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CIO’s: Aligning your Business to a Service Organization

Step 1 is Alignment, Step 2 is Service Benchmarking

All of these terms, SaaS, DaaS, BaaS, XaaS… promising enhanced innovation, cost savings, strategic business value. But how do you get there? How does your Organization harness these technologies. Cloud pitches are generic and not tailored to your Organizational needs, Your business is still left with the challenge of understanding how to use these services to your advantage, the challenge of re-inventing and implementing new processes and policies, restructuring and re-defining roles within your organization. The cloud is disruptive and requires an Organization-wide transformation to be effective. Change is onerous, you’ve seen the challenge, specifically on the implementation of large projects.

So what is the path to Enhanced Innovation, Cost Savings, and Strategic Business Value? How do you effectively change your existing processes and policies in a change-resistant culture. This is a big question that requires consideration of many factors, however the initial steps are Alignment and Benchmarking. Before I explain I’d like to discuss the communication gap between Business and IT. For years, it was Software and Infrastructure that defined the IT service that was delivered to the client. IT would generate some techno-bable such as the need for client-server, or web-based technology, or e-commerce without every really describing, or clearly understanding exactly how it would provide business value. Business value such as reduced costs, increased inventory turns, increased time to value etc. The technology was driven by IT personnel based on highly assumptive business requirements and business promises. IT was traditionally very optimistic – overoptimistic in many cases. IT would communicate results to Management in technical terms that were misinterpreted or not clearly understood. Objectives and their metrics were not clearly laid out. The result is that Business loses confidence in IT and treats IT as a cost-center as opposed to an innovator of competitive business advantage. Costs increase exponentially and spark consolidation projects. However, consolidation projects are still IT projects and are subject to the same historical pitfalls.

Many Governments and Large Businesses are still burdened with heavy processes and policy to manage change, resources, procurement, projects, assets, compliance, and liability. The process used to perform simple tasks can be cumbersome and convoluted and require governance to ensure process compliance.
With the advent of the Cloud, IT is transforming from a technology focus, to a service focus. Cloud also offeres another striking difference from historical project approaches. Cloud can be provisioned as fast, and in many cases, faster than software. Therefore, it is time to consider some new innovative approaches to IT service implementations. Suppose you have these two objectives. 1) Reducing Cost. 2) Improving IT Service. This is a great start – it articulates business objectives versus technical objectives. Now, if you are in business to save costs and improve your services – then you would also have business alignment with your organization’s mission. This is step 1: Alignment – you are on the right track. Now Step 2: Establishing your IT Service Benchmarks. First you need to establish what services it is that you are trying to improve. Again – you will have to go back to Step 1: to ensure that you have the right services that best “align” with your business objectives. Once you establish the IT services that you will be delivering – you will need to establish service benchmarks. Do you offer the service today? If so, do you measure them? If so, what do they cost? What do they cost per unit? How long does it take to provision? Are they available 7/24/365 or just 8 x5? Can they tolerate some downtime or can it never go down? If it does go down, how long does it take to recovery? And so on. The benchmarking process will capture the critical metrics you need to measure the improvement your services moving forward. Next time we’ll talk about Step 3: How to Implement New Services, until then, take a look at your IT. Does your organization articulate IT as services or technology? Do your IT services align with your organization’s objectives? Do you have established services, and service metrics?

– Paul J Harding and Dan Murphy – KasTech Inc.


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