IT will transform or be transformed

Imagine for a moment that you get on the plane after using a valuable upgrade to get into a nice seat with allegedly better service, free movies (that you have probably already seen), a choice of meals and folks that call you by name. Unfortunately, you quickly realize that your expectations may need to be lowered. The staff keep skipping past you to take every body else’s order for the meal, skip you during the drink service and forget your name constantly, and the worst outcome of all — they forget to turn on the entertainment system.

The good news is that you reach your destination safely and on time – very important – but only by sitting through 10 hours of shocking (in a bad way) customer service. After you have traveled for a while on a single airline or airline group you become a captive audience to that airline. So what do you do? You suffer through a few bad experiences calling the airline, writing some emails, posting some tweets and the response is simply promises of better service or some points to your frequent flyer account.

Parallel this to the way that many businesses feel about their IT service delivery. Imagine that the business doesn’t get the level of agility it needs with change taking too long. There is too much perceived “process” which is exacerbated with poor or non existent communication with the business. The business perceives little or no value from IT, and simply views it as a necessary evil. Many organizations simply refer to IT as the office of “NO.”

IT doesn’t have to be this way and in short if we don’t transform we will be transformed.

When I spoke recently in Europe at a series of Application Portfolio Management events, a large part of the time was spent on the transformation that is taking place in many organizations. The transformation is sometimes by choice and sometimes imposed. I spoke to the head of IT with a large multi-country company who shared with me a story about the demise of the large central IT organization. The experience with the IT department was so bad that the business started investing directly in its own IT, creating a “Shadow IT” department. This was done initially for development; then they added delivery; and after 18 months there was no requirement for central IT.

The organization didn’t own a datacenter, all infrastructure was delivered by third parties and the business was managing the relationship with the suppliers closely and established contracts that allowed them to rapidly transition to an alternative supplier should the service not meet expectation.

Value propositions of IT were agility, end-user satisfaction, adoption of capability through growing market share all whilst the business was profitable. The response from IT to this delivery was defensive of course, asking internal audit to be involved to ensure that the correct checks and balances were in place, privacy laws were being complied with, data was secure, continuity requirements were in place and so on. After a few months of reviews and a few debates with the CIO, head of the business division, the CEO and the CFO, the outcome was an excellent for all involved. IT established an Office of the CIO in Group IT that set base guidance for security, data privacy, and retention and agreed to negotiate and monitor contracts with third party providers. The business was responsible for all development, meeting capability requirements and so on. The result? Capability was close to the business, the business was driving IT-enabled business value, the responsibilities for IT were clarified and a charge-back agreement for the services consumed was met.

Back to my airline experience, yes the experience is true and the outcome is that I am transforming myself to leverage significantly more virtual meetings. I have changed airlines and I have no issue using social media to communicate both my excellent and poor experiences.

So what do you think, are you transforming or will you find yourself transformed? Just call me Robert “Transformed” Stroud.

Article source: CA PPM Blog

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