The difference between Enterprise 1.0 and 2.0 Applications

Although we have never referred to our current approach to collaboration within modern enterprises as Enterprise 1.0 it has become implicit due to the notion of Enterprise 2.0. This is an attempt to say, “This is new! Look at this: it’s a completely new way of collaborating! What we did before is now outdated”

It’s not all hype either, but it does require cultural change. In an organization that is not prone to collaboration, implementing Enterprise 2.0 tools is not going to change that. As with any IT problem, you cannot solve it with a tool if the culture is not ready to change.

There are a few key characteristics of Enterprise 1.0 that are evident by comparison with their Enterprise 2.0 counterparts:

  • Enterprise 1.0 communications are 1-to-1 or 1-to-few. Consider email or instant messaging or even the telephone as a medium for 2-way communications with a lot of people. It would be unwieldy and at any significant scale completely unmanageable.
  • Enterprise 1.0 communications are not persistent. When I delete mail from my size-restricted e-mailbox the evidence of that communication is gone, along with the information hidden away in it.
  • Enterprise 1.0 communications are not pervasive. I cannot search through emails that Joe sent to John to see if they mentioned SOA because that communication was visible only to the two of them.

So by extrapolation we say then that Enterprise 2.0 communications must be:

  • For an unlimited audience. Communications are not 1-to-1, but many-to-many.
  • Persistent / Asynchronous. Their lifespan is not limited to the time when the communication occurred.
  • Referencable and searchable. It makes information out of communication.

These properties are all evident in Blogs and Wikis, but we should not make the mistake of saying that Enterprise 2.0 is the implementation of Blogs and Wikis in the organization.

It is the out-working of the understanding that organizations are too large and complex to collaborate the way we used to. Achieving alignment is the objective of collaboration and it is not trivial nor a waste of time, but has real impact on the organization that once achieved will put the organization ahead of those who have grasped this to a lesser extent forever!

Remember: “An organization’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive business advantage.” ~ Jack Welch, General Electric, Chairman

If we assume this is true, then the tools can help us do these faster,
but without the desire to learn and apply our learnings as an
organization we shouldn’t bother with the tools. If we are not
learning and collaborating and applying our learnings then not doing it
faster or more efficiently will not help.

Enterprise 2.0 is not only about tools, but about the realization that it is important to learn and collaborate and apply those learnings – then do it faster and more efficiently.

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Auditors are your friends – The Business Case for Infrastructure

Andrew McAfee in his blog entitiled “Still on the Case of the Business Case” speaks about the misuse of ROI as a basis for the business case for IT projects. The Primary reason given is that the link between technology and Business value is usually fairly tenuous.

This is exeggerated in the Case of Infrastructure IT components. Drawing a direct link between Network LAN infrastructure and Business value would be very problematic since the LAN underpins almost all activities, but is not the only contributor to the value. If you were to calculate the cost of all the components in a Value Chain for a specific business process then LAN costs would appear against most business processes; However it would be foolish to say that the return for that business process could be attributed to the investment in LAN infrastructure … YET without the LAN the process would be significantly compromised, if not in some cases impossible.

So I would suggest the risk approach to Infrastructure Investment. IT happens over and over again that Business refuse to invest in some infrastructure upgrades until one day it all comes tumbling down and then the cash become instantly available to fix it.

I have found that the risk approach to the problem is well known and understood by business decision makers, So as an IT manager use the auditors to articulate business risk due to infrastructure problems that will then be presented to business decision makers in a familiar and understandable way. There is seldom an ROI for upgrading Infrastructure, but the risk of not doing it is high.

So use the auditors for their specific purpose of articulating business risks.

I would say that the Business Case for Infrastructure spending should be Risk based instead of ROI based. What is the risk of not having item ABC? What is the risk of not including feature XYZ? What is the risk of not upgrading?

“What is the ROI of feature XYZ?” is a question that cannot be accurately answered nor properly speculated upon.

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Business Cost Effectiveness – The missing IT link

Very often a business will hand over a particular process to IT and once it is in place and automated it is “out of sight – out of mind”. As long as it doesn’t cause any trouble or disruptions the process is left to its own devices.

