Monday, January 31, 2011
George’s Conference Optimiser #1
George Spalding is providing a series of conference optimiser emails to registered attendees. In case you haven’t seen them I’ll share them here, mostly so that I get to spell optimiser with an “s” like the civilised countries do.
Hello to our Conference Attendees!
This is the first in a series of messages aimed at highlighting important points related to our upcoming annual event in Las Vegas. My name is George Spalding and I’ll be your Conference Host onsite.
1. Conference Agenda Builder
Before December 10th, please login to our exclusive Conference Attendee Website to access our Agenda Builder and help plan your day-to-day agenda. To login to the Conference Attendee Website, please use the following:
Username: Your email address at time of registration
Why is this important?
The Agenda Builder allows you to select the conference sessions you’re interested in attending; you can then print your agenda to help make more effective use of your time while at the conference site
It provides us with the information we need for capacity management and assigning breakout rooms as we want to make sure the rooms can accommodate everyone who plans to attend
It’s good practice to change your password once you login to the Conference Attendee Website. To change your password, please go to the ‘Change Password’ tab located at the top of the website’s homepage.
Not sure what sessions are right for you? View our sample itineraries.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Service Center at 1-888-273-PINK if you have any questions.
2. Extra Special Room Rates
As you are aware, Pink’s 2011 conference will be held at the beautiful Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas – one of the world’s highest rated and most beautiful hotels.
A block of rooms is reserved at very special rates for conference delegates as follows (taxes excluded):
$139 per night for February 14-17
$189 per night for February 18-26
To obtain the special rate, attendees must call Pink Elephant at 1-888-273-PINK before January 7th, 2011. Book early. Rooms are limited and subject to availability.
Visit the Bellagio website to see all the great amenities the hotel has to offer.
3. Free Webinar: “Cloud Computing & ITSM – A New Era Of IT”
Join Conference Platinum sponsor Service-now.com for a special webinar, December 2nd.
A new era of IT is here! Cloud computing and new service models have created unique opportunities and challenges that can only be properly addressed by modern alternatives to legacy systems and a fresh approach to process design and control.
Pink’s Troy DuMoulin, AVP Strategic Solutions, and Matt French, Service-now.com’s Director of Product Strategy, discuss the changing dynamics of IT and the impact of cloud computing and new sourcing models on IT service management. During the webinar they’ll take ITIL® a step further than the certification courses, and describe how to begin your IT transformation in an era of new IT.
See you in Vegas!
Toll Free: 1-888-273-PINK
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Service-Now: a passion for customer success
The Cloud is real. Much as I hose down some Cloud proponents’ wilder claims on my blog, there is a valid place for outsourced hosted applications and infrastructure. Take a walk around the Exhibit Hall to see a number of examples of the Cloud enveloping ITSM, not least of them being Service-Now our Conference Platinum Sponsor. Recently I asked some questions of Rhett Glauser of Service-Now:
Service-Now’s users sure are passionate. It is noticeable to outsiders like myself. What’s your secret? Something in the water at user conferences?
We actually serve Kool-Aid, but either way, thanks for noticing. Our passion for customer success is not lip service. It is the core of our business. We take great pride in our customer relationships and feel fortunate to work with the world’s most forward-thinking IT organizations.
We’ve never been good at keeping secrets. So here are five:
1. Build vs. acquire - Instead of acquiring incongruent software pieces, we build it all organically. This way we can develop applications faster and give customers a simply powerful and consistent technology experience.
2. Skin in the game - As a pure SaaS play, we must work every day to make sure our customers are successful with the service we provide. It is an ongoing relationship and if we don’t pull our weight, we risk losing a customer. The Service-Now business model puts skin in the game and instills trust with our users.
3. Roll the credits –Last year at our Knowledge user conference we rolled a list of credits at the end of Fred Luddy’s keynote address. It was comprised of dozens and dozens of customer names next to a feature or application they influenced or helped develop. Our ability to take customer feedback and include it in a Service-Now release four months later sets us apart. This is no small task considering we’ve been doing it for six years now.
4. Never stop – We have our eyes focused on the horizon instead of the rear-view mirror. Service-Now is bent on continual, rapid development and issues three major releases per year. For example, the Service-Now Winter11 release includes lots of new apps for social IT and IT governance, risk and compliance. Long-term software road maps are vendor guessing games and are quickly becoming a thing of the past considering the continual pace of change we see in the market.
