We hope you have enjoyed our series on how to increase the value of the corporate IT function. Our final article focuses on the critical need for IT to re-align its operating model and culture to deliver this value.
We are all familiar with this famous phrase widely credited to management guru Peter Drucker. Drucker believed that a company’s culture will prevent the successful implementation of its strategy if the two are not compatible or aligned. In our experiences working with IT, we have seen Drucker’s notion confirmed. Further, we find that driving changes in operating model and culture in IT are quite difficult – perhaps more than in other functions – given the significant change required to move IT’s mindset from delivering technology to delivering business value.
In our previous articles, we talked about the need for IT to:
These changes are significant and, at their cores, require a fundamental shift in operating model and culture. Unfortunately, neither are well understood and, importantly, are considered to be discrete and independent.
It is undeniable that operating model and culture are inextricably linked – just as hardware and software are – with the latter driving the former to operate as intended.
Commonly, we see organization transformations on a path to failure by limiting focus only on operating model (i.e., hardware) and, specifically, only one aspect thereof: organization structure. Changing your operating model requires fundamental shifts in: the work you do (and do not do); the business processes used to manage work; how, when, and where people collaborate and interface to get the work done; how decisions are made; and what is viewed to gauge success or failure.
In the past 15 years, a well-respected body of IT knowledge known as IT Service Management (ITSM) has emerged, providing us an excellent guide to understanding the changes in operating model, beginning with fundamental changes to business process (e.g., ITIL) that IT functions must implement in order to provide value-added services. Using ITSM as the basis for how IT ‘goes to market’ will enable the service management focus producing the outcomes business partners require by:
It is important to note that ITSM and ITIL are not blueprints or templates, but references and guides. Each organization must tailor them to fit their respective business needs.
While changing IT’s operating model is requisite, it is also wholly insufficient to fundamentally shift how IT engages with and serves its business partners. CIOs need to take a hard look at their organization’s culture to shape and shift the mindset, values and beliefs of their organizations to fully support a maniacal focus on value. Specifically, IT leadership – starting with the CIO – needs to answer the following:
CEOs need and expect more value from their IT functions given the central role of information technology in how a company plays and wins in the marketplace. Delivering on this expectation requires IT leaders to fundamentally transform the function, and the simple fact is that it is hard to do! Our closing words of advice to both business and IT leaders:
We hope you’ve enjoyed our series on IT transformation, and invite you to share your thoughts, perspectives and experiences on the topic.