Real-life story published in Times of India of my IT Strategy for Successful Computerization. Describes how business oriented IT strategy & defining a Business Objective for every IT Project can result in computerization that yields direct business benefits

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COMPUTERISATION can take the path of routine work reduction if it is not given a direction and meaning by the business expert. Unless the Information Technology (IT) head is a good business analyst himself, his computerisation effort would be a shot in the dark without the torchlight of the business expert.

It is very rare to find an IT expert who is also an expert in the business for which he is developing systems. The business head can contribute very positively to the effectiveness of computerisation if he has done what could be called a 'Bottleneck Analysis' for his business - an analysis of where the shoe pinches the most.

The business head needs to make himself aware of the market forces, the critical success factors for his business, and the controllable and non-controllable parameters which affect the performance of his company. He should know which parameters when controlled or improved would yield the maximum results with minimum efforts.

The business head not only needs to do such an analysis himself, he also needs to educate his IT head. This will help the IT head in taking some very fundamental decisions which every IT head needs to make. For instance, it will help him decide where to utilise his limited resources in order that they yield maximum benefits. It will help him identify areas to computerise and to set their priorities. Most important of all, it will help him to design systems which can directly contribute to the business instead of using his resources in activities peripheral to the business.

Being in the IT profession, I have often asked several business heads what are the bottlenecks and the critical success factors for their business. I have asked this question to experts in several industries like the automotive tyres unit and sugar mill (where the process is repetitive), heavy engineering unit with jobbing work (where almost each order is a new process), Oil exploration business, Turnkey Construction business, etc. Surprisingly, not all had given a serious thought to the matter.

I will take up one simple case of a computer application in a sugar mill, namely farmers' accounting and their payments, to illustrate how a clear