5. Customer success is paramount - The biggest opportunity and challenge for us has been customer growth. As such, our customer care organization is the largest department in the company. They will soon announce several new programs to further improve the Service-Now customer experience.
This drastic reengineering of the IT service management tool experience has been very well received. We consider it common sense, combined with good timing.
You should bottle that and sell it to other app vendors. You’d make as much as you do from the product. I have to say “app vendors” not “software vendors” because you don’t sell software do you?
Right, we sell a service. If you’re going to say we sell software, you need to include a caveat. Service-Now is software that just works. Everybody uses amazing applications and services available on the consumer and social Web. Why not take the goodness from this model and apply it to the enterprise IT application market? Innovators like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix and Google all started with a clean slate. Our success was possible because we started with a fresh perspective, no baggage and a passion to do things right from the start. It would be pointless to bottle this perspective and sell it to existing vendors. They wouldn’t know where to begin. There is a stark difference between legacy and modern technologies and business models. In a fraction of the time and cost, Service-Now has caught and surpassed the competition, allowing us to deliver on the vision of IT 3.0 in short order.
What’s the big deal about a database for incident and change tickets with some front-end screens? Lots of sites have built their own home-grown solutions.
You are right, there really is not much to it. If you ask Fred, he suggests Service-Now is simply a forms-based workflow system organizing a bunch of relational data. But then the question is, why is there so much tool complexity in the industry?
Secret #6 (bonus!) is a core tenet of ServiceNow development: By design, keep it simple. Maybe the need for simplicity is why some IT organizations decide to build their own tools.
Or maybe it is because the IT people know the needs of their business better than any tool vendor ever will. Who is a vendor to tell a customer what process is best? Isn’t it possible a best practice to one person might be a worst practice to another? And how in the world could a one-size-fits-all tool ever be beneficial to unique, living and breathing organizations?
We feel IT folks are inherently creators, fixers and doers. We sense the IT community wants to transform IT but needs some help from the vendor community. We are working to set them free with a flexible tool and a platform as a service. In doing so, we hope to give cloud power to IT and provide a clean slate for IT 3.0. And we never forget that our customers, not us, know what is best for their business.
Old codgers like me get worried about change. We talked about it in last year’s interview. I guess I can learn to live with changes just happening outside change process, but how about user notification and training? How often does the look-and-feel change? And do users freak out if one morning it’s different?
We broke new ground by selling SaaS and cloud to the old codgers in IT when the other ITSM vendors thought it would never catch on. The original SaaS vendors did an end around IT when selling their wares directly to the sales or marketing organizations.
Early on, we knew it was going to be a tough sell. We also knew we had to embrace the IT organization’s penchant for control and formal change and release process.
Again, we’ve been busy giving control back to IT. It is a common misconception to believe SaaS and cloud are enemies to change control. Frankly, with the proliferation of fluid cloud services and virtualization, change management is exponentially more essential and the good cloud vendors work with customers to support good process.
In the case of Service-Now, our customers each get several instances of the application and ultimately control changes to their production instance. At a more granular level, as I mentioned before, Service-Now upgrades are intelligent and know not to touch customer customizations and configurations while providing the ability to pick and choose enhancements that just might be better than their own creations.
So yes, users freak out when stuff “automagically” changes, but they freak out in a good way. They know they have the power to keep their unique changes while receiving new application and functionality goodness you’d expect from a SaaS application.
What’s Service-Now’s take on the whole social thing? Even Pink are on that bandwagon with their recent acquisition of ServiceSphere. Isn’t social media just another channel to users? Where’s the beef?
Pink Elephant used to be a nice, unassuming outfit that knew how to mind its manners. Then they got crazy, gave you the keys to their blog, and acquired ServiceSphere. But it doesn’t end there. Rumor has it George has a Twitter account. Do the lawyers know about this?
While some would say, “there goes the neighborhood.” I say, “the neighborhood just added a bunch of new people and scheduled a non-stop block party.” Never before have ITSM people and their collective knowledge been better connected. This is good.
It’s crazy to witness the evolution. User expectations are now based on familiarity with the social and consumer Web. Social IT will represent new channels for IT service and support that are natural and intuitive to these users.
