change management

Home/Tag: change management

ITSM: don’t stop with Ops!

Rachel SeanigerIn this guest blog, Rachel Seaniger urges continuation of the IT Service Management (ITSM) journey to achieve lasting value.

 

My colleagues and I find that a large percentage of organisations implementing ITIL® only go as far as service operations (and often change management) but rarely get as far as formalised service strategy or service design.

©iStock.com/rappensuncle

The ITIL lifecycle provides rich guidance on service strategy, service design, service transition and continuous service improvement. So why do so few go beyond the basic quick fixes of service operations? Every organisation is unique and there are more reasons than stars in the sky, but I see them falling into roughly five categories:

Reason #1: Obviously, the place to start is where the user is most directly involved with the IT organisation. The highest priorities are the areas of highest visibility – for example, processes for requesting a new laptop or incident management. That gets done then… nothing!

Reason #2: Having tackled the immediate, customer-facing issues to achieve early wins, the team simply runs out of puff. But there’s so much scope to go further with ITSM… Remember, the tortoises are the winners.

Reason #3: Sometimes the IT team tries to extend beyond service operations but simply fails. Feeling they’ve got their fingers burnt, they have little appetite for pressing on.

Reason #4: ‘Business as usual’ always prevails within IT, chewing up available resources and time – so even the best-meant ITSM implementations grind to a halt prematurely (the road to Hell is paved with good intentions!).

Reason #5: The business simply doesn’t understand the value of the more strategic ITSM processes, so is unwilling to invest further. Many senior IT managers also fail to see value in extending beyond ops. This is the big one and the hardest to overcome; without management commitment and sponsorship, the efforts of underlings are doomed to failure – however logical and passionately advocated.

For all these reasons, we often get just so far – when there’s still a way to go.

Why NOT stop here?

Users are happier, the organisation has paid lip service to ITSM and IT management feels that it’s fulfilling its charter. But how much more could be achieved?

There is tremendous value in following up with the service strategy and service design phases. This takes ITSM beyond merely what the user is interested in and what they need; potentially transforming the entire IT service delivery function to make it more efficient, less costly and infinitely more stable in the long run.

Without formalising these phases, you will always be playing catch-up. The ideal place to be is on your front foot: optimising emerging technologies and positioning IT to meet users’ future needs. Yes, I’m afraid that it’s all about the ‘I’ word that we all aspire (and struggle) to achieve: innovation.

Look at the symptoms; do any of them sound familiar?

Lack of service strategy results in:

  • Your business users googling ‘big data’ and ‘Internet of Things’ to find solutions to their IT issues
  • You’re no longer getting invited to strategic planning meetings, and everyone stops talking when you walk into senior management meetings
  • You’re spying an IT outsourcer brochure on the CEO’s desk
  • IT solutions rolled out that the IT organisation had nothing to do with
  • IT being perceived as an abyss, into which money mysteriously disappears with nothing coming back out

Lack of service design results in:

  • The business still using the old system despite the new solution being a raging success, according to IT’s objectives
  • User satisfaction dipping to new lows, although service levels are almost always met
  • Users not getting what they want while vendors are meeting all their service targets
  • Porsche promised, VW delivered – which does the job adequately, but just isn’t a Porsche
  • Service Level Managers needing trauma therapy after monthly service review meetings

This article was first published by UXC Consulting – view the original article here.

Service Management 2016 is now less than a week away! Find out more about the Conference program, Gala Awards Dinner, and workshops!

 

 

 

By |2018-03-19T16:23:18+10:00August 12th, 2016|guest blogger, Service Management 2016|

Cutting through the hype: what 2016 looks like for technology leaders

Michael-Billimoria-100

Service Management 2015 speaker Michael Billimoria is our guest blogger today! Here, Michael summarises expert predictions for 2016 and says critical aspects of managing business technology must adapt to a faster world.

