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IT for business: Responsive IT for the business and the user

Blog: Capgemini CTO Blog

With digital transformation, the pace of change within businesses has increased drastically.  The arms race to out innovate the competition shows no signs of abating. But without a clear measure of progress, and ultimately success, this race can get out of control, and become futile and self-serving.

With the consumerisation of IT, the business, and ultimately end-users, have higher expectations of IT’s role to support the digital arms race, and different perspectives on what is required. The latest IT innovations should be delivered in a next-generation service to achieve business outcomes. Delivering next-generation service effectively is key, so let’s look at what this entails.

Firstly, it’s no longer acceptable to force the business to make the conceptual leap of how input type measures, such as daily rates, call response times or numbers of calls, add value. The IT team must now be measured by metrics that are aligned to the business. But, what are these metrics? Well, to begin, it makes sense to think about these from the business and end user perspective, and to understand what their requirements are.

As a CXO within the business I need to know that my part is working effectively. I need to know that I’m delivering on my key performance indicators. And, I must also be confident that the business processes that allow me to satisfy these are optimally designed and operating efficiently, at appropriate availability. Therefore, I need IT and business applications to align to these requirements and be measurable against them. To satisfy these demands, next-generation ADM services must take a business centric approach focusing on business processes from three perspectives:

  1. Availability – A traditional approach to applications and infrastructure management has focused on the availability of technical components without taking into consideration the business context. In a next-generation service business process availability is the key measure of success considering the criticality of business processes, often time specific, and ensuring that the underpinning infrastructure is managed proactively to ensure the business processes are available as required.
  2. Performance – For any organisation a hierarchy of performance indicators, namely KPIs or CSFs, can be defined from those measures that are important to shareholders. Those that underpin shareholder value can be expanded to include those that drive customer churn, supply chain efficiency or employee satisfaction, and so on. This information is available in the business applications but infrequently exploited in a real time way. In a next-generation service there is a real-time focus on business processes to ensure that performance is consistently high, and any issues are identified and addressed.
  3. Efficiency – The final aspect of a business centric approach that is frequently ignored is the efficiency of processes and the on-going improvements. An example could be that the Purchase2Pay process is running on infrastructure that gives it high availability, with all the appropriate KPIs showing green, but it is inefficient because each purchase, even low value, must be approved by three managers. This leads to many workarounds with the resulting delays in purchases and lost discounts for early payment to start with. In a next-generation service, process efficiency is measured frequently, in real-time if required, to ensure that improvements in KPIs can occur proactively with tangible business benefits being accrued on an on-going basis.

Experience shows that while the direction of travel is clear the journey to achieve business process availability, performance and efficiency will be different for each organization. Several of our customers have already started the journey with intent being shown by the IT department becoming the BT (business technology) department. The next step is often to develop a roadmap of initiatives starting with quick wins in the areas of applications and business process monitoring as well as the inclusion of process mining, artificial intelligence and data science. Early signs are positive, and these initiatives are starting to deliver returns that can then be re-invested in driving out further value.

While this is a great outcome for the business one way to undermine the successful delivery of such change is to not consider the end-user’s perspective. Increased use of mobile devices and responsive apps have really increased user expectations which are now finding their way into the work environment. A next-generation service must focus on the end user and, in particular, the experience that they are receiving. In a next-generation service experience is measured in two ways:

  1. Performance – As an end-user I need my applications to be available, when I need them, and that they perform to a level that does not impact me undertaking my role. In parallel with measuring business process availability, as described above, a next-generation service must ensure that the end-user performance is monitored across applications, networks, devices, etc., with the relevant corrective action if required.
  2. Usability – End-user efficiency can be inhibited by badly designed screens or business processes resulting in the creation of wasteful workarounds. This scenario can lead to a negative impression of applications, and a general feeling of dissatisfaction among end-users. Monitoring of usability is a core part of a next-generation service with an agile development factory included to drive improvement at a pace that is appropriate to the relevant application.

In their recent Provider LensTM Report, ISG has recognized ADMnext’s business centric alignment and commercial specificity as key differentiators that make Capgemini a leader in this market. A clear focus on the business and end-user ensures that there is clarity of purpose, and commitment to deliver which ultimately leads to a successful outcome for both the customer and service provider. To engage in further discussion on the next-generation ADM services, connect with me via on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

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