We consider traditional social media to be a precursor and training ground for what is coming in social IT. Social, like SaaS, is the natural progression of what used to be called software. It is a key component of what we call IT 3.0, where all technology and process acquiesce to the needs of the people and the business.
I’ve already used a couple of barrels of ink answering your questions and I’m sure ITSM pros will have many more questions about this topic. I’d recommend they attend the upcoming Pink Elephant Conference & Expo and go to one of Chris Dancy’s sessions or the ServiceNow customer panel discussion on social IT. We’ll also have a booth there with some social people in it.
Things to do in and around Las Vegas #5
We’ve been talking about Las Vegas’s less talked about attractions. For the more energetic reader, try Bootleg Canyon Flight Lines (yes you can turn off the annoying music, down the bottom right corner of the page.)
I note you have to walk up. I’m already going off the idea. It doesn’t look quite as much fun as the Fly By Wire that was running a few miles from here in New Zealand (note the sheep) but I foolishly never got round to trying. Carpe diem!!
One ride I would like to try if my body’s weight/height ratio is still within bounds is the Indoor Sky Diving.
I never could understand the attraction of jumping out of a functional aeroplane, but flying in a vertical wind tunnel - THAT I could like.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Taking Charge Of The Value Conversation
Welcome to another of our “Real Professors” interviews. Today we talk to Dr. George Westerman, Research Scientist, Center For Information Systems Research, MIT Sloan School of Management. Dr. Westerman is back with two new conference sessions this year:
Jumpstarting Innovation In IT: IT professionals are very well-positioned to generate innovation – whether the business knows it or not. Within IT there is an understanding of how technology powers the business and how new technologies and practices might improve business processes. IT leaders don’t need to ask permission before creating innovation capabilities. Innovation need not be very expensive or difficult. But it does take a CIO or other IT leader who is willing to invest their attention, support, and a few resources into making innovation happen.
Taking Charge Of The Value Conversation: Whether or not business executives see IT as a strategic advantage in the firm, IT leaders can change that image for the better. It starts by changing the way you talk with business counterparts and then gradually steering the value conversation in useful directions.
We asked Dr Westerman some questions on both topics. Today we’ll look at “The Value Conversation”:
Many of my clients suffer from a lack of business credibility - that disrespect you refer to. If there is a history of IT failing to understand and deliver value, how does one even get the access, the opportunity to start changing perceptions?
That’s what our book “The Real Business of IT” is all about. If you want to change from disrespected cost center (or order taker) to strategic partner, start with yourself and your IT unit. Then the business executives will follow. We’ve seen again and again that CIOs can change the perception of their IT units, even if the business side of the house is not interested in listening yet. They take a series of three steps: to think differently, to show value for money in managing IT, and to be very clear how every IT investment is an investment in business improvement. Each step builds credibility and relationships that lead to a more strategic role. Business executives see the contribution you can make, and naturally start to invite you into more strategic roles. Let’s look at each of the three steps on the path to value.
The first step is to think differently. Everything you say about IT should be in language that business people understand. Everything you say should focus on making yourself easier to work with, not on teaching them how to make your life easier. Avoid the value traps—unconscious or conscious habits we think are good ideas but actually get in the way of building a stronger IT/business relationship. Many of the things we do in IT make it very clear that we are different from the business, or that we’re just a cost, or that we’re not strategic. No wonder so many IT units are stuck in the box they’re in. We’ll say more on that in a minute.
Next, show value for money. You need to show, using simple business-oriented language, that you provide the right services at the right level of quality and the right price. This does not need to be the best quality and the best price – just the right ones for your business. By showing value for money you gain credibility as a manager of your own domain. Then you can start to change the way others interact with IT. But if you can’t show value for money, nobody will even listen if you try to do more.
The third step is to change the way that you and your business colleagues invest in IT. Every project should have a clear business case that is credible and measurable. That means getting away from just putting a dollar figure on a project and hoping it’ll come out. Effective CIOs focus on the specific operational measures – such as it’s inventory turns, length of calls in the call center, or new services added to existing clients – each project will change, and by how much. Then they close the loop to see whether those measures moved the way they were supposed to. This creates what we call a “virtuous cycle of value” that helps everyone learn with each project. This is very different from most companies, where business cases are magic, and few actually follow up to see what happened.
What happens next really is magical. As business executives look for someone to take on a role, whether it’s strategy or operations or innovation or shared services, they see you as someone they might want to do the job. What you’ve done is make yourself easy to work with, and they realize they’re more successful by working with you. Then they choose to work with you on more things.
