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Saturday, 12 July 2014

What is the impact of IT Governance in your Organization?

Today we are in an era of rapid technological changes, complex operating environments and demanding consumerisation of IT.  Enterprises are forced to change gears to make the paradigm shift imminently not only to be competitive but to secure their place in business. In order IT to stay relevant and influential in this age of business,  that understanding the true meaning of IT governance is the key to our success. 
While organisations are spending time, effort and resources to scale up to new frontiers, there is no blue print to guarantee success in their endeavors.  Over and above, changing regulatory and legal compliance requirements make it a difficult proposition to sail through seamlessly.
Hence it is the need of the hour for enterprises to fall back to a robust Governance structure and control to handhold and guide them during this unpredictable journey.
Why is this important?
The recent PINK 14 conference that concluded in Vegas resonated with one clear message about Governance of IT being single greatest reason that businesses were unable to get real benefits of IT. In other words IT fails to give true business value.  Hence there is an increasing need for IT Governance to play a pivotal role in making this a reality.  While IT is getting overwhelmed with Cloud, Mobility, BYOD, Big Data and new market trends, managing complexity needs a phenomenal governance mechanism. It is important to get both IT and the business to understand how Governance can help provide true value to their customers and create customer delight.  Cobit 5.0 – Governance framework has become popular merely by the fact that it has appealed well to the business audience.
So what is Governance?
In today`s context, I see that Governance is used interchangeably with the word Management and would like to clarify a few distinctions between the two to set the context right.
IT governance is primarily concerned about two things: IT’s delivery of value to the business and mitigation of IT risks. On the other hand, Management plans, builds, runs and monitors activities in alignment with the direction set by the governance to achieve the enterprise objectives.  Governance involves executive committee and board that is independent of organization whereas the Management involves senior management staff within the same organization.
In simple words, Governance is doing the right things while Management is about doing things right.
People tend to relate Governance as an element of bureaucracy/executive control, which adds additional layers of approval and processes to ‘tightening screws’.
As a practitioner on IT Governance, I have seen several such myths perceived by the organisation that I had written in my earlier blog titled “IT Governance – 5 Myths to Break this New Year”
Let’s take a  simple example to articulate the importance of  Governance .  All of us know about the Lehmann Brothers bankruptcy.  Valukas report that was produced by an independent investigator of bankruptcy revealed some startling facts.  A) Repo 105 ( Remove B$  security inventory from balance sheet) was completely illegal under the US Law and therefore Lehman Brother had to do all of these transactions in the UK under their London unit .  b) Out of 10 Board of Directors, only 2 had  direct experience in financial industry c)  The risk management committee  only met  twice in 2006 and 2007.
These areas get clearly addressed, if governance structure was formally established to deal with due-diligence proactively.  So what has been your experience with setting up of Governance in your organization?
This Post was published at Service Desk Institue

Process and Tools - The Argument Continues

This blog follows on from the recent post from Phyllis Drucker and stems from my recent experience delivering Service management tools training for Service desk professionals.

I recently delivered this  foundation training on Service Desk tools for Process owners. The course outline and prerequisites were communicated well in advance and when I stepped in for the first day, I had a great surprise. 80 % of the candidates did not have a formal ITIL foundation certificate and were sitting on a class that talks about service management tools aligned with ITIL process. When I enquired why they did not get themselves ITIL trained, the simple answer was we did not have time. We have scheduled a course in 2 weeks time.

I then spent half of my day 1 to just get them familiarized with the ITIL concepts and also managed to cover the rest of topic and lab exercises.

I was curious to understand how they planned to use the tools and the team leader mentioned that they were building a Service Mgmt COE and needed all service desk guys trained and on various SM toolset.
I see this issue mainly in countries like India where there is keen interest on tools and technology while the process aspect is always expected to be a freebie and is normally ignored.
Tailoring of tools or heavy customization is done by consultants within the client environment basically because they expect the tool to behave in a certain way and are not bothered about the actual need and rationale to customize.

