I posted earlier on the way that the mix of attention to people, process and technology change as business-IT maturity increases. I will continue that thread here. As a reminder, below is a graphic representation of the people/process/technology mix in a low business-IT maturity organization. Note that the technology dimension is dominant, and the people dimension is minimal.
To the right is a picture of the mix typical of a mid-level business-IT maturity organization. The relative emphasis on technology had dropped somewhat, and the emphasis on process – both business process that is the object of automation efforts, and IT process as the means to manage and improve the work of the IT organization. Also, the emphasis on people – on the IT professional and on the people aspects of managing organizational change has increased relative to the meager attention this received at lower business-IT maturity.
Typically, in a mid-level business-IT maturity shop, the almost dominant emphasis on technology skills and issues prevalent in low maturity IT organizations has been counterbalanced with process skills and attention to process issues. This may or may not be via a programmatic approach such as “lean” or “six sigma”, but it’s real and it’s important to the work of the IT organization – both in terms of the type of work that is done, and how it is done. In terms of work type, there is far more attention to processes analysis and process reengineering of business processes that are being automated. In terms of how IT work is done, there is more attention to formal, consistent, documented processes. This is especially true in the “IT factory” processes associated with data center operations, networks and help desk support. Sometimes this is via programmatic approaches such as ITIL, COBIT or CMMI, or via Six Sigma or other process quality methods and techniques.
In mid-level maturity shops, the people dimension gets far more attention that it does in lower maturity organizations. This can be seen in the form of improved performance management, competency development, career planning approaches. It can also be seen through increased attention to the human aspect of people and technology change – increased attention to the organizational change management issues.
In high business-IT maturity shops, the relative balance of technology, people and process has shifted even further away from technology and more in favor of process and people. In such companies, the IT organization may well have become the enterprise center for Six Sigma or for process and quality improvement. It may well have become the center for Program Management and for Organizational Change Management activities.
Typically, high business-IT maturity organizations have become masters of global sourcing and inter-enterprise processes. It is not unusual to find the CIO has now evolved to the head of global shared services, or has global responsibilities for one or more core business processes such as supply chain.
So what does all this mean to you as an IT professional or IT leader? Think about your own organization. Are you giving sufficient attention to people and process issues? How has the balanced changed in the last 3 to 5 years? How should it change in the next year or so? How will it change? If not as much as it should, why? What are the barriers? What can you do to remove those barriers?