This path to value – thinking differently, showing value for money, and making every IT investment about business value—is easy to talk about, but tougher to implement. However, we’ve seen in dozens of companies that IT leaders are able to change the perception of their IT units, even if the business side wasn’t willing to participate at first. The first steps don’t require business people to do anything differently. But as you get through the steps, they become willing to work differently with you.
There is always a team engaging with the business, which includes BAs, IT designers, service delivery managers and support staff. How to get them all singing the new song?
Be really clear on why the change is needed, and what the right thinking and behaviors look like. Earlier, I mentioned the idea of “value traps”. These are practices, such as being overly technology-focused, or treating the business as your customer, that actually get in the way of the kind of change you should be seeking.
- The technology value trap is clear; most IT leaders, having grown up in technology, have no idea how “techy” they sound in the eyes of non-IT executives. That means you’re speaking a language they don’t understand, or even care to understand, and that means they won’t respect you as a potential strategic colleague.
- The business-as-customer value trap is more subtle but just as bad. If you say a business executive is your customer, you’re reinforcing in her head that you’re something different from the business. You subtly make yourself into a vendor, and we all know how we treat our vendors. Even more, it can lead to an unconscious perception that ‘the customer is always right.” And we know that business customers sometimes need to be told that there’s a better way to accomplish what they want. Your job is not to be a vendor to the business. It’s to be a business person with a technology specialty – just like marketing people and manufacturing people are specialists but still part of “the business”. For example, you never hear the head of sales talking about “aligning with the business.” Why should the head of IT?
Is it necessary to change the faces? That is, can individuals credibly change their language to a more business-oriented and value-oriented conversation, or does one have to bring in new people? In particular can a CIO change its spots?
It’s certainly easier to do this when you’re new leader, because you’re expected to make some changes. And often you’re brought in because something wasn’t working. But you don’t need to be new to make the change. You just need to be able to convince your IT colleagues that change is needed, and then make the changes happen.
And by the way, it’s important to get started. The latest Gartner survey shows that 24% of all CIOs have never had a job in IT before becoming CIO. Business people want an IT leader who they can work with. So, if you don’t make the change, it’s likely the business executives will find someone who can.
Can you give us a sneak preview of what you have learned with the new research on IT metrics?
We’re still analyzing the new work on metrics. But it shows, through different methods, a remarkably similar story. We show that there are three categories of metrics to bring into the conversation: operations, projects, and innovation. There are also three levels of scope for each of these metrics categories: IT metrics, business process metrics, and business metrics. CIOs who focus too much on IT metrics don’t get to have the rest of the conversation. But business metrics, such as revenue and profitability are often a few steps too far removed from IT projects to be truly measureable and credible. Effective CIOs focus on showing IT performance in business terms until they have buy-in that IT unit performance is good enough. Then, they stop focusing on IT metrics. They move to showing how IT projects improve the business, using process measures and occasionally business measures. Then, once you’re up the path, you can focus on business measures because the rest is working well.
What’s critical is the conversation, not the metrics. You’re using metrics to steer the conversation and frame discussions, but the conversation is what it’s about. Too many metrics programs lose their way because they focus on the metrics as ends in themselves. The conversations – bolstered by, but not focused on the metrics—are what will help you build credibility and trust with your business colleagues. And that’s what you want. In fact, once the relationship is there and you’ve reached that strategic partnership, many of the metrics are delegated to other people. Your conversations then focus on strategy and business performance.
Also see this other recent interview with Dr Westerman. It is also interesting to see the connections with our recent interview with Dr. Lynn Phillips on Value Transformation which I think resonates with Dr. Westerman’s views on using business process measures and business measures - learning to think and talk in customer terms.
Friday, January 14, 2011
The latest in our series of interviews with “Real Professors” is a conversation with Dr. Lynn Phillips, a renowned executive educator and former award-winning Stanford business school professor. Dr. Phillips is one of the original co-creators and developers of many of the essential customer-focus and value-delivery frameworks, concepts, tools, and disciplines that are employed by leading companies worldwide to hone their competitive edge, reinvent their businesses, and drive sustained growth.
