2008-09-11 1 1254

John Thorp - Value of IT

After being a little disappointed about the website presence of ISASA (see former article), I must admit, i was really impressed about the organised Business Lunch. Never been in the Brisbane Convention Center for such an event (beside unemotional basket ball games and concerts) for that kind of purpose it was fantastic. Great room, large, good sound conditions, wonderfull and gret food that we got served and, nothing to do with the venue, great organisation and an inspiring speaker.


John Thorp (via LinkedIn)has been introduced as 

an internationally sought-after management consultant with 45 years of experience in the information management field and author of “The Information Paradox”, that will discuss the latest international thinking on addressing the governance challenge. John will addresses and advises leaders of some of the world’s largest organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia-Pacific, including Fortune 100 companies.

Bottom Line, he is experienced, skilled, seen a lot of things and wrote book. A good way to start off with.

 ISACA Business Lunch

After the lunch got served and the opportunity to speak to your neighbours John started his inspiring presentation.

Lets talk about the presentation itself and its still (always interested in that):

  1. He builds raport with the audience by talking and showing pictures about himself
  2. He uses lots of quotes from other leaders
  3. He refers to his book (26 final copies were on sale after the show)
  4. He used numbers and studies to support his arguments
  5. He uses pictures to present
  6. How ever, the presentation went into detail and so did the font (got smaller and smaller and less pictures)

John is one of the guys where the presentation is great because of , which is great, the slides are just supportive, which is how it should be done.


Lets talk about the content of this 60 minutes presentation

I will just highlight some his key message that i got of the presentation

  1. The value of IT is to deliver optimal benefits based on affordable costs with an acceptable risk over the full life cycle of the investment
  2. If you do not take any risk you are not getting anywhere
  3. The Evolution from IT went from Automisation of Work via Management of Information to the Transformation of the Business
  4. From Run the Business via Change the Business to Change the rules of Business
  5. Change is enbale by IT but the BUSINESS must be accountable and responsible 
  6. OO + NT = COO (Old Organisation plus New Technology is a Complex Old Organisation
  7. "My project is in trouble and i 'hope' its getting better .... 'hope' is not an option
  8. IT Governance is the continually orienting and adjusting and managing an uncertain journey to an uncertain destination
  9. Key Governance Questions to be asked (Are we doing the right thing -> Are we doing them right -> Are we getting them done well -> Are we getting the benefits -> start with the first question)
  10. Less than 10% of organisations doing checks on benefit realization post project
  11. Less than 5% of organisations hold the stakeholders accountable for project benefits
  12. Business engagement and accountability are essential

And after that he talked about some details in the ValIT method (http://www.isaca.org/valit/ -  you download the whole framework on that site).

The juice that i got out of it is to understand from his view the role of IT in the organisation and how it has to change from being alligned to the Business Strategy to enable business benefits. IT is the enabler, not the driver and the business needs to be aware that IT and a tool is not the silver bullet to solve a problem. By implementing a CRM solution to understand more of the client will / might have an impact on the organisation as a whole and might even change their business model. So its less about ERP Implmentation in that case its more about organisational change.

John was asked a couple of questions especially around implementing this approach and thought into an organisation and he left out the real answer by talking about, yes, its a long journey and it would take 8 to 10 years for some larger organisation to adapt this approach.

So key more is to understand, are you more successful with doing it top down or bottom up, what is more likely to be sucessful and i guess there are several answers to it.

Bottom line, great event, great presentation, useful thoughts and information and a book that is worthwhile reading (The Information Paradox, by John Ford) that i got a signed copy at the end.





  1. Music Festivals sagt:10. Mai 2010 um 10:24 (Editieren)
    Sounds like a really worthwhile day. How nice to hear of such a presentation being interesting and holding your attention well. The ones i've been to in the past have been totally opposite. Think I should buy a few copies of Johns book to hand around!

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