Almost any functional manager you speak to will bemoan two things about their business life. It seems to take a lot longer to get anything done than it used to and, at the same time, all their internal customers are asking for things to be done in what seems like half the time.
There’s good reason for this. Organizational structures are more complex than ever before, more people in specialist roles are involved in making big decisions than ever before, and there is far more information than there ever has been with which to make those decisions (this post has more). This can leave everyone feeling like things are taking too long and so demand faster responses from those they work with.
This is particularly true of corporate IT teams: almost two-thirds of managers say they find IT slows them down in getting their jobs done.
Three Ways to Speed Up IT
Some of the more forward thinking IT functions ensure their employees understand that valuable ideas are “perishable” – that delays reduce the value of an idea over time. They look at ways not just to accelerate the speed at which they can get a piece of technology up and running but all processes they manage, from coming up with technology-related solutions to a business problem all the way through to showing how that idea or project is providing a return on investment once it’s launched.
One CIO in CEB’s network of IT professionals has done three things to speed up the way his team responds to internal customers and helps them make quicker and better decisions.
Use objective criteria to find opportunities for greater speed: The CIO developed three criteria to assess requests so that IT (and the rest of the business) uses the same method to identify the opportunities that benefit the most from greater speed. The criteria are:
Value perishability: The additional value gained through speed.
Interdependency: The risk shared across other functions.
Requirements volatility: The likelihood requirements will change.
Create multiple paths for delivery: For low value IT requests or requests with constantly changing requirements, IT created “fast track” delivery paths.
Where speed is most valuable (but low risk to other functions), IT lets business partners push projects through self-service processes. Requests with high interdependencies still require IT’s control to minimize risk.
Triage requests with simple and clear language. The CIO created simple triage questions to help IT quickly assign requests to the best delivery path.
Each question is based on the assessment criteria described above (interdependency, requirements volatility and value perishability) and is used to filter requests between self-service, fast track, and standard IT processes.