In his session at the Conference, Value Transformation: Increasing The Capacity Of IT Services Organizations To Choose & Deliver Winning Customer Value Propositions, Dr Phillips looks at how leading IT services organizations can choose a winning customer value proposition (VP), and then architect and systematically execute a designed value delivery system (VDS) to deliver that VP profitably. The methodologies and protocols developed by Dr. Phillips help business teams to “become” their targeted customer community by “spending a day in their life,” thereby gaining an imaginative understanding of their unmet needs, transcending what the customers themselves could imagine on their own. This breakthrough approach, pioneered by Dr. Phillips and his co-authors and colleagues, is now the de facto standard deployed by countless leading-edge companies pursuing new-business opportunities.
Here is an edited version of our conversation. The full interview can be found here with more to say especially regarding the first question.
How well does the typical IT services organization understand their value?
Unfortunately, not too well. Most IT services organizations never choose, and then commit to, a superior and profitable value proposition (VP) and value delivery system (VDS) for each major segment of customers they seek to serve. Such a VP/VDS lineup should be (but usually isn’t) based on an imaginative understanding of the unmet needs of the organization’s targeted customer communities—insights that transcend what the customers themselves can imagine on their own.
Instead, the typical IT services organization tends to implement some de facto VP and VDS lineup, based on one or more less-than-winning value-delivery mindsets. There are numerous examples of these mindsets; as I describe them, I’ll bet your readers will recognize them.
They include, for example, the internally-driven, technology-obsessed mindset: IT service management professionals and organizations that evince this mindset are all about creating and selling what they are good at, based on what is exciting and interesting and leading-edge in technology gadgets and application functionality—instead of creating and selling what customers would truly want and value. While this mindset may seem like an outdated legacy of the past, believe me, it’s still very much alive and well and prevalent in the IT industry. IT service management professionals and organizations with this mindset tend to view the world inside-out, not outside in, viewing the population of customers they seek to serve through their own techno-centric lens, which they regard as a cure-all for most all problems.
Then there’s the customer-compelled mindset, an outside-in mindset that is influenced by external forces—albeit the wrong ones—namely, the seductively alluring “voice of the customer.” IT professionals and organizations with this mindset inevitably pursue the question of “What value should our IT services organization deliver?” by asking their target customers what they want, and then responding reactively to what they say. Contrast this to the much more disciplined process of asking IT services business teams to vicariously “spend a day in the life” of their customers in order to deeply understand their needs, and then creatively infer solutions that transcend what customers ask for (or can even imagine) on their own.
Next, there’s the imitation-inspired mindset. As you can deduce from its name, this is all about copying competitors’ moves, instead of proactively developing IT- enabled customer-centric strategies based on hard-to-replicate VPs and VDSs that disrupt and derail rivals’ business models and forestall commoditization. After all, it’s commonplace in the IT industry to “benchmark off competitors,” and especially off of the perceived market leaders (e.g., think of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant Charts which rank and stack industry leaders based on the assessment of their application capabilities and services-delivery expertise). Evaluating and scoring competitors against an “industry standard” inevitably encourages imitation-inspired thinking and the standardization of offerings, thus contributing to the rapid and rampant commoditization of IT products and services that’s so prevalent in today’s IT industry.
Then there’s the cost-and commodity-driven value delivery mindset, in which IT professionals and their organizations tend to perceive themselves largely as mere “body shops,” selling people and time at ever-narrower margins in a fated-to-fail cost shootout—a mindset that is often correlated with and coexists alongside the just-mentioned imitation-inspired benchmarking of rivals. This cost-oriented and commodity-driven mindset stands in sharp contrast to the customer-centric idea of an IT services provider creatively wrapping their “commodity” products and people inside a differentiated services wrapper that forestalls commoditization in the first place.
Each of these types of suboptimal mindsets described above (and others) dominate the landscape of IT services management professionals and organizations today; only maybe 5-10 percent of IT service providers actually implement and act upon the outside-in, customer-centric operating philosophy that is at the heart of the Value Transformation ideas we teach.
Yet the organizations that operate this way are invariably poised for Darwinian success: Research shows that companies that do operate this way consistently deliver profitable value for customers and shareholders alike—while out-growing their competitors and earning supranormal returns on invested capital. IT services providers and organizations that want to distinguish themselves in an ever more competitive and global IT marketplace would do well to heed this advice.
What is the history of value transformation? Where do the ideas originate from?
