A Framework for Success

Posted on : 19-03-2011 | By : jo.rose | In : General News

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As CIO’s look to balance innovation against a backdrop of cost efficiency, is it time to cherry pick the honours students from the report cards of those governance and control frameworks of recent years?

A quick scan through the back catalogue of control frameworks for technology organisations since the mid 90’s makes interesting reading. As IT leaders, we will all have been involved in various stakeholder roles during the implementation of industry standards, methodologies and governance processes. Some now have cemented their place within the CIO language whilst others have been, shall we say, less well adopted.

Of course, the measurement of success is never simple. It is not only a function of the processes themselves, but also has a number of other elements, such as the environmental landscape. These include key criteria criteria such as whether an organisation instils a command and control culture or one of collaboration and consensus.

Certain technology frameworks have become an integral part of the CIO toolkit over the years. These include ITIL, CMMi, COBIT, VAL IT and eSCM. However, if you ask any CIO’s opinion on the realised value, transformation journey and success of these, you will get very different answers.

We heard a story from a consultant who was engaged a few years ago on an ITIL strategy at a financial services company. The leadership view was that everyone else was “doing ITIL” and therefore they needed to be in the game ( sound familiar ? ). After several iterations of the operating model were sent back for what was relatively minor rework the question was posed “You’ve got no intention of implementing this have you ?”. Indeed, this was the case.

So what have we learn’t and what next ?

Practicality: There has often been a tendency for technology organisations to talk about control frameworks in their entirety or extremities. Indeed, one CIO declared that his development organisation should be CMMi Level 5 certified in order to work in effectively in tandem with services delivered externally offshore.

Practical ? Yes if they were also an external software development supplier for other clients, but for an internal organisation ?

The point is that they are by definition “frameworks”. As CIO Magazine columnist Dean Meyer mentioned in his cautionary view of ITIL. In this he included the five common pitfalls such as “becoming a slave to outdated definitions” and “letting ITIL become religion.”

Change Management: The application of appropriate control frameworks is inextricably linked to the Organisation Design (OD), dynamics, culture and politics of the receiving delivery model.

Organisational Change Management should begin with a systematic diagnosis of the current situation in order to determine both the need for change and the capability to change.

Climate: Never more so, the balance of delivering IT services more efficiently along with driving innovation for competitive advantage is a real challenge. Many traditional technologies are being commoditised; utility computing and services will turn the technology organisation 90 degrees and align much closer to the business demand; speed of delivery and location independence sit together as uncomfortable companions and the convergence of end user presentation layers are accelerating.

What next ? As we move forwards over the coming years we believe it is important to ensure that we apply these learning’s to the implementation of frameworks that bring increased value to the organisation. It is not about having a strategy or programme of work to implement isolation, but actually to have a Quality Management Framework that clearly sets out the priorities control processes based on the organisational characteristics.

“The key is to develop a Quality Management Framework”

Organisations should look towards Six Sigma techniques in relationship to frameworks such as ITIL to bring an engineering type approach. Also, applying Lean techniques promotes continuous improvement of processes and best practices.

As we look back at our experiences it will be important to select the honour students that will be needed even more in the difficult times ahead.