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Solving IT’s Business Implementation

A Logical Goal: Sustainable Transformation

All well-known companies are powered by IT Services for internal and external business users. For managers, the standing requirement is to efficiently provide the required operational performance of services for users at the required level of quality — regardless of continual change.

But the standing risk is that the right services will not be in place at the right time. The impact of the risk is equally significant whether an existing service is off-target, or a new needed service is on a define-to-deployment path.

Contact us to help. We work with you to coordinate the range of solution implementation changes that make the difference between meeting the standing requirement or not.

Our description of Sustainable Transformation points out how we approach the problem with your organization.

The true nature and distinction of the challenge of implementation is an intense focus of Archestra Research, affecting change management, planning, innovation and reorganization. See the Solution Implementation Framework at the Archestra Research site.

 

Fall 2016 into 2017 with TechSoup Global

Literally all over the world, civil society — and the non-profit / non-governmental organizations that serve it — works intensively, 24x7x365. The broad mission is easy to state: Do Good, Better.  

The sweep of the work is staggering: to provide the means, skills and commitment that people need to cultivate their own security, freedom, quality of life, and creativity, all too often against daunting odds.

Of course there is the omnipresence of resource-provider institutions ranging from private sector competition to public sector services. But in a staggering number of situations there are factors including geography, age, value systems,  and others that mean people don’t get enough of what they need when having it would matter the most.

In July, notably right before both politics and Wall Street simultaneously achieved complete escape velocity, I was able to begin working with TechSoup Global – a unique organization making it possible for modern information technology to be accessible to NPOs and NGOs virtually everywhere.  TechSoup Global creates working partnerships that provide for technology companies to confidently identify NGOs and NPOs, and support them — with donated or discounted technology and the means for them to understand it, deploy it and even create it.

For those organizations at either side of the relationship, the key characteristics of the current millennium obviously (and globally) include:

  • a dazzling rate of change,
  • a pronounced challenge in converting cross-cultural complexity into agility,
  • and the paradox of intentionally increasing mobility while trying to make location-specific problems into beneficial opportunity for resident citizens.

TechSoup Global is fiercely dedicated to making these issues manageable and to make that manageability an outcome of self-empowered constituencies.

Beginning late December, I am extremely proud to commit to TechSoup full time as a member of its staff’s strategy, design and change teams for TechSoup’s own technology, used to develop the relationships and provisioning that empowers validated NPOs and NGOs in well over 120 countries around the world. In this new role, I will be pursuing some of what I think and hope will be among the most important work I have ever done, at an enormously critical point in time for both US and non-US societies.

in-partnership-with-techsoup-global-network_01

Recent Notable Works – summer/fall 2016

Knowledge and Content Management is a critical area for businesses to address.

These areas are where the meaning of a business idea must be successfully communicated before it’s importance can be appreciated by sponsors, partners, employees, customers, or other target stakeholders. The combination of meaning and importance is what creates intellectual capital from the exchange of information, learning, and communications.

In 2016, we worked as a content contributor, editor, and/or subject matter expert in crafting several important new publications and communications portfolios.

These include commercially available work:

  • the #1 new release in New Business Enterprises on Amazon.comThe Purpose is Profit: the Truth About Starting and Building Your Own Business, by Ed McLaughlin and Wyn Lydecker
  • the ground-breaking new Innovation Strategy Development release on Amazon.comFuture Value Generation: Do You Need to Create New Business Logics?, by Daniel Egger

as well as corporate operational work both external-facing and internal-facing:

  • strategic marketing collateral and positioning briefsInsights Without Borders, LLC  (www.insightswb.com)
  • Business & Technology strategic requirements alignmentTechSoup Global (www.techsoupglobal.org)

A Quick Review Of Services – Going Forward with IT

Archestra Research continues a high-level study of how management methodology co-operates with technology development.

Management increasingly focuses on customer-centricity where the Business is the customer, and business demand is the dominant driver behind opportunities that get investment.

Technology development continues to uncover new ways of automating functionalities that reduce the complexity of user experience with interfaces and interoperabilities (integrations).

