Our latest Ovum Industry Congress speaker interview is with Martin Stepanek, Consultant, Financial Services Industry at Generali. Martin will be participating in a Financial Sector Breakfast Briefing, and a Business Process Management Workshop at the event, both in collaboration with Business IT Strategy Sponsor, Bizagi.
Martin Stepanek: At OIC, I am very much looking forward to hearing more about ideas and opinions on transforming workplace productivity and improving customer experience. I have spent the majority of my professional life addressing such issues that I believe helps IT to deliver to Business people cost-effective and “industrial-like” values rather than just being a “manufactory”.
Ovum: From a learning experience viewpoint, what has been your most valuable lesson in your working career, or your most successful failure?
MS: I have had the luck to participate on several large scale projects/implementations, covering tens of millions of business transactions (e.g. online stock exchange, insurance policy administration systems, nationwide privatisation, etc.). The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt is the better understanding of how Business and IT domains relate. This Business/IT relationship comes from the “Business Entity” concept (i.e. in insurance industry: client, insurance policy, claim, coverage, benefit, location, account, etc.). I think that by looking at business entities first, it is possible to address properly both business issues (i.e. processes, people, value, etc.) as well as IT issues (i.e. applications, integrations, infrastructure, etc.).
Ovum: What are some of the challenges of your job?
MS: The major challenge of my job is the gap between Business and IT. I have seen many scenarios like this:
IT: “Business people do not provide us the right specifications!”
Business: “IT does not deliver what we need!”
In my opinion, the source of this conflict is that analysts and methodologies (Business and IT) are often not able to fully identify and address the complexity issue. By “complexity issue” I mean multidimensional relationships between various components of the business enterprise (e.g. business entities, capabilities, value streams, people, technology, strategy, etc.). I am afraid that traditional methodologies like “Waterfall” are rather “sweeping the complexity issue under the rug” than really addressing it. I think that real value for business can be delivered by understanding complexity issues and addressing them in IT solutions. I can see the emerging areas of Business Architecture and Business Process Management together with the “Agile” approach heading in the right direction.