At the beginning of each year, a range of business technology industry pundits offer their predictions for the year to come. You will have seen the more common predictions such as:

  • Enterprise tech will embrace the cloud
  • Security hacks will increase but our defence systems will get smarter
  • Big Data is more about insights, context and speed than the actual data
  • Machine learning will come of age
  • User/customer experience is king
  • The Internet of Things will keep growing exponentially

Now, these predictions are all well and good, but it’s time to consider what they really mean for enterprise IT in Australia – and what technology leaders can take away after all the hype.

1. Organisations using traditional IT delivery will reach a crisis point

Old methods for running IT projects don’t work well in today’s faster-moving technology environment. Getting projects over the line on time (or at all) just isn’t happening often enough, resulting in stalled or compromised initiatives and too great a cost.

As my colleague Ian Rogers pointed out in a recent article, it’s time for a next generation of project management, (and, by the way, that doesn’t simply mean adopting an Agile methodology). Rather than continuing with techniques which were fine for the construction and manufacturing industries they were initially designed for, we must accept they have failed to address the inherent speed, scope, and complexity of business technology.

As Ian observes, software isn’t concrete and people aren’t machines. We must become more flexible in the way we deliver technology projects, and start incorporating change management earlier and more thoroughly into the project management process. Flexible, Agile, and sociable is the way forward.

2. The second wave of Continuous Delivery will arrive

DevOps has been on the cards for a while, and pioneered by a few, however many organisations hadn’t ‘got it’, because the term doesn’t really explain its power and value. Let’s face it, the term DevOps kind makes you feel like you should move your Dev and Ops teams together and the problem is solved!

However there is finally a growing understanding that working smarter is based on making three Fs work together: feedback, flow and faith (or trust). As discussed by my colleague Harold Peterson, in his piece Bring down the wall between Dev and Ops, Puppet Labs found in a study of 5,000 companies that those with a DevOps function deploy 30 times more frequently and have 200-times shorter lead times. These aren’t just silly statistics; they represent IT responding to despondent business professionals in a way which is actually better meeting their expectations.

Not all businesses need to be like Amazon, which deploys software 23,000 times a day, but the actual time to deploy is not the point; it’s much more about helping the business win. We have now got some excellent and proven tools and techniques for implementing a streamlined DevOps operation. Greater numbers of enterprises are embracing automation and orchestration to improve flow. DevOps is becoming part of a more holistic delivery environment that also involves techniques from Lean Change (see prediction #4 below) and the Scaled Agile Framework.

3. We’ll experience compounding supplier and shadow IT problems

Last year in SIAM: Transforming service delivery – the ‘new black’ for multi-sourcing, I wrote about the promise of Service Integration and Management (SIAM) for effectively managing multisourcing of IT.

While it’s gaining more traction overseas, SIAM has so far proven too overwhelming for most Australian enterprises. We’re observing that few IT organisations succeed in explaining its benefits to the business; it’s new, so it’s tough to find solid data to justify changing the entire IT operating model to accommodate it. Meanwhile, many ITOs are inundated by a flood of 40 or more separate service providers, when all the business really wants is servers and storage provisioned, rather than a seemingly costly implementation of an extension to ITSM.

There’s serious value in adopting a SIAM approach to sourcing management and, while most organisations won’t jump on board this year, those that do will be gaining a serious competitive advantage in 2017/18.

Further to this, the problem of shadow IT (AKA credit card IT) continues to grow apace – with the business continuing to ‘do its own thing’ without recourse to the ITO and inevitably creating more management and service delivery conflict. It’s a matter of trust or faith. The world of technology is absolutely no longer the domain of the technology department; it hasn’t been for some time. Only when the ITO can deliver feedback and flow will the business have faith.

4. Organisational change will begin to catch up in the IT world

Organisational change management can no longer be managed directly by just the change management experts. With the speed-to-market now required, it’s simply not possible to get people ready in time if change is a separate process.

Lean Change is one of the new techniques that allow those affected by change to take control of their own destiny and make change work. As Paul Jenkinson points out in Lean Change: A unique approach to managing change at speed, successful change management is hard enough in static environments, let alone in this age of digital revolution.

While there are a myriad of benefits to adopting Lean Change techniques, the key differentiator is that those affected by the change are able to participate openly and manage their own change journey. This is smart thinking, as organisational change affects us all differently so every experience is unique.

