One of the most intriguing sections of Deloitte’s new Tech Trends 2016: Innovating in the Digital Era report discussed the right speed for IT. Moving beyond the current, hyped-up two speed approach, the report highlighted speed-related considerations CIOs must take into account: business process-related, architectural, and organizational.
The tension between the need for stability and agility has resulted in the widely recommended two-speed (or bimodal) methodology for IT. “On one side are the predictability and controls necessary to manage risk while delivering large-scale enterprise IT with reliability, scalability, security, etc.,” said the report. “On the other is the push to drive discovery and experimentation around new features, tools, and technologies.”
However, according to Deloitte, in proposing the bimodal theory we may have oversimplified the conflict between these extreme sides. At the same time, we’ve offered little guidance on managing the unavoidable gap between the two priorities.
Many organizations are coming to terms with the idea that different types of business requirements require different speeds and IT must support a continuum. The Deloitte report offered these considerations for CIOs to keep in mind when forming expectations around speed.
Business Process Considerations
Finance management: Budgeting, prioritization, allocations, and accounting treatments all need more flexibility than annual appropriations, rigid planning cycles, and depreciation schedules do. Failure to address the differences in time-consuming finance management processes as part of an overall right-speeding initiative is a missed opportunity.
Procurement and sourcing: Similarly, multi-month RFP processes, drawn-out vendor assessments, and sourcing strategies focused on cost takeout are sometimes appropriate. But they also are not the only game in town. Codify paths to adopt open-source solutions such as platforms, libraries, and code-bases that could jumpstart efforts.
Vendor and contract management: Revisit nondisclosures, intellectual property protection clauses, and traditional segmentation of provider tiers. Consider creating new categories of engagement that can be deployed against efforts beyond simple fixed-scope and traditional service-level agreements. Encourage value-based arrangements where vendors are compensated based on outcomes.
Solution shaping: Beyond determining the recommended end-to-end architecture, ascertain the appropriate speed for a given project or product. Offer the team guardrails as they combine governance, controls, delivery model, enabling processes, and stage gates to balance business impact, technical vision, and risk.
Stakeholder communications and expectation management: Don’t hold back for a large periodic release. Instead, increase the number of releases or user previews to demonstrate progress. Gamify testing and reward members of the user community for providing feedback. Even if these releases are not destined to be put into production immediately, providing users and stakeholders with evidence of tangible progress can make the process seem quicker.
DevOps: Try to determine the granularity of control points, formality of reviews, and the appropriate level of automation that will be needed for the effort. Right-speed IT efforts often coincide with investments in autonomic platforms that can help move more of IT’s underlying workload to labor-free, seamless tasks (or at least introduce automation to eliminate waste in the end-to-end lifecycle).
For more insights from the Deloitte report, head over to the QuickBase Fast Track blog.