Also I would have to say that  I have hardly ever  seen organisations leveraging more than 50 % of the features and capabilities shipped out of the box (OOB)
So in my opinion if the situation needs to improve there are 5 things that needs attention.

1. Understanding the true need of the organization or customer business requirements
2. Identifying the key ITIL processes that are applicable and help people understand the rationale behind usage
3. Identify an appropriate Service Management tool that fits to the purpose and objective
4. Enable meaningful business reporting to measure results and customer satisfaction
5. Ensure that the whole approach is communicated throughout organization and business units supported by training and soliciting feedback for ongoing service improvement
What has been your experience in addressing such gaps? Would love to hear your feedback and insights

This post was published at Shift on 03rd July 2014 

Why Should You Sign Up for a Mentor-Mentee Program?

As part of leading HP service management profession mentoring committee, I would like to register my thoughts as to why joining mentoring program would be a great value add and rewarding experience to enhance your career.
Most of us are busy in our existing roles delivering engagements or projects at a utilization of over 70 – 80 % that leaves us very little time for learning, exchanging views and developing new skills. We do not have the luxury to experiment on areas that we are interested and get exposure to people who have done that well in the past. So the aspirational area of our interest and passion is at the mercy of some miracle happening, to get us move closer to our goals.

Here is where I think organization should embark on Service Management mentoring program that can be handy and of immense value provided if you know your exact needs.
Here are my 8 Tips to make the Mentor-Mentee program effective once you get yourself signed.

1. Clear articulated requirements of mentee

Like every project, as a mentee ensure you have clear articulated requirements of what you would like to learn, what skill you would like to develop and outcomes expected after the tenure. I see some extract information like become expert on ITSM, ISO/IEC 20000. There is no clarity as to what your current level of knowledge expertise is and what you would like to achieve in the areas mentioned [Certification, Practitioner approach etc]

2. Develop overall plan, milestone and outcomes

In consensus with the mentor, mentee should develop and overall plan with milestone and outcomes expected. Mentee has to do the homework and ensure that mentor`s time is judiciously used while executing the plan. It is best to have at least once a month connected of 1 hour with planned agenda, experience sharing and resources that could be leveraged for further learning.

3. Commit time and frequency with Mentor

As a mentee, it is essential to commit time and agree on a definite frequency of synch up with the mentor to discuss on areas subjected to learning and development. Identify what time slot and date works better accommodating to the appropriate time zone. I don't like it when people don`t turn up on agreed date and time waste valuable time.

4. Adopt multiple channels of communication

While face-to-face is always recommended because we are globally diversified, phone calls and virtual rooms also work. In addition use email, chat and discussion forums to enhance your interaction with your mentors and community. This could make it quite a memorable experience.

5. Set up mutually beneficial agreement

Mentoring is a two way process in which both the mentor and mentee both needs to get benefitted. This means that every mentee should see how he/she can give back something for the mentor to get benefitted. This could be a different area where the mentee is expert at or provide aspects of support that would be needed for the mentor

6. Mentors stand to gain the most!

I have been a mentor myself for several years mentoring people from different geographies, skill set and experience. I have personally had a great learning experience culturally and also improved my people management and consulting skills. So if you are a mentor, be assured that this exercise will help you gain in all dimensions of overall development
Rewarding relationships with mentor and mentee happens when it is dealt with openness and absolute transparency. It is absolutely ok to say, I would not be able to help or share those information instead of beating around the bushes. Similarly, after a few conversations if the mentee feels that there is a disconnect with the way things operate, it is worthwhile to clarify and terminate with mutual consensus

8. Cash in on key lessons at your work

The best way to remember concepts is to put them to judicial use in your own work environment. So cash in on your key lessons and find ways to create value in your existing work. This ascertains value of this program to your manager.

These 8 steps have helped me and people I know gain immensely during a mentoring relationship. If you have had your experience, do share us your best practices that we all can imbibe in our future engagements.

This post was published at HDI Connect on June 23, 2014