Pardon the mixed metaphor (i.e. dinosaurs and cows), but there are two important and potentially catastrophic “sacred cows” that many current organisations aren’t successfully dealing with.
One sacred cow is “we can pay lip service as to promising accountability to customers but, when it gets too hard, don’t provide it”. This is particularly true for business transformation projects that have a complex set of stakeholders and complex streams of activities, e.g. business change management, systems implementations, data migration, Project Management Organisations, benefits planning and management, etc.
Many organisations such as IT service providers know the importance of single points of accountability, particularly in large organisations that have multiple divisions and departments ranging from Sales, to services, to remote development, etc. However, trying to implement single points of accountability where the service provider can provide timely answers and get to the source of answers often is “thrown into the too hard basket” and is an answer “too far above my pay grade”.
Some of the obstacles to resolving this sacred cow include:
· Cultural values:
- Lack of focus on benefits to customers.
- Lack of a problem solving culture in which mistakes are tolerated.
- Employees not wanting to “get out of their comfort zone” to truly collaborate.
· Inconsistent and competing business processes and lack of business process ownership.
· Inconsistent KPIs and incentives that get divisions/departments working against each other.
· Fragmented information preventing a common vision, mission and strategic objectives.
· Overload of Executives and Managers in doing their jobs.
A comprehensive understanding and staged implementation plan with a focus on the cultural values, on a common and well-articulated vision/mission/objectives, on well-understood and accountable business processes, on consistent KPIs/incentives and on appropriate employee/management workload distribution can effectively address this sacred cow.
The second sacred cow is “we can remain a closed proprietary system and lock in our customers”. We can all cite examples where organisations have tried to stay with proprietary systems and those that have progressively opened up — and the consequences. The Open Source/Open Stack movement is well underway and there is no turning back. It is not perfect, but it provides an immense platform of talent and tools that will allow businesses to grow and innovate effectively and in a timely way.
Many customer organisations which have dealt with proprietary systems and platforms in the past are increasingly coming to the “end of their rope” on accepting this, and are increasingly moving to tools that provide them with more flexibility (in spite of certain immaturity in some technical areas). This is the wave of the future.
This migration away from “lock-in” and proprietary platforms and tools will not happen overnight, but the service and license providers who ignore this are at risk. It is not too late to change and communicate the vision of the Open future.
Look over your shoulder at competitors, deal with the sacred cows – and don’t become a dinosaur!