As a result, services are the primary IT “product” for business. IT management continues to evolve by understanding how to respond to business demand with manageable services, and the portfolio of services is the most explicit representation of the current target business value of IT.

That explains a bundle of key high-level themes within which IT makes strategic decisions about:

  • data and mobility;
  • sourcing and innovation;
  • security and performance;
  • user experience and requirements.

The ongoing study themes are represented by the following perspectives and some of the related Archestra notebooks (all of which are “live” works in progress).

Services as Products

Service Design

Pragmatic management of Products (Services)

Transformation through Delivery 

Business Fusion of  Development and Operations

Archestra themes generally come with research frameworks.  To explore, modify, or co-create a particular research framework, go to www.archestra.com, and contact Malcolm Ryder directly from there or from this website to arrange a meeting.

The People Side Of Change

Who Should Be Responsible For  Managing The People Side Of Change?

I’m breaking the question down into its answerable parts.

First, “Responsible” should be, as famously seen in RACI charts, distinguished from “accountable”. Responsible parties are the actual causal actors of an event, presumably by assignment (if looking forward), and regardless of the outcomes.

Manage” should be an articulated idea as well. The purpose of management is to:

  • support progress explicitly
  • by keeping resource expenditure intentionally aligned, effectively,
  • to the current path of opportunity for a targeted effect,
  • continually throughout the effort.

We might think that appointing a responsible manager is  at least something that we can do as a decision based on assessment of skills.

But with the manager in place, the obvious question becomes, what is it about people that now gets applied management, and therefore, what manager ought to be applying it?

People side” should be called out as meaning:

  • the understanding, willingness and exercise that are contained in…
  • people’s inclusion, role and impact actually (not theoretically) obtained in the effort to change.

Change” itself should be called out as meaning transition; that supplies the perspective for calling out the two overriding issues of change:

  • risks to completion, and
  • risks to adoption.

The existing size and existing complexity of an organization typically dictates a lot of the factors that go into deciding the “5 Ws” about managing: the Who, What, Where, When and Why. From considering the meanings above, each of these five factors is clearly a variable in the overall equation for change.

That’s why the answer to the original question cannot just be declared. It actually has to be discovered by thinking through what the question means in the given organization.

How Learning Happens

Anyone looking for knowledge now likely views the web as an indispensable source, even given the challenges of navigating its endless variety and volume. This places the highest possible priority on how we decide to accept what we find: its authenticity, credibility, and utility.

Some of the acceptance must be based on proof-by-experience, from the results of applying what we believe is knowledge. Meanwhile we have completely unprecedented exposure to information that is presented to us as transferable knowledge, which makes us reliant on the criteria we use to select the presenters. Additionally, we choose from various processes that intend to convert ideas into new knowledge, or derive new ideas from existing knowledge.

Giving and receiving knowledge is now a more openly diverse set of efforts and options than ever before, yet the basic underlying mechanism of going from not knowing to knowing has not changed. in the Archestra notebook Big Learning, we have done a sweeping survey of what goes into the before-and-after changes. why it does, and how the teaching-learning relationship is now structured.

Click here to go to the Slideshare posting of Big Learning.

Creativity Lessons for Business

Lessons for Business

In business, Creativity is a competency. And now it is deemed indispensable.

It has officially been promoted from “recreation” to “work”, and it’s time to get to work!

For organizations that assess themselves as not being creative enough, the sense of urgency to “become” creative most often translates into action as “getting” something they don’t “have”.

Business is good about committing to plans. Yet reports about satisfaction with this pursuit are highly mixed.

Most organizations say that it is more difficult than they expected, and many have stopped what they were doing about it, without a planned successor.

So what next?

The smart thing to do when your idea of something stops working is to see if someone else has a better idea. As it turns out, business doesn’t need to re-invent creativity to make it work. It could just decide to use it the way it already works…

Go here for a fast look and description of how it gets done, as drawn from two areas where creativity doesn’t just “have” performance… it IS performance.

Afterwards, take a coach or a theater company director to dinner.

The breakout annotates the illustration shown below.

leverage

Autonomous IT: Can Governance Save the Enterprise?

IT Governance

Autonomous IT is the next normal.

