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IT leaders, the choice is yours: Be master of your destiny … or victim


tony price.JPGBy Tony Price, World Wide Lead for Strategy and Transformation Consulting, HP Software Professional Services


(Tony Price has 33 years of IT experience, originally starting his career in mainframe technologies and data center operations. Tony was also an author/contributor to the ITIL® publications and has extensive experience in IT Service Management. He has personally delivered several global IT transformation projects and has a passion for delivering business outcomes.)


I recently met with the CIO of a large Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company, and the conversation turned to cloud. The CIO remarked, “I’ve never sat in front of a consultant who hasn’t said the word cloud.” “Fair enough,” I said. “Cloud is trendy, it’s a buzzword. But the way I see it, what this is really about is, do you want to be a victim, or do you want to be the master of your own destiny?” Suddenly I had the CIO’s attention. “And how does that relate to cloud?” the CIO asked.


Simple. In today’s environment, cloud service providers are going to your business and saying “We can run your business process more effectively, more efficiently, we can provide it on mobile devices, using cloud, et cetera.”


In this scenario IT can either become a victim or it can drive its own destiny.


The choice is yours

Faced with competition, many IT organizations go into victim mode. They worry they’ll lose their service delivery, but aren’t able to present a compelling case for why they should keep it. Unfortunately, it gets worse. If the business does choose to go with an external service provider, the ultimate job of integrating these cloud services typically falls to whatever is left of IT. So IT loses a lot of its business, but it still has the accountability. Only now it probably has fewer funds to do its job with and less time to do it in.


Now imagine that IT was part of that cloud services innovation. What if IT said, “We can help you transform this organization. There are cloud service providers who can do X better than we can, so why don’t we look at how we do this. We’ll take a structured approach where we’ve got the governance and control, and we’ll work with the business to get the best solution. We’ll become the broker of services, whether they be internal or external.”


Do this, and you’re driving your own destiny. You’re adding value to the business: helping it be more flexible, adapt to market pressures and reduce costs. If cloud is the way to go, you use cloud. If not, you keep things internal. But ultimately, you’re the broker supporting end-to-end service delivery. In organizations that do this, the business respects IT in a completely different way. The top CIOs of the world do this naturally: They’re helping the business make decisions and they’re driving significant transformation of their organizations and their companies as a whole.


What’s your IT profile?

The first step in becoming master of your own destiny is to understand where you are now. So let’s find out where you fit along the spectrum. What’s your IT profile?


  • You’re the department that can’t fix anything: There’s a TV program here in the UK called The IT Crowd and it’s all about geeky, strange people who are obviously not trusted business partners. In many organizations, unfortunately, this is how IT is seen. It’s too slow and too costly and it causes downtime that results in lost business. If this is the case, decisions are probably made outside your control, and you’re forced to live with them. Admit it: You’re the victim. Understanding where you are now is really important, because it enables you to work out how much of a gap there is between where you are and where you want to be. If this is your profile you need to: Focus on improving IT performance. Your No. 1 priority is to build trust and confidence.  You will do this by rock solid IT delivery. If you don’t you simply will not earn the right to talk about more strategic decisions as you will be constantly beaten up about poor service delivery.
  • You need a PR makeover: Sometimes the way IT is seen is due to misconceptions. You appear a lot worse than you actually are. Particularly if the business is refusing to invest in you, you have to convey somehow that this underinvestment is why you’re not able to do much for them. This brings me to an important point. Cloud service providers market themselves. But how often does internal IT market itself? Very rarely. The organizations that I’ve seen successfully turn themselves around market themselves. Their CIOs will actively market their IT department instead of explaining to the business leaders about outages and downtime. They’ll say, “We’ve been consistent on this for the last 24 months, we’ve helped you do A, B and C and as a result have delivered the following outcomes to the business.” If this is your profile you need to: Become very consistent at what you do, and get very good at getting the message over to the business that you’re safe, you’re trusted and you’re doing a good job. To my mind, HP Executive Scorecard is a great way to start marketing yourself to the business.
  • You’re ready to be a partner: Your IT organization is lean, agile and responsive to business needs. You’re tracking IT performance and you’re working on financial transparency so you can tell the business exactly what services cost. Instead of constantly reporting on outages and downtime, you’re able to tell the business what your IT department has done for it lately. You’re ready to help create the framework and the models for integrating different services and become an overall service broker. So first step is to ensure you can be the service intergrator! If this is your profile you need to: Start implementing a service integration and management (SIAM) strategy. You can use prebaked guidance and governance models from HP, or create your own.

Recognize that if you choose not to be the victim, you will fundamentally change. Don’t think that you’ll be doing everything the way you’re doing it now. If you’re the master of your own destiny, it will be because you’re helping the business make decisions like, should we put some of this out in the cloud or should we keep some of this internal? In three to five years you might be twice as big or a third of the size you are now, but you’ll be adding value and driving profits – and that means you’re doing the right thing.


If you’re interested in changing the role of IT in your organization, visit HP Software Professional Services.


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Great points, Tony.  We need to integrate the business of IT to combat its consumerization. 


Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin


Tony, I am interested to your approach to involve IT in participatin mode while facing new technology, like cloud, SAIM.

As PS, we have responsibility to guide client to be ambitious to support business.


I would say there are many CIO and IT directors need to be aspired by this voice that they can do something more and different.

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