The consultative role of IT how do you do it. I discussed this in my blog a couple of weeks ago about problem solving vs innovation where the role of IT should morph to a facilitator and problem solver with a big helping of innovation.
Yesterday I read an article, in the Tech Republic where they spoke with Lokesh Jindal, general manager at CA Technologies about where IT is going, and his advice to CIOs was:
- The future of IT is about being a trusted advisor
- IT leaders must demonstrate how technology services can drive the business
- There is a tremendous opportunity for IT to better position itself as advisor, but needs to act now to do so
- Some services no longer require involvement by IT, while there can also be a greater focus on higher-value services
- IT needs to better align its strategy and metrics with the business
- IT needs to help find the security balance between enabling and protecting the business
- IT needs to become a center of innovation and a revenue-generator
- Every company is essentially becoming a software company
This is all well and good but how do you do this?
There are several approaches anywhere from having a “CTOish” individual that leads the charge but it could wind up as a lone band member if there isn’t a way to include the rest of IT. If you combine a innovation leader with a business background coupled with a replicable methodology then I think you are on the way.
Over the years of leading innovation and doing creative problem solving in both large and small organizations there was a definite approach that I developed. I used a methodology that was a combination of problem solving and agile development that I’ve recently labeled Results Driven Innovation Methodology (RDI).
There are 6 distinct phases to RDI that can be broad looking across the entire business or narrow it down to a business unit or even a product.
The elements of RDI are:
Lens Development – is a session where candidates for innovation are identified and area(s) of focus. Candidates can be brought to the table a number of different ways including input from sales, customer etc.
Snapshots – Typically 4 or 5 candidates from the Lens Development effort to dive deeper for a quick one pager (more on that in a different blog) on what the problem is, possible ROI, guess on development effort and difficulty etc.
Focus – Pick the ones that will provide the best return and that the development time is typically less than 6 months. The analysis of the one pagers will create a scatter graph similar to the one on the left.
Prototype – Build a quick prototype or wire frames of the UI with a high level documentation of the business logic
Execute – Build it, test it, review it… typical agile.
Refocus – Figure out what the real ROI is and make adjustments to the Lens Development and start again.