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Hey CIOs, your Operating Model decisions need not be binary!


I spend a lot of time talking with CIO’s and I have no doubt they are being stretched to breaking point. Business have identified the need to move with alacrity, taking advantage of digital opportunities. Which is in contrast to BAU services undertaking slow transformations to cloud, or delivery by providers on legacy MSP/Integrator models.


It’s tempting to grasp for the next ‘silver bullet’ framework. But the short term reality is a portfolio of products and services with diverse attributes and delivery models. How can we stop the stretch and accelerate our organisational capability?


IT Operating Models

I’ve been consulting in IT Operating Models for over 15 years - 20 years if you allow ITIL as an Operating Model! Over time I have refined my thinking towards a clear and repeatable approach.


Firstly, we need to understand all dimensions of the Operating Model interact and need to be considered together as a “system” for managing IT.


Secondly, we need to understand our technology products and services drive the Operating Model. The attributes of these products and services will drive the requirements for the Enterprise IT function within the business. This diagram shows this relationship.

For many dimensions we can design a business wide Operating Model. For example, we need 1 Organisation design, 1 Engagement model and 1 Measurement and Improvement model.


For dimensions such as Value Streams and capabilities, some analysis is required of Products and Services. This will determine if multiple ways of doing Requirements to Deployment exist. For example, some products may use an agile approach, whereas some business process services may use a waterfall method, largely executed by external parties.


Designing a Technology Portfolio

The model below, derived from a lean manufacturing approach, helps us dissect our technology portfolio and make deliberated design choices on value streams and supporting capabilities. To implement new capabilities we can use scrum based capability uplift sprints or to make incremental improvements, we can run a Kanban approach.

This approach is holistic and practical, but the tooling across the technology lifecycle has always been a challenge. Many businesses would love to further automate and develop an end to end tooling model.


Enter IT4IT

In 2016 the Open Group released the IT4IT standard, providing a framework for the IT Operating Model. This model frames IT as a flow of value from left to right. The outline of a single architecture for IT allows control and increased acceleration of the flow of value.

IT4IT also accommodates and unifies traditional and emerging IT Management frameworks. You can simultaneously use Scaled Agile, ITIL, DevOps and COBIT. Each framework can be integrated into the model. There are many successful case studies to draw on. One of my favourites is ABN AMRO – they’ve certainly dealt with all the challenges.


Stop the Stretch

Doing nothing is no longer an option for any CIO. The CIO needs to build an Operating Model dealing with the continuum of Products and Services from old to new, aka digital and traditional.


My view is the Operating Model in concert with IT4IT and ServiceNow is transformative. A benefit of using ServiceNow, which has been designed as an end to end platform for the IT use case, is it does the bulk of what the IT4IT standard mandates. Embracing ServiceNow will allow a great leap forward in a short space in time. It’s a rewarding process achievable through deliberate analysis and design.


Reach out and with ValueFlow “The best experience starts here.”

Until then, Be The Goat!

Dave