Business Technology Advocates: Bridging the Gap Between IT and Business
As organizations continue to invest in new technologies, it’s essential to clearly understand how these tools can be effectively integrated into existing processes. This is where a business technology advocate (BTA) comes into play.
Technology is critical in driving success and facilitating innovation. As organizations continue to invest in new technologies, it’s essential to clearly understand how these tools can be effectively integrated into existing processes. This is where a business technology advocate (BTA) comes into play. In this article, we will discuss the importance of BTAs in your organization, how to successfully implement the BTA concept, and the main benefits of adopting this model. Additionally, we’ll explore how technology executives can benefit from working with BTAs.
We have collaborated with Pacific Dental Services’ technology leaders, Nemi George (Vice President & Information Security Officer) and Mostafa Khairzada (VP of Enterprise Applications/Innovations), to explore BTAs and gain insight into their organization’s implementation of this innovative method for connecting technology teams with the rest of their organizations.
What is a Business Technology Advocate (BTA)?
A business technology advocate, sometimes referred to as a technology evangelist, is a professional who specializes in promoting and supporting the adoption of new technologies within an organization. They bridge the IT department and other business areas, ensuring technology investments align with the overall business strategy and objectives.
BTAs possess a unique blend of technical expertise and business acumen, allowing them to effectively communicate new technologies’ value and benefits to technical and non-technical stakeholders. They are responsible for identifying opportunities to improve efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness through technology and providing guidance and support during the implementation and integration processes.
“When we were designing this role, the “advocate” part was the most critical component in the language. It really defines the role’s responsibility of serving the business in a deeper way. IT often has been a place where orders of service are given, and we wanted to change the narrative and become a more strategic partner.” - Mostafa Khairzada, VP of Enterprise Applications/Innovations
In essence, a business technology advocate serves as a champion for technological innovation within an organization. They help to create a culture of continuous improvement and digital transformation by promoting the effective use of technology and fostering a collaborative, forward-thinking mindset among employees.
What is the purpose of having BTAs in your organization?
The primary purpose of a business technology advocate is to ensure that your organization is making the most of its technology investments. This involves identifying and promoting the adoption of new technologies and ensuring that existing tools and systems are being used to their full potential.
BTAs play a critical role in helping organizations navigate the complex landscape of modern technology. With new tools and platforms constantly emerging, it can take time for businesses to stay current and decide which solutions best suit their needs. A BTA can help cut through the noise and provide strategic guidance based on a deep understanding of the technology landscape and the organization’s specific requirements.
Moreover, BTAs are instrumental in driving organizational change and fostering a culture of innovation. By acting as technology evangelists, they can help to break down silos between departments and encourage cross-functional collaboration. This, in turn, can lead to developing new, innovative solutions that drive business growth and improve overall performance.
“BTAs were introduced to bridge the relationship gap between business unit leaders and the technology teams. Prior to the BTAs, business units either ran their own shadow IT operations or stumbled through haphazard implementation of technology solutions without the requisite expertise. Worse still, business units often spend money on acquiring new solutions that are either already part of the technology stack or solutions that may already exist with similar capabilities and features. The BTAs ensure the needs of the business are understood, appropriately scoped, and the right solutions designed or implemented.” - Nemi George VP & Information Security Officer
How do you implement the BTA concept into your organization successfully?
Implementing the BTA concept successfully requires a clear understanding of your organization’s needs and a commitment to fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. For Nemi George, success looked like significant cost savings, improved partnerships with the business, and better alignment of the organization’s application portfolio and technology platform inventory, even creating an up-to-date Enterprise Architecture framework. Here are some steps you can take to introduce and support the role of BTAs within your organization:
Identify potential BTAs: Look for individuals within your organization who possess strong technical expertise and business acumen. These individuals should be passionate about technology and have a proven track record of driving change and promoting innovation.
Provide training and support: To be effective, BTAs need to stay current with the latest industry trends and developments. Invest in ongoing training and development opportunities to ensure your BTAs have the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about technology investments.
Establish clear goals and objectives: Work with your BTAs to develop a clear set of goals and objectives that align with your organization’s overall business strategy. This will help to ensure that technology investments are focused on driving meaningful improvements in performance and results.
Empower your BTAs: Give your BTAs the authority and resources they need to drive change and promote the adoption of new technologies. This may involve providing them with a dedicated budget, access to key decision-makers, or other forms of support.
Measure and track success: Establish metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the success of your BTAs and the impact of their efforts on your organization’s performance. This will help to demonstrate the value of the BTA role and ensure that it remains a priority within your organization.
What are the main benefits of the BTA Model?
There are several key benefits to adopting the BTA model within your organization, including:
Improved alignment between IT and business strategy: By acting as a bridge between the IT department and other business areas, BTAs can help ensure that technology investments are aligned with the organization’s overall strategy and objectives. This can lead to more efficient use of resources and a more substantial return on investment (ROI) for technology initiatives.
Increased innovation and competitiveness: BTAs are critical in promoting an organization’s innovation and continuous improvement culture. By encouraging the adoption of new technologies and fostering cross-functional collaboration, they can help to drive the development of new, innovative solutions that improve performance and drive business growth.
Enhanced decision-making: With a deep understanding of the technology landscape and the organization’s needs, BTAs can provide valuable guidance and insights that inform decision-making processes. This can lead to more informed technology investments and better overall performance.
Greater employee engagement and satisfaction: By breaking down silos between departments and fostering a collaborative, forward-thinking mindset, BTAs can help to create a more positive and engaging work environment. This, in turn, can lead to higher employee satisfaction and improved retention rates.
When considering implementing technology changes, it’s vital to consider the time and effort required to build trust with Business Technology Analysts . BTAs should maintain open communication with the organization to guarantee that new technologies align with the company’s objectives. Establishing clear roles and responsibilities for BTAs is crucial, as they are not solution architects. This approach minimizes tensions between teams and ensures that the appropriate technology teams are engaged in creating value for the organization’s future.
How technology executives can benefit from BTAs
Technology executives can derive significant value from working with business technology advocates, particularly in the following areas:
Strategic guidance: BTAs can provide valuable insights and recommendations that help technology executives make more informed decisions about technology investments. By ensuring that these investments are aligned with the organization’s overall strategy and objectives, technology executives can drive more significant results and improvements in performance.
Change management: BTAs can be critical in driving organizational change and fostering a culture of innovation. By partnering with technology executives to promote the adoption of new technologies and encourage cross-functional collaboration, BTAs can help to break down silos and create a more agile and responsive organization.
Talent development: BTAs can serve as mentors and role models for other employees within the organization, helping to develop the next generation of technology leaders. By investing in the growth and development of BTAs, technology executives can create a more robust and sustainable talent pipeline for their organizations.
“I see the BTA position growing into an enterprise-wide ideation & innovation committee, where solutions are developed and built for the organization. The BTA process will lead to more standardization, better cross-functional team efficiency, a simpler technology stack/platform, and more importantly, a technology-centered organization.” -Nemi George, VP & Information Security Officer
Business technology advocates are essential players in the modern organization, helping to drive innovation, improve decision-making, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. By investing in the development and support of BTAs, organizations can realize significant benefits in performance, competitiveness, and employee engagement. As a technology executive, partnering with BTAs can provide valuable strategic guidance and support, helping to ensure that your organization remains at the forefront of technology and innovation.
Looking to connect with a network of innovators like Nemi and Mostafa? The Vation Ventures Innovation Advisory Council brings together an exclusive global network of over 1,000 leading technology executives who meet to share insights and build partnerships, while gaining exposure to and advising early-stage companies. Join today.
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