BUT

Business processes sometimes need to be retired and along with them the IT systems that support them.
This link is seldon drawn.

For example an IT system may be left supporting a business process which exists for a handful of clients who haven’t yet been migrated to some new product which has replaced the older one. The support of these systems comes at a cost and the ongoing IT processes to ensure their stability and recoverability remain intact. Very often these Business processes are then running at a loss and no-one is aware that this is the case because they have fallen under the radar.

This situation could continue for years until some crisis happens and the IT systems supporting this process need significant investment to keep them running and only then does the business notice that these systems have been running to support a few clients that they have failed to migrate off older products.

Enter BSM!

The processes and disciplines around BSM (Business Services Management) require Business Services to be mapped to IT components and could highlight early that there are components that the Business do not expect to exist any longer.

Once the BSM dashboards are published a business owner for a specific process should have some awareness of the costs and sub-processes that support a specific business process. This hopefully leads to the elimination of unprofitable IT processes and systems ealier rather than later.

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ITSM blah blah blah!

It seems that everyone is talking about implementing ITIL or doing service management properly, but no-one seems to have a process by which to do this. There are a lot of Frameworks lurking about in various IT companies and none of them seem to be practical enough for the Actual Operations and Support Teams to accept that implementing them is actually possible…

BUT, is the reluctance maybe just because the crew believe:

  • We really can’t improve
  • We’ll never get the budget to change
  • If we change and it ends up being much better, we’ll look bad for not having done this earlier.
  • We are working hard enough, this kind of change will make us work even harder
  • Better processes usually mean more admin and paperwork… yuck

Or some combination of the above.

It seems that the old Marketing philosophy of making the people hungry first is what is needed. We have to sell the need to have some ITSM processes in a way that the relevant teams start to crave a “better way” and eventually start asking for processes and tools to improve their roles.

HP, Microsoft and BMC all have simulation games that convey the message. These simulations take around half a day and cover all of the ITSM processes in a way that all the participants get a real feel for what is needed. The challenge is getting the necessary group of middle management to participate in a simulation game.

If we could get the right group of managers thinking in terms of the need for a better way to do IT Service Management they will come knocking; looking for the best-practice processes we speak so highly of.

We seem so anxious to start the journey that we are buying tools and initiating projects, implementing processes before we have the necessary need instilled. Even “I know I need something, but I’m not sure what” isn’t good enough. We need the respective Service management teams to be saying: “We are working too hard and we can’t prove that we are actually improving anything for the business. We need ITIL! Please!” Once the teams are talking like that the battle is won and a programme of projects to set up ITIL processes will succeed (or whatever guidelines/standards are decided on). What’s more the people will be finding ways to get proper processes implemented faster and cheaper, instead of thinking of reasons it cannot work.

Which is all a long-winded way of saying: Make sure you have REAL buy-in at all the required levels in the organisation before you try to implement ITIL. It makes the programme easier from start to finish. Rather spend the time and effort getting buy-in that trying to implement pilots to prove the benefit to a group of people who are trying to find the reasons it won’t.

I’d love to find the ROI of a marketing programme in terms of

  • Partial or no buy-in before project start: Project time and cost to implement ITIL
  • Full buy-in through marketing before project start: Project time and cost to implement ITIL

I am convinced the cost and effort savings in the second case would far outweigh the cost and effort of the marketing programme required to achieve the buy-in.

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Pricing SOA right

As an Internal IT service provider within a Large Corporate it is our responsibility to create an appropriate pricing model to ensure appropriate charge-back for the IT Services rendered on SOA deployments. The current thinking is to charge for the SOA services used by each business unit and to stop charging for the initial creation of these services where there is a potential for reuse.

The real challenge in creating the pricing model is to incentivise uptake of SOA, I.e. early adopters should benefit more than laggers.

An economic example of the current charge-back model is Negative inflation which is bad for the economy because if something will be cheaper tomorrow I will delay purchases. Small positive Inflation benefits the economy because purchase decisions are not delayed.

How do we incentivise the correct behavior with an appropriate charge-back model? How do we ensure that benefits of reuse are passed on to the early adopters? (I.e. creators of the opportunity to reuse)

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