People Process Technology, Vamshi Barla, MSSBTA Senior Engagement Manager, September 2020
Aligning People, Process, and Technology
If you have been following our series of articles on driving positive business outcomes and achieving transformation goals, you know that we have covered a variety of topics around strategic planning, business-IT alignment, and effective project oversight using Leadership, Governance, and Accountability (LGA). We also acquainted you with our comprehensive and proven approach to gathering future state business requirements that can fulfill or exceed agency goals.
Successfully implementing and sustaining the desired business outcomes requires addressing the People, Process and Technology aspects of the transformation with equal rigor. To fully achieve business outcomes, you need repeatable and well-performing processes, technology that can effectively support business requirements, and people that are able to utilize the technology as it was intended to be used.
“Random acts of investment and improvement” in processes, technology/tools, and people will most likely NOT deliver the breakthrough improvement you are looking for. You need a coordinated effort that integrates and synchronizes investments in each of these pillars.
The next series of articles from MSS Business Transformation Advisory (MSSBTA) will focus on our approach to Application Optimization (technology), Business Process Improvement (BPI – process), and Organizational Change Management (OCM – people).
Technology infrastructure and business applications are “strategic assets” that need to be current, effective, and evolve continuously to support agency requirements. Unfortunately, while many solutions meet requirements at implementation, they fail to adapt to changing needs and become irrelevant within a few short years. State and local governments run numerous applications that are built on outdated technologies, using hardware and software platforms that are no longer supported. This creates Shadow IT, elevated support costs, redundant workarounds, employee and citizen dissatisfaction, application sprawl, and overall inability to meet agency goals. In the last decade, there have also been major technology transformations such as Cloud computing and Virtualization that can produce significant benefits, but most agencies cannot utilize these due to the patchwork of purpose-built legacy applications currently in use.
If you believe that a disproportionate amount of your agency’s budget is allocated to IT maintenance and support, we can conduct an enterprise-wide infrastructure and application portfolio assessment. We use our proven methodology to help state and local governments achieve near-term and long-term cost savings while also reducing risk.
However, we realize that most agencies simply do not have the time and resources to do a complete infrastructure and portfolio assessment. It is reasonable, then, to argue that every major investment in technology should be utilized as an opportunity to assess the suitability of in-house technology against alternatives in the marketplace.
Our Application Optimization is a rigorous and strategic approach to analyzing your current state application, along 5 key areas:
This analysis will give you the objective information needed to develop a roadmap to a technology optimized to deliver maximum value to your agency.
Business Process Improvement
Without a disciplined approach to Business Process Improvement (BPI) and a solid foundation in leading research, your projects are likely to become part of the staggering 54% of improvement projects that fail. Whether you are designing a process from the ground-up or re-engineering it, the challenges are similar and can be alleviated by following the BPI Best Practices below:
- Never make improvements at random or in isolation. Integrate and synchronize.
- Prioritize and select processes that are strategically aligned.
- Conduct fact/data-based analysis to ensure true root-causes of issues are identified. Do NOT depend on subjective analysis or opinion.
- Select approach (Lean, Six Sigma etc.) based upon need. Choose fit over standardization.
- Manage each improvement initiative as a project with effective sponsorship, communication, and Project Management/Oversight.
Organizational Change Management
Organizational Change management (OCM) is all about people—communicating with them, getting their feedback, and providing consistent explanations and directives to them. It involves answering the questions: How do we move the entire organization, including our culture and our employees, to the desired future state? How do we remain a cohesive organization in the process? A large part of the answer to those questions is getting employees to buy into the change and the keys to gaining this support are alignment, accountability, engagement and communication, and measurement.
Consider this: Lack of user adoption is the main cause for 70% of failed projects. OCM has been the Achilles Heel for IT departments and business units, putting projects and programs at risk – especially complex, transformational projects. We believe that the root of this problem is twofold:
- Project planning tends to fixate on technology and neglects the behavioral and cultural factors that inhibit user adoption. To complicate matters further, Change Management is often (incorrectly) reduced to a single activity in the Project Plan: “Training”. Training is just one facet of managing the people side of change. This challenge can be addressed by gaining senior leadership support early, ensuring a seat at the table starting at project initiation, allocating adequate CM resources, and effectively communicating change activities.
- Accountabilities for managing change and helping to realize the intended business outcomes post-project are not properly defined. In project ecosystems where there is no clearly defined accountability for OCM, it makes perfect sense for the PMO to be the organization-change leader and realize the benefits and accolades that will come from driving successful project outcomes.
MSSBTA’s approach to OCM is a practical/tactical adaptation of Prosci’s comprehensive ADKAR model, and is customized to each specific initiative, timeline, and other constraints.
Our Approach to People, Process, Technology
Successful transformations require an integrated, cohesive approach to managing the impacts to people, process, and technology. It pays to have a trusted advisor like MSSBTA that understands the challenges inherent in each and has the experience and the best practices to deal with them.
MSSBTA has decades of experience assisting government entities and private organizations modernize their technology infrastructure and applications, rationalize their IT portfolios, re-design business processes, and mange organizational change. Let us show you how we can help you do the same. Email Advisory@mssbta.com or call us at 602-387-2100.