When working with organisations in the London Market, we have seen the good the bad and the ugly when it comes to the way the IT and Change functions works with the business. Nowadays, organisations have high expectations when it comes to efficient, accessible and self-service IT solutions and expect the way they interact with IT at home to be similar to how they access it at work.
When looking at optimising your IT and Change function, below are 4 areas that are critical to your success but are sometimes forgotten or deprioritised.
1. Encourage and enable the business to ‘self-serve’
The business should own low-risk easy changes. This could be as simple as building systems with a front-end that allows the business to change and configure the system as their needs change. Examples might be password resets, software installations (with an ‘app store approach’), drop-down items (e.g. new risk locations) and variables (e.g. the rate of Insurance Premium Tax). For instance, the increase of the Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) rate resulted in costly transformation programmes in the London Market, where it should be a straightforward configurable item. This could also include allowing staff to access key application securely via remote log-in on their own devices
2. Promote a flexible methodology
One-size-fits-all methodologies often constrain organisations and as a result change delivery is inflexible, poorly prioritised, and not responsive to the business needs. A flexible model, for example, allows an organisation to look at a “cookie-cutter” approach for repeatable change, where they are not reinventing the wheel each time for standard changes. These changes can then be delivered with less controls, quicker and cheaper as they are proven, low risk and reuse key artefacts.
Similarly, organisations should assess each change on its own merits and deliver that change with the appropriate methodology and governance. For example, in some cases, a waterfall methodology has been proved to be ineffective at delivering some change (read more on how to decide between agile or waterfall methodologies for your project here). Picking a methodology that reflects the needs and capabilities of your organisation and matches the “change”, increases the chances of successful project delivery.
3. Collaborative ways of working
When a change needs a full project (not self-serve or repeatable) due to the scale, the ‘new’ nature of the change or complexity the project should be delivered in a collaborative manner. People are the driving force in change; thus, empowering product owners that drive the strategy and prioritising enhancements is critical. Regular interaction with the user base, including demos throughout the development lifecycle will ensure effective feedback and delivery of a better solution. Also, introducing DevOps to ensure better collaboration between ‘run’ and ‘change’ and the use of tooling to improve efficiency. Some organisations are also starting to move to a ZeroOps model where IT is ‘self-fixing’.
4. Culture and Communication is critical to change
No organisation can go through change effectively without the right cultural foundations. A culture that looks to remove constraints, seeks solutions not problems, embraces collaboration and an organisation that is empowered are all critical to success. Also, when delivering change, to maximise adoption, communication is key to “sell” the benefits of the transformation and change should be reinforced by the top leadership. Adoption should not be left to chance.
An effective IT and Change organisation can be a key differentiator. Taking these 4 areas into consideration when looking at the way you set-up your IT organisation will help you put in place ways of working that work for you.
At r10 Consulting, we have a proven method and would be happy to talk through how we could help you on your journey. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Author: Shaun Howarth