“Value Transformation” is a term that was coined by a senior executive at Lockheed Martin (Stan Sloane, who is now CEO of SRA International), with whom my firm Reinventures was engaged for a number of years. At the time, in the mid-2000s, Stan ran Lockheed’s IT services and other national-security business divisions (then called Integrated Systems and Solutions). Value Transformation was predicated on the idea that enterprise-wide adoption of a customer-centric operating philosophy by all functional agendas—not just business development—could systematically improve the ability of an enterprise to increase contract win-rates and improve contract execution.
Value Transformation was Stan’s name for an initiative that aimed to do this and was successful, later spreading to other businesses in Lockheed Martin, including Space Systems and others. While many factors affect contract win-rates, during the several years that the Value Transformation initiative was implemented, hundreds of capture and keep-sold teams used the ideas to choose and deliver winning customer value propositions to targeted customers. Indeed, in 2003 alone, Lockheed Martin’s Integrated Systems and Solutions business unit won an astonishing 89 of every 100 dollars it bid under Stan’s leadership, and these supranormal win rates persisted for a number of years. Stan was like many great leaders we meet in our practice—someone who intuitively understood and grasped the value delivery precepts we teach but needed help with their institutionalization enterprise wide.
More generally, today, “value transformation” (generically) refers to the ability of any enterprise to dramatically improve its capacity to choose and deliver winning customer value propositions in a changing competitive landscape. The key concepts of value transformation—VP and VDS—were originally coined by Michael Lanning, a McKinsey consultant. Michael and I worked together for over ten years to further co-develop these concepts into frameworks and toolsets that are now employed by leading-edge enterprises worldwide, including the crucial underlying methodology of how to choose and deliver a winning VP by employing insights from multifunctional teams that take deep dives to understand “the day in the life of the customer.” Indeed, this foundational methodology has become increasingly crucial in IT-related market spaces that are undergoing dramatic change, such as in the national-security-related markets, where the threat space is evolving as quickly as the mandates from the government to evolve IT and run it like a business; as well as with companies seeking to expand aggressively into the emerging markets of the future, such as China, India, Brazil, and Africa, where it is imperative that new business teams bridge social distance to understand these customer communities.
Since this initial development of value transformation ideas and precepts, numerous other scholars and practitioners have added to the literature on best practices for choosing and delivering winning VPs, including Geoffrey Moore, Michael Porter, Clayton Christensen, and C. K. Prahalad, among many others.
Is a “value delivery system” the stuff of big companies? Or does it work just as well for smaller organisations? How much resources are required to understand the value proposition and implement a VDS?
That’s a great question, and it’s one that far too many organizations overlook. VP and VDS are not just the stuff of big companies, as our client list attests. We have worked with hundreds of enterprises, from Silicon Valley start-ups to $100 billion enterprises, on VP and VDS transformational challenges. The amount of resources required to understand and choose the right VP and implement a winning VDS varies widely. That’s because the answer depends upon the time and resource constraints of the business in question; the extant knowledge and wisdom the business possesses about the target customer communities it seeks to serve; the orthodoxies and biases they must overcome that are the residue of their legacy business models; the imminence and immediacy of the transformation challenges the business faces; and so on.
But the key point here is this: All businesses will implement some VP and VDS lineup, whether they consciously, deliberately, and explicitly choose to do so, or not. And believe me, choosing is better than not choosing and hoping for the best—and choosing with some facts is better than locking teams into rooms and having them stare at their navels and ask themselves what their core competencies are, what they are good at, etc. This, as you can well imagine, will only yield VPs based on hopelessly inside-out mindsets. Consequently, our practice has covered the entire gamut: We have worked with enterprises that have spent millions to understand their markets as a basis for choosing and delivering superior VPs in a global competitive landscape; we have also worked with businesses that could only devote a few days and limited resources to this task. But regardless of where they reside on the time-and-budget continuum, all the teams that participated in these engagements invariably reduced their risk profile in this process and changed key elements of their go-to-market value-delivery mindsets.
“Reinventing business” sounds like a major investment. How does one determine the value of undertaking such a transformation?
It’s not as intimidating as you might think, and as I noted before, we’ve worked with organizations of all stripes and sizes to help them get it right. What we do is, we work with businesses to help them architect the VP and VDS they must execute in order to win in a changing competitive landscape, based on an imaginative understanding of unmet customer needs, market discontinuities, and the expected moves of rivals. We then work with teams to forecast the wealth-generation potential of this new VP and VDS architecture, including the investment required, the timing of those investments, etc., all of which can be compared to their baseline business model.