5. The age of closed door security is over

In 2016 it will become increasingly apparent that simply closing the door and barring the windows won’t do. In fact, this approach has become a hinderer rather than an enabler of doing business.

In his recent article, Man the barricades… what barricades?, Clem Colman contrasts today’s enterprise with a medieval castle. It’s no longer possible to keep everything within walls, and the people and assets you need to protect have long flown. New security technology will be successful when it has been built into every component: embedded within every device and every software application.

There’s also an even greater need to educate every employee on security and risk reduction. This is, protecting your organisation from inside-out as opposed to outside-in. Operating beyond the fortress, frequently on their own devices, they must become much savvier about the risks of using technology to play their own part in your enterprise security. Welcome to the new world of cyber-resilience.

What does it all mean? It’s about speed

If there’s a common thread in these trends, it’s that the world of technology keeps accelerating and technology professionals using ‘traditional’ techniques will never catch up. In a digital world, there’s a strong link between the ways in which speed is impacting on the way we manage IT projects, change, service delivery, our suppliers and security, this calls for agility across every aspect of technology delivery.

At UXC, I’m proud that the areas mentioned above are all areas we’re heavily investing in, and I’m interested in hearing whether these predictions are becoming a reality in your own organisation, and how you’re coping with them. Feel free to get in touch!

This blog was originally posted on UXC Consulting’s blog

Shake I.T. Up this year at Service Management 2016! Register here.

By |2018-03-19T16:23:21+10:00May 12th, 2016|guest blogger, Service Management 2016|

Delivering the Message – Things to Consider When Announcing an Organisational Change

kareen-ferries-280

 

We are delighted to welcome Service Management 2016 invited speaker Karen Ferris as this week’s guest blogger. Karen was awarded the inaugural Service Management Champion accolade by the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) Australia in 2007 and awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the ITSM industry in 2014.

Every ITSM improvement initiative is an organisational change. Whether it affects one person or a hundred people, it is an organisational change that requires people to change the way in which they do things. It could be a change in process, technology, roles or responsibilities.

Whatever the nature of the organisational change may be, there are important things to consider when announcing and communicating it.

Honesty

Firstly – be honest. Employees need to know the whole story – warts and all. Too often the CxO and senior managers are concerned that staff will be upset by the forthcoming change and therefore avoid telling the whole truth. If it is perceived that employees are going to be upset by the change announcement, the chances are they certainly will be when the change comes about.

So, it is important to tell them about the change as soon as possible so that they have time to prepare – and you have time to prepare them.

Don’t underestimate the time it will take to identify where the resistance to change may come from, put in place a plan to overcome it, execute the plan, continually assess its effectiveness and make changes as required.

Therefore the sooner you understand the reaction of employees to the change, the sooner you can respond accordingly.

You will only know the ‘real’ response if you are open and honest and provide employees with the whole picture.

Managers need to put themselves in the firing line – be prepared to answer the hard questions and to be transparent.

Transparency and consistency will be key if you want to stop the rumour mill. If employees feel that they are only being told half a story they will make the other half up themselves, making your job even harder.

You don’t want to have to spend the majority of your time trying to dispel rumours that only came about because you did not communicate openly.

Everyone Needs to Be on the Same Page

It is imperative that time is taken to prepare the message and to make sure that everyone who is required to deliver the message is able to tell the same story. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Inconsistency will fuel a fire that is waiting to happen.

Time needs to be taken to prepare the executive, managers, and sponsors who will be required to deliver the message. They need to understand the reason for the change and be champions of the change.

They may need coaching and mentoring to (a) help them overcome any resistance to the change they may have and (b) equip them with the skills and capability to deliver the message effectively.

All communication channels need to carry the same story – where are we going? – why are we doing this? – how does this align with our organisational strategy? – when are we doing it? – how are we doing it? – and most importantly – what’s in it for me (WIIFM)?

Test It

It is a good idea to test the message with a sample group of the target audience to determine if the message is clear, concise and complete. Things you may assume obvious may not be so to all employees so you need to remove the assumptions.

The sample group should help identify the questions that employees will be asking. What you assume people need to know may not be the case.