While all of IT’s useful availability for twenty years or so has gradually converged to the status of “product”, the parallel and more powerful movement is that as IT users we know less and less about what “I.T.” is included in what we use.

As users, what we call “IT” is really the capabilities that are based on IT. Less and less as users do we care or control how IT generates capability, as long as we can use the capability ourselves.

IT-based capabilities emerge from an ecology of co-operating systems. Those systems become more and more able to intelligently decide, without our intervention, to interact and in that way synthesize capability, which becomes both opportunities and events.

Granted, the “intelligence” originates from seeds planted by people. While that is not decreasing in relevance, IT interactions now grow a capability to synthesize intelligence that people don’t already have, and thus to decide and/or do things that people don’t already expect. Some of those things are easily discoverable; others, not so much.

As IT becomes more independently animated, we might find an increasing need to negotiate with it, for the purpose of influencing the probability of desirable events and outcomes.

This entirely resets the comprehension of what the Enterprise is. In this reset, it is mandatory to recognize a “root” meaning of the word “enterprise”, which is “to undertake”. In other words, the enterprise is an identified and acknowledged effort.

We generally rely on being able to draw a boundary “around” that effort, to distinguish it from others, and to make it proprietary. But much, and soon most, of what we acquire as IT-based capability is not proprietary. Instead, the main distinction is simply the difference between what is “held within” our grasp and what is not.

Property remains a holding mechanism, but even property is actually useful for a deeper reason. What makes something effectively proprietary is having an authoritative presence as a user or operator of what is “capable”. Today, beyond rights and permissions, little more remains to establish that authority with persistence, and the presence need not be exclusive in order to be effective. Arguably, being aggressively effective with a capability establishes momentum as a binding force, if it avoids throwing or enticing the organization out of balance.

In essence, the constellation of ways that capabilities are held becomes the enterprise. In the next normal, the big question for the enterprise is why and how that constellation is continually regenerated and appropriately constrained within the vast range of options continually produced by autonomous IT.

Autonomous

As IT is now so pervasive, getting IT to co-operate is a multi-dimensional, multi-level pursuit. Understanding where it has impact requires understanding that more than ever before it is likely to have impact on its own terms .

How can that influence be synchronized with the real needs of the organization conducting the enterprise? An extended and evolving walk-through is found here.

The Who Cares Test

Who-Cares-Test

The difference between Investment and Commitment explains a lot about whether people will go with a proposed change.

The conventional take is that if they are not committed then they will not invest. If nothing else, 20/20 hindsight shows us that this is apparently true.

But what about before the fact? Something happened on the way to being committed or invested.

Let’s look at both investment and commitment simply, as things that can go from not being there to being there, and did. What can we say is the featured reason for the difference between being committed or not, and being invested or not?

The key feature of investment is not commitment, but familiarity. When someone has already expended the effort to understand, engage and maintain something, they associate strongly with it, and we know that they are invested. Those same features also give us great clues as to how an investment decision can erode over time: things that make understanding, engagement and maintenance difficult will tend to create alienation and undermine the logic of continuing to be invested. Meanwhile, if things have gone well, giving up that investment can be a tough decision. Why should they give it up?

On the other hand, the key feature of commitment is opportunity. Commitment is, simply, a level of desire for the opportunity. The effect of the desire is to maintain attention to the probability of the opportunity, and to give it higher priority when it seems to have arrived. Because desire can rise and fall, we know that commitment can do the same. But without an opportunity, there is nothing for desire to do.

Logically, then, the punchline is that we want to invest in someone’s opportunity. It’s not a new thought. But what too often escapes attention is what that actually means.

Unfortunately, commitment can go a long way without becoming an investment by the committed party.

If you are the proposer of the change, you want commitment from others. But the other committed party is not the primary investor.

Instead, you are the primary investor. Your first move is to invest in the opportunity of the party that you ask for support, so that you’re making it more probable. Your second move is to make it easy for them to invest in their own opportunity.

One danger to be wary of is getting an investment from a party lacking commitment. Commitment means “I care”. Investment only means “I accept”. If your plans are dependent on their acceptance, your dependency means you need to understand this difference between what is necessary and what is actually sufficient.