Corporate speed and agility are essential to any business' success. More than 70% of organizations report that the rate of change has increased—and is accelerating—owing to factors such as consumer demand, global competition, new social and digital business models, widespread market volatility, and more active regulators. Yet despite this need for corporate agility, business leaders say their organizations cannot keep pace. Furthermore, most of these leaders believe the pace of technology delivery is a critical factor in enabling organizational success.
We needed the right organizational design and right experience in the team to build a change program that addressed the issues of agile delivery.”
RSA Insurance Group plc
Although technology delivery speed is critical, 63% of IT's business partners think their organization responds too slowly to technology-enabled opportunities. Most also will not trade IT speed for greater cost or risk, or for lesser quality or functionality.
CEB research reveals four inhibitors of delivering quality at speed:
- Too many stakeholders involved in decisions
- Technology experimentation proliferates projects and management complexity
- Uncoordinated scrutiny of technology risk
- Shortcuts today create delays in the future
There are two common approaches to speeding up technology delivery—but both fall short because they are too IT-centric. First, organizations set standards that reduce technology choice and lock down requirements early. Second, organizations adopt specialized methodologies such as Agile or dedicated teams designed for speed.
Both approaches assume that changing how IT governs technology or manages projects will improve speed. However, any approach that doesn’t prompt business leaders to change how they make technology-related decisions and interact with the corporate IT team will fail.
The best companies increase the end-to-end speed of all activities and all participants in the technology delivery process—within and beyond IT. They increase the pace at which they identify critical needs, decide how to support those needs, and deliver capabilities that create value.
CEB has identified the top three actions that speed up technology delivery:
- Improve handoffs between technology stakeholders
- Triage and simplify management processes
- Stop escalating lower-value decisions Adopting these actions can cut five weeks from a six-month project.
Responsibility for technology delivery speed cannot be left to the CIO and corporate IT alone. These initiatives will only succeed if business leaders:
- Own enterprise-level changes to governance, process, and structure
- Encourage behavioral changes within their teams
- Change the way they play the roles of sponsor and stakeholder in technology initiatives
CIOs and senior IT executives use strategic guidance and tactical tools from CEB CIO Leadership Council to optimize the performance of the IT function—and their business. Key topics include IT budgeting, IT delivery speed, organizational design, strategic planning, innovation, IT talent, and performance measurement.
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