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June 5, 2005

A Simple Formula for IT Optimization

Boris By Boris Pevzner

My regular readers know that, behind all the real-life examples and anecdotes that are part and parcel of this blog, lies a simple formula for IT transformation:

Next-Generation IT Delivery = Process Maturity + Service Orientation

Last week, Forrester Research published two reports that explore both parts of this winning strategy.

The first report,Stabilizing IT With Process Methodologies,” highlights the increasing pressure on the CIOs to implement IT process methodologies, such as ITIL and Six Sigma.  As I noted before, company executives often draw parallels to their core business in articulating the need for IT to become more process driven: “CEOs ask their CIOs to run IT more efficiently — more like manufacturing plants or item-processing centers.”  The report, lead-authored by Bobby Cameron who heads up Forrester’s CIO group, hits the nail on the head:

By mapping IT activities against the emerging standards for [process methodologies like ITIL and Six Sigma], CIOs can develop a plan for the incremental movement toward results. This will include adopting an IT services model, organizing to support that model — including identifying service owners — and delivering ongoing results through a continuous improvement approach.

To illustrate this approach in action, the report offers three case studies (AXA Tech, Cummins' Manufacturing Units, and Ingersoll-Rand’s IR Security & Safety business) that highlight the business benefits of adopting process discipline in IT.

The second report,SOA Will Change How IT Works,” is written by Alex Cullen from Laurie Orlov’s IT Management team.  It explores the drivers behind the transformation from “traditional IT” to “Service-Oriented IT,” and the underlying structural changes that need to happen in order to navigate this transformation successfully:

To be effective, the IT organization must develop an orientation around end-to-end business processes. A number of existing IT roles need to be redefined to ensure that this process orientation is reflected in IT's strategies and plans. Furthermore, the IT organizational structure itself should change to make these redefined roles effective and deliver service-oriented IT (SO-IT).

Taken together, these two Forrester reports further flesh out the core thesis on which the industry thought leaders have been virtually unanimous lately:

The key to achieving a step-function improvement in IT delivery is to layer well-defined repeatable IT delivery processes on top of well-defined standardized IT services.

But making this thesis a reality in your IT shop requires next-generation IT service delivery management solutions and tools, such as those offered by my company.

Posted on June 5, 2005 | Permalink

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