Ashu Bhatia, Author, “Business Strategy and IT Value – Putting it all together”

By Team YS|15th Jun 2011
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Business IT

In this age when books are being rolled out of printing houses like a swarm of bees, it becomes difficult to choose the right book or to judge the credibility of the author. It has almost become a fashion for young Indians to come up with a book; mainly books dealing with their lives in some of the grueling colleges in India. Amidst this clutter, there are few books that deal with industrial problems and give an insight into them. “Business Strategy and IT Value – Putting it all together” by Ashu Bhatia is one such book soon to be launched. A senior executive with leadership acumen in both operational roles and management consulting, Ashu has a unique combination of business, finance, and technology skills gained over 20 years of comprehensive experience in consulting and corporate business environments. He has worked in IT transformation, alignment of IT investment with business strategies, and reduction of complexity and costs associated with IT in the US, Europe, and Asia. Ashu has a straightforward attitude towards writing. He tell us more in an interview with Jubin Mehta for YourStory.in Edited Excerpts:Hello Mr.Bhatia! Tell us something about your background.

Hello, I’m an engineering graduate from Delhi Institute of Technology(DIT) and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon. I was always curious to see how businesses really use Information Technology(IT). So, I started working for Siemens in Bangalore and Germany, and was working on communications switching software. I then joined American Express where the financial processes of the global firm were being migrated to one of three centers of excellence – Delhi, Brighton (UK) or Phoenix (USA). I then went onto work for management consulting companies like Accenture and Zefer. I am also a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and have worked extensively in the field of IT. I’ve also written previously for numerous journals and publications.

Who is publishing the book and when is the book getting launched?

It’s being published by Brown Books publishing(www.brownbooks.com) and the print version as well as eReader version will be out in September/October 2011.

What is the current scenario in the IT field throughout the globe? What does the book talk about?

Given the current global economic scenario, companies are trying to run off the extra fat from everywhere. This includes IT budgets being squeezed and IT roles are switching to keep-the-lights-on roles(operations instead of innovation). In this kind of ecosystem, it is pretty obvious that more and more IT initiatives are focused more on bottom-line and less on innovative top-line growth. It’s all about reducing technology costs, managing enterprise risks, reducing enterprise-wide business costs, etc. Many executives are looking at optimizing their IT asset portfolio and the questions they are asking are:

Is the IT organization really doing what the business wants from a corporate and business unit strategy perspective? Are we doing the right things?

How can I reduce costs and inefficiencies in my IT operations? How can I reduce complexity within the IT environment? How can I do those things correctly?

And lastly if I am able to achieve the above mentioned, how can I ensure that the chaos, once under control, does not return?

The typical problem IT organizations face is that IT spending level is usually based on historical or competitive benchmark levels. There is often a lack of recognition for IT’s contribution to the business top line or bottom line. And IT cost-cutting further drives down the value-adding and innovative IT initiatives. As a result, IT capabilities deteriorate and midterm IT operating costs rise. This leads to the vicious circle: Business executives do not understand true IT needs and are inspired by external vendors and other sources. The business dictates a solution, IT accepts it and then IT resources are consumed by the complexity of non-optimal solution. There is pressure to deliver and consequently a high failure rate, rework rate, and hence a low confidence in IT industry. This leads to further breakdown in IT business relationship and fuels more misaligned initiatives from an IT perspective. This misaligned spiral just tends to get bigger with time and worsening economic cycles.

This book delves into the relationship of business value and Information Systems and will help you define a framework for your company, specific to your industry and your position within, to ensure there is effectiveness and efficiency in the IT organization:

  1. Focus the IT debate on creating business value – Using relevant metrics and recognized diagnostic tools, this book will help shift the IT debate from “utility” to “value creation.”
  2. Optimize the IT investment agenda – Are we investing the right amount? Have we targeted and prioritized the right opportunities to pursue? Are we executing most effectively? Is the IT budget really strategy-aligned and business case-supported to maximize ROI and create strategic advantage
  3. Transform your IT organization and capabilities therein – Have we industrialized key operational processes? Are we achieving necessary business service levels

Would this book be an interesting read to the general reader?

Although this book sounds like a product for information technology use, the content is all business focused with concepts like shareholder value tree, processes, and business value disciplines, etc. The analogy to real life examples makes it readable for everyone who is working in any industry.

Are there other books on the same subject?

There is no book that provides a comprehensive, exhaustive, detailed approach to how IT is used to enhance the business of a company. There are sections of the same, but nothing that provides a practical approach to measure the outcome.

How many books do you plan to sell? Any numbers that you are targeting?

As a conservative estimate, we are targeting on selling 7,000-10,000 copies of the first edition in the US market.

Anything else that you want to share with the readers of YourStory.in ?

I hope knowing about this will add some value to the general reader. I expect the readers of YourStory.in to understand the current changes in global businesses and how information technology enables these strategies. The readers will have fun in reading free excerpts from the book that I have released for YourStory as I’ve tried to shape the book in such a way that anyone related to the industry can relate to it.

Read the first chapter of the book here. Let us know your thoughts by writing to us at feedback@yourstory.in

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