All posts by Lori Aleman

Demystifying Complex Change Management Using the Pizza Principle

Complex Change | By David William Lee, Change Management Expert and Contributing Writer

A person I admire recently explained his view of managing complex change as,

“Taking people who are in a room eating pizza, dragging them by the hair
to another room, and forcing them to eat a slightly better pizza.”

This image of violent change for incremental improvement is extreme, but it is representative of many change efforts I have observed and explains simply why so many of them fail. The typical approach to organizational change is top down with a specific intent driven by people who are relatively unaffected by the change. The change is often high risk where failure can have a major impact and success is often determined by achieving the change within a specific time period. As a result, resistance is combated or suppressed. A standard assumption I often hear from change practitioners is that a certain percentage of people will self-select out of the organization because they cannot adjust to the change.

So, if people don’t like the pizza or simply object to the way they are forced fed, they are SOL?
What if someone is allergic to an ingredient?
What if their previous pizza was healthier?

For some organizations, the level of energy and resources required to change in this manner generates a lot of waste, undermines trust, and achieves little for all the pains taken. Moreover, what is considered “success” