My IT career commenced in operations and part of my responsibilities included ensuring that service levels were maintained, work was processed and that our systems were available as required. We delivered all aspects of technology from mainframe to network connectivity and ensured that the technology was managed effectively and efficiently. Cast the clock forward a few years and we have reached a tipping point where tablets, connected devices, embedded systems and the multiple forms of delivery are merging with an expectation of immediate gratification. It's almost as if the business has attention deficit disorder - which is being driven by consumers driving requirements and customer expectations that they can bring and use their device of choice. In addition, the use Facebook and Twitter has accelerated the methods and speed of interactions between individuals and within organizations.
It is a fact - the demand for business innovation leveraging technology innovations isn't flat, it's increasing. All of this is going on while executives are seeing flat budgets as the new normal.
The feedback that I have received from many of the organizations that I talk with is that innovation is being delivered too slowly! The perception is that skills and resources are misaligned and siloes are not fostering, but, inhibiting innovation.
Traditional service delivery often hampers the ability to improve time-to-value. The way that ideas work through an organization - how you prioritize what to develop - also isn't conducive to improving cycle time. These same organizations complain that their IT infrastructures are too expensive to sustain and maintain and we all know that while complexity increases, productivity decreases. The rule of thumb is that somewhere between 70% and 80% of IT budgets goes towards ongoing maintenance rather than driving innovation and changing the business to take advantage of new opportunities.
Managing the service lifecycle from an operational perspective has been the focus of traditional IT organizations. This included the planning and execution of development projects and resource allocation, as well as addressing production-related incidents, problems and changes. Focusing on these operational matters produces cost efficiencies in the high single-digits, which was satisfactory but not enough to move forward. The next step in the process is to simply automate everything and although this may work for a short while, it simply increases complexity and subsequently will come back to cause us pain.
As a result of the need for agility, innovation, and accelerated cadence of delivery we are required to transition our focus to delivering customer value, innovate rapidly and transform our focus to transforming our portfolio of investments and resources. In becoming agile and responsive to business needs, we need to provide the vehicle to drive double-digit cost efficiencies out of their current investments and resources and optimize the value of the portfolio of services IT provides.
Balancing operational excellence with strategic portfolio management is becoming a primary discipline and this requires the evolution of the IT professional into one of being both a business technology manager and a portfolio strategist who must manage the integrated IT supply chain as a service provider, broker and consumer. This transition, evolving from a pure operational role to a more strategic and business-oriented one is required to enable fact-based portfolio decisions, build business services that are well understood in terms of usage, value, price and cost, and the management of service performance at a business level.
To do this, the fundamental requirement is to change your focus from technology to business, from servers to productivity, from software to the end product, and it is pivotal to know what is of value to the business.
So when I embark on a journey, I have a plan that allows me to ensure that the work I do is in line with the portfolio and effectively leverages my investment levels to the business outcome. Once I have this plan, I build the solution, or my product or service to meet and deliver the outcomes defined in the plan with the full knowledge that over time I will be required to enhance the solution as the business outcomes mandates, which will be determined whilst running the service.
So as you transition your business, please note that you need to have an effective process in place that works closely with the business to empower the IT enabled business outcomes they require. And remember, we in IT are in business for them, the business is our reason for being.
So I am off to plan my next journey, how about you?
This blog also appear on the CA Project and Portfolio Management blog.