I remember working in an organisation, some years ago, that was undertaking a relocation of a department to another part of the city. Management assumed that staff wanted to know about recompense for additional travel, whether there would be parking available, how accessible the new location was by public transport etc.

But this wasn’t what was causing concern. It turned out that the biggest question staff wanted to know was whether the kitchen would be equipped with a microwave oven! This was because another department, relocated earlier, had not initially been provisioned with a microwave oven which they had previously had access to.

Don’t assume employees won’t sweat the small stuff. They will! Your sample group can help identify what this may be.

Check It

Throughout the period of communications you need to be checking its effectiveness. You need to regularly check understanding of the message. Don’t assume that because no-one has asked a question that the message has been understood. Silence does not mean that all is good!

There are various ways to check the effectiveness of the communications and it will be the change agent’s job to determine which are the most appropriate for the organisation.

Employees can be surveyed to determine if they understand the change.

At a recent client engagement I created and distributed the communications regarding a forthcoming change. Customers using a particular application were required to change the way in which they submitted service and support requests. The customers were distributed across the country so I followed up the communication by randomly picking names from the email distribution list and telephoning them to determine if they had read the communications and whether they had any concerns, questions etc.

This helped me understand whether the communications were having the desired result and to make any changes as required.

Other methods to determine communication effectiveness include focus groups, observation, monitoring collaboration channels, monitoring traffic on web pages where information about the change resides, monitoring feedback channels etc. It is more likely that if you are not getting feedback or questions, the change has not been understood or is being resisted.

Organisation change management models such as ADKAR can be used to determine if communications are having the desired results during organisational change. ADKAR can tell you whether employees are Aware of the need to change; have a Desire to participate and support; have Knowledge of the change and what it looks like; feel they have the Ability to implement the change on a day-to-day basis; and have the Reinforcement to keep the change in place.

ADKAR is used for much more than just checking communication effectiveness so is an ideal tool to have in your organisational change management toolbox.

Answer the Questions

It is important to answer all the questions received from employees. In the client engagement I mentioned earlier, any questions I received about the change were collated and the answers were distributed in future communications. Each communication had a FAQ section. The chances are that if one person asks a question about the change, there are myriad others wondering the same thing but not prepared to ask.

Collect all questions asked and provide a FAQ either in distributed communications, via collaboration tools and/or on the intranet.

Strike a Balance

Communications should be balanced. They need to be frequent enough to help employees with their transition and addressing their concerns and questions but not overly frequent to the point that people stop paying attention.

Also give due consideration to the communications channels. If employees hate SharePoint, don’t use that to deliver your message despite it being the corporate collaboration tool!

Note: I have nothing against SharePoint!

Use a variety of channels but ensure they are ones that employees will access. Just like communication content effectiveness should be checked, so should the effectiveness of the communication channels.

Monitor the number of emails that are opened. Monitor the number of click-throughs to the web site. Monitor the number of downloads regarding the change from the intranet. Monitor the number of impacted employees attending information sessions.

All of these, and more, can help you determine which communication channels are having the greatest impact so you can give them more focus. There may be communication channels that you stop using as they are having the least impact. But you won’t know unless you monitor it. As with anything else, the adage ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure’ also applies to change communications.

Summary

Your organisational change communications need to be honest and transparent. The message, and the deliverers of the message, need to be carefully prepared. There needs to be one story and only one story.

Test the message and regularly check the effectiveness of the communications. Answer all the questions being asked and make the questions and answers accessible by all impacted employees. Ensure that your communication channels are appropriate for the change in hand and will be accessed by impacted employees.

Finally, be prepared to change course. If it’s not working, stop and make the required adjustments to get back on track.

This blog post was written by guest blogger and Service Management 2016 invited speaker, Karen Ferris. You can register to hear from Karen and a host of other exciting speakers at Service Management 2016.

Do you have a Service Management story to share? There is still time to submit to be a speaker at Service Management 2016. 

 

By |2018-03-19T16:23:21+10:00April 12th, 2016|guest blogger, Leadership, Service Management 2016|
Go to Top