Where have you seen uptake of your techniques? Is there a “typical” user of value transformation?
We have helped a number of commercial IT services providers accomplish value-transformational goals for the customer communities they seek to support as service providers. Indeed, one recent project we did entailed interviewing 25 CIOs worldwide on the challenges they faced in delivering value to their customer communities, and the implications for IT service providers becoming their trusted advisor for IT-enabled business transformation.
We’ve also done extensive work with “extreme test” exemplars of IT transformation: those in the defense and intelligence sectors, where not just dollars, but lives are at stake. Some of our recent engagements have dealt with customer communities that include national-security customers. These communities operate at the leading edge of IT enablement of critical missions, where IT’s ability to play a proactive trusted-advisor role means more than just business mission success—it’s the difference between crucial national-security missions succeeding or failing, and lives being saved or lost.
Similarly, we’ve worked shoulder-to-shoulder with internal IT service organizations at many companies to help them deliver better value, at lower cost, to the internal customer constituencies and stakeholders they serve.
And that’s just on the IT side. In the last year alone, we’ve worked with all kinds of high-profile companies operating globally in diverse sectors, from media to mining to steel to insurance to fast food, to mention just a few.
So to answer your question, the “typical” user of value transformation is really any organization that’s truly committed to increasing its capacity to deliver surpanormal profitable customer value in a rapidly changing landscape.
Get along to this session at the conference and look out for Dr. Phillips’ more extensive half-day workshop on the same topic.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Monty Python Anne Elk’s Theory “All brontosauruses are thin at one end, and much thicker in the middle and thin again at the far end” came to mind when looking at the state of Service Management process improvement using the ITIL framework. Going back 10 years the knowledge and interest in ITIL (at least in North America) was like very “thin” and then circumstances of business show-stopping infrastructure failures and legislated audits forced an interest bulge in improving IT services delivery and support; But lately the progress of implementing service improvement seems to have dwindled - this certainly isn’t a quick win project and seeing results takes a long time - if in fact baseline measurements were taken and improvement measurements implemented. ITIL training for certifications remains constant, but something is definitely lacking in the implementation of service management practices.
Service Management process improvement makes sense – the processes are basically business service management principles for IT and as I have said before, IT is just as much a part of the business as the business units delivering and supporting the organization’s services and products to their customers.
Service Management tools have made tremendous strides in developing their technology to enable and automate service management processes, but customers aren’t ready to fully use all the functionality as their processes haven’t been fully developed and implemented. The technology is so configurable that I expect many IT departments end up configuring the tools to support their dated, current and sometimes dysfunctional processes.
So we have Process and Technology improvements but we are missing the third leg of the stool. Organizations have not addressed the People and Organizations to facilitate the transformation of reactive, technology-focused IT departments to proactive, service-focused business (IT) departments.
It is time to address the People / Organization requirements to kick-start the stalling service management improvements. Where are the other supporting departments like HR, Facilities, Finance and Procurement groups? They need to be involved to make this happen! The organizations that IT supports depend on this integrated approach to make a difference and be successful.
In the words of Anne Elk “that is my theory that I have and which is mine and what it is too”.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Things to do in and around Las Vegas #4
We have been doing a series of posts on things to do in and around Las Vegas. Last time we talked about museums of interest to
geeks those interested in technically-oriented topics. Still on the topic of Las Vegas museums this time, perhaps you’d prefer something more cultural than technical. Sadly the Las Vegas Art Museum closed in 2009. The Guggenheim Hermitage Museum (at the Venetian) went the same way, proving that highbrow culture is not a formula for success in Las Vegas. (To be fair, our own host the Bellagio displays some serious fine art. Particularly at “Picasso”, the fine dining restaurant with 100s of millions of dollars of Picasso originals adorning the walls.) At the other end of the spectrum the Liberace Museum had to close and I believe the Guinness World Of Records Museum is also closed.) But there are plenty of other museums devoted to Vegas’s own kinds of culture.
We’d have to start with The Erotic Heritage Museum. I have no idea what it is like: the mind boggles. But I’m game to find out. Good luck working out where it is from the website.
