Has your IT business management system evolved into a convoluted, siloed, expensive system?
Unlike ERP, IT business management is largely undefined, does not ascribe to any standards, and is completely fluid and usually results in a less than awesome solution.
A CIO, once on-boarded with the organization, will evaluate the IT strategy and put their own branding on the long-term plan. There will be, undoubtedly a focus on:
- Improved customer service
- Improved project success
- Improved resource utilization
- Decreased cost or better ROI
These are the cornerstones to any good IT strategy.
If your organization is like most then you have taken a best of breed approach to IT business management and have great solutions in place to manage various components of IT. These could include: Team Foundation Server, Document Management, Databases, Help Desk, Project Management, Portfolio Management, Customer Service Portal, SharePoint, etc… and many organizations have all of these in play at the same time. This requires a stack of servers, resources to manage them, and programmers to create interfaces between them, (reality check, most don’t communicate to each other and this is often an oversold / under developed feature).
This approach seldom results in an awesome solution. Its fractured and siloed nature creates natural divisions within the organization. Coders, Project Managers, and Help Desk staff become islands defined by their work and by their systems. We know that to deliver effective service to the organization there needs to be coordination of these areas yet we continue to allow managers in each business area to define their business needs as senior to the others. Coders need TFS, Help Desk needs their tools, and Project Managers need theirs. It can be a real mess. If this was an ERP solution it would likely result in no invoices, no bills paid and no idea of what the bank balance was.
As an ERP professional for 20 years I worked with clients to unravel their convoluted, evolved, business processes and helped create streamlined ones. I used common sense, evaluated bottle necks, removed manual processes, got rid of Excel as much as possible, (my mission in life), and implemented simple to use, integrated solutions to achieve business success. Apply the thinking of an ERP consultant to an IT business management practice and it will result in and awesome IT business management system. We had a term in ERP called “business process inversion.” A business process inversion refers to business processes that result in the reverse of their design; for example, an invoice program that does not create invoices. This is a gross example but you get the point. An IT Business Management system that does not result in improved customer service, improved project success, improved resource utilization, or results in increased cost and less ROI is inverted to the degree it does not achieve.
If it were an ERP system it would result in the collapse of the organization and would be taken out behind the barn and put out of its misery. In IT, we are more forgiving of a solution. Some of the common refrain we here are that our staff may or not completely adopt it, the project manager can fill in the gaps, tracking resource utilization is not as important, costs are sunk, we don’t bill our services… these are the common refrain of IT managers and CIO’s. It is not true. The project manager should not have to fill in the gaps, resource utilization and tracking is incredibly important. It is just tough to do but you can do it. You must correct the inversion.
This best of breed approach is absolutely a single point of failure and it results in IT business process inversion. Do not be reasonable with this, wrestle it down, make it your mission to have all business processes deliver exactly what they are designed to, and win.
John McDonald is a veteran in ERP Deployment projects with over 20 years experience in ERP and Project Management. Follow @entrysoftware on Twitter. John has published the free eBook, 4 Steps to Awesome Service; An IT Managers Guidebook to Implementing ITIL®.”