uGovernIT

A Practical Approach for IT Governance

Archive for November 2013

The Funny Side of Metrics

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As I started touting the pre-built analytics in the way our tool helps CIOs manage the business of IT, an internal review with my team brought out an interesting point that everyone needs to consider.

 The case in point, I was talking about was the efficiencies gained in the way our tool implemented ITIL’s framework.  I was boasting about the configurability, the ease of creating and deploying a new service, the significant cost savings from the automated workflows, etc.    This is good for most services, but for services that are designed to fix issues, it is the not the efficiency that matters at all.  The key point here is can we do away with the service?  In other words, can we focus on the issue not being an issue at all?  The way we can achieve this is preventing the issue from happening in the first place.  For example, the metric how many services performed by IT staff does not apply in this area.  The metric would be how few services were performed without disruption of IT functionality delivered. 

 Let us not get carried away though – analytics are essential to understand the value of IT we deliver.  And I will continue to tout it as the way CIOs can transform IT departments from a cost center to a value and innovation center.

Written by Subbu Murthy

November 30, 2013 at 9:53 am

Posted in Analytics, Helping CIOs

Success in Managing IT Projects

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Historically many IT projects fail.  According to McKinsey and Company, based on a 2012 study, on average, large IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time, while delivering 56 percent less value than predicted.  This blog is not about examining the causes of failures such as scope creep or ill-structured requirements, but rather focus on the nature of project management itself.

Most projects are designed top down using a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).  The WBS  approach appears to be very logical as it groups project tasks into chunks and creates a structure around the chunks.  In itself, WBS cannot be blamed, but the challenge is that chunks change, and frequently.  Agile methodologies have emerged as an answer to manage the dynamics of changes, and clearly collaborative project management tools have also emerged as companions to agile methodologies.  This is a good step, but tools and processes alone are not enough.  Good people, be it traditional WBS approaches or agile techniques, are the essential to getting success.  Not a bad group to thank in the holiday season.

Written by Subbu Murthy

November 29, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Posted in IT Governance

Forrester’s Top Ten IT Priorities for 2014 – A Quick Review

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What a disappointment!  Not that I am fan of IT predictions, nor am I a big fan of analysts in this space, even given that, I expected more of firms like Forrester.  Their top ten predictions were:

  1. Digital convergence erodes boundaries
  2. Digital experience delivery makes (or breaks) firms
  3. APIs become digital glue
  4. The business takes ownership of process and intelligence
  5. Firms shed yesterday’s data limitations
  6. Sensors and devices draw ecosystems together
  7. “Trust” and “identity” get a rethink
  8. Infrastructure takes on engagement
  9. Firms learn from the cloud and mobile
  10. IT becomes an agile service broker (or fades away)

The top ten predictions (save for the last one) were something that could have been written in 2001! The last one is quite interesting.  Service oriented architecture that originated in IT to manage services is now spreading to other areas of the enterprise.  IT needs to encourage and facilitate these services.  Fortunately a number of tools are coming together in the market place to leverage this trend.  This will not only foster efficiencies in the organization but bridge the gap between users and IT.

Written by Subbu Murthy

November 26, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Posted in IT Governance

A Second Chance

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Remember the old adage – do it right the first time?  Clearly identifying the scope properly, good planning, good design and sound implementation are essential to getting it right the first time.  However, we have shifted.  We want to make mistakes and learn from them.  In fact, we encourage rapid development of smaller chunks, such as agile methods, so we can learn from our mistakes quickly.  Attempting to do it right the first time is always good, but learning from mistakes and improving quickly is even better.

In our product uGovernIT, we missed it the first time.   We over engineered the workflows, while still very valuable, they were time consuming to implement.  How often do you get a second chance?  We did, and we are very grateful for it.  A nice thing to remember this Thursday.  Happy Thanks Giving.

Written by Subbu Murthy

November 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Posted in IT Governance

Managing Workloads

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Most CIOs agree that there is always more work than available resources. Is outsourcing the only answer to manage increasing workloads?  While outsourcing can be very beneficial to handle fluctuating demand, it is best if we examine our workload and enabling our IT Team and users with tools to automate workflows, and better coordinate the IT-user touch points.   This significantly improves the efficiency of the IT organization, and perhaps reduces the need to outsource.

Many might argue that the traditional “business process reengineering frameworks” takes care of it.  ITIL is a fine example of one such framework.  A quick reality check is that ITIL has not penetrated the small to mid-market companies.  The main reason for the lack of adoption is that tools and processes that implement ITIL are overly complicated, expensive and difficult to implement.  They have not taken into account the purpose for which they were designed: manage workloads efficiently and effectively.

Ideally, the tool should be easy to adapt to your environment with configurable workflows, collaboration, service management, project management, resource management, reports and dashboards that give IT managers a  practical out-of-the-box ready solution to manage the IT department.

Written by Subbu Murthy

November 22, 2013 at 1:00 am

Posted in IT Governance

A Lesson From Not-For-Profit Organizations

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As a Consultant CIO at a renowned Not-For-Profit  (NFP) organization serving the visually impaired, I feel that there are a few key lessons that can carry over to the commercial world. One of the key tenets, NFPs discuss today is to shift the focus from outputs to outcome.  As I turn my attention to the For-Profit world, it is a lesson we can implement as well.  Outputs are necessary but not  necessarily sufficient to create the proper outcomes.

We achieve outputs by keeping our attention on process efficiency and staff productivity. To develop better outcomes, we must focus on the effect we have on our customers, our staff, our environment and the society we operate in.  To understand the impact on the customers, we must understand their eco system.  Crafting our vision must draw the balance on how our organizations eco-system interacts with the customers eco-system.  The simplest way to achieve symbiosis in the two eco-systems is to run the enterprise on a strict code of ethics that is built into the vision of the organization.  Proper ethics is the only objective way to ensure that the outputs our organizations produce is leading to better outcomes.

Technology can be an enabler by providing transparency and a shared information system that can help understand the impact organizations have on the customers eco system.   Not surprisingly, transparent Governance has been proven to be great motivators for staff as well.

Written by Subbu Murthy

November 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Posted in IT Governance