiency, general information management objectives and ongoing quest for infrastructure excellence. …specific business function requirements and quest for business process optimization. …enabling unique product or service with lasting market differentiation.
3) CIO role
At my organization, the CIO’s primary role is… …managing effective IT operations—with core competencies in the areas of resource management and execution. May also be closely involved with managing major IT projects such as ERP implementation. …as a business manager—with core competencies in the areas of leadership, communication, and building relationships with business unit executives. May also have responsibilities for corporate functions other than IT. …as a participant in setting corporate strategy—with core competencies in the areas of vision, identifying new business initiatives and driving change. May leave the details of running IT to others.
4) CIO reporting
The CIO reporting and governance focus at my organization is… …our top IT executive reports to the CFO or COO, and focus on operating efficiency and asset utilization. …our top IT executive reports to Business Unit Executives, and focus on project management success and business process optimization. …our top IT executive reports to the CEO, and focuses on IT portfolio management and strategic investment mix.
5) Funding
During the IT funding cycle at my organization… …IT budgets are funded independently as a shared service. …IT is funded as part of business unit budget cycle. …IT is funded as part of enterprise strategic planning.
6) Metrics
My organization uses success metrics that focus on… …operating performance SLAs like availability, help desk responsiveness, user satisfaction scores, that indicate ongoing efficiency gains. …business unit executive satisfaction about application functionality and whether projects are on time and on budget , that indicate that IT is delivering what’s wanted when needed. …enterprise level revenue contribution, that indicate IT’s linkage to new sources of revenue.
7) Business Strategy
At my IT organization, IT executive’s participation in setting business strategy … …IT focuses on information issues – and is not involved in determining business goals and strategy. …IT collaborates with business unit executives to help set and meet business function goals. …IT assesses technology trends and competitive landscape to play proactive role in shaping business strategy.
8) Competitive market
At my IT organization, IT helps create competitive advantage by… …cutting costs, reducing inefficiencies, and enabling better decision making through optimized information management. …optimizing business functions and business processes to differentiate products and services to better compete in existing markets. …creating unique products and services that change rules of game in existing markets, or enable participation in new markets.
9) Investment justification
At my IT organization, investments are justified… …by potential for cost savings and business process efficiency gain. …with customer facing revenue or market share gains from existing products and services. …based on increased revenue that is generated by entering new markets.

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