Along entirely different lines is Bodies at the Luxor, featuring real human bodies: 13 whole-body specimens and more than 260 organs and partial body specimens. Go right after lunch.
I’ve always been intrigued by the USA’s ambivalent attitude to crime and violence. I’m sure the The Fight Museum is a fascinating place for those so inclined. Since it is inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, you’ll have no trouble finding it. Sadly you’ll have to leave seeing The Mob Museum until the 2012 Conference. It’s not open yet. There isn’t a better place for it than Las Vegas of course. Reportedly another Mob museum will be open at the Tropicana in time for the 2011 Conference. Can’t have too much of a good thing, at least not in Vegas.
All jesting aside, the State of Nevada has a whole suite of excellent museums including those devoted to my own passion - railroads.
Friday, January 07, 2011
If my PMO is run by a PMP why do I need PRINCE2 in my organization?
The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is based in a set of processes and knowledge areas. It is just that, a body of knowledge meant to provide a framework of best practices for individuals to use as they manage projects within their organizations. Training within this body of knowledge takes on an individual focus, generally aimed at those individuals managing or “running” the projects.
PRINCE2 is different than PMBOK, but they can and do work together. PRINCE2 is a methodology, and is therefore much more prescriptive in nature. The focus is much more organizational and a central intention is to provide a governance process structure to business projects within the organization. Its prescriptive nature provides a series of checklists to be used within the governance structure. All projects are meant to be connected to the business drivers. The PRINCE2 methodology is meant to ensure this connection throughout the life of the project.
PRINCE2 does provide consistency of language, words, and terminology for all project participants and stakeholders. This outcome is often listed as a second significant benefit to training project participants and stakeholders.
Saturday, January 01, 2011
New Year’s resolutions for a better IT Management in 2011
Last year I made some IT Service Management New Year’s resolutions that I think I may actually have kept, some of the time. This year the Pink Elephant conference is about “IT Management” rather than “IT Service Management”. What resolutions shall I make about better IT management?
First I resolve to pay respect to Governance of IT by spreading the word to those who matter: the governors of IT. The real governors are of course the executive management and Board of Governors (or equivalent) of the organisation, but too often they still abdicate responsibility, expecting IT to run itself ungoverned or under-governed. The ISO 38500 standard champions bringing accountability home to where it belongs. So too do SOx, Basel II (and I presume Basel III) and to a lesser extent COBIT. (COBIT 4.1 has a wishy-washy confused view of governance. Too much reference to “governance” in COBIT is actually meaning “management” - a common problem in the IT industry. COBIT5 is supposed to fix this.) But the message isn’t being heard everywhere. Go tell it on the mountain!
Second I resolve to reduce the frequency with which I use the word “service”. Even though service management is the almost universally accepted viewpoint for managing IT operations, the realisation is growing that ITSM is just about management of IT. The word “service” is redundant in “ITSM”, hence the name change for the Pink Elephant conference. There remains the issue of where solutions development fits in this picture. Which leads to my next resolution.
This year I am going to pay close attention to Operational Readiness. OR is a concept sprinkled throughout ITIL but nowhere given proper focus (like Risk, Project Management, HR, Training…). I think it is a practice in its own right (what ITIL would call a “process”). OR gets involved from standards and architecture, through Availability Management, project inception, design and testing all the way to operational acceptance and production deployment. It is not just some gating function. Lack of proper OR is the cause of many early service failures. When ITIL called the transitional go-live phase Early Life Support they were unintentionally making a point: many services are in intensive care from birth.
Finally I resolve to make People Change the basis of everything I do. Process change is ineffective without behaviour change. Process improvement is pointless without culture improvement. In fact process improvement is a misnomer: it is culture improvement. Read my lips: Continual Service Improvement (CSI) is people improvement. All of it. When I help a client with CSI I will put in place:
- Getting the right people into the right jobs
- Individual professional development: attitude, skills and knowledge
- Knowledge transfer (stop calling it “knowledge management”. Knowledge is worth nothing a s a status commodity in a bucket): getting the right knowledge to the right people. E.g. we could start actually really training the service desk staff before a new system goes live.
- A formal permanent ongoing cultural change programme (I call it “Service Excellence”). which is one part of…
- A formal permanent ongoing CSI programme which manages all aspects of improvement: people, process, technology and partners.
With resolutions such as these, we can all work for better IT Management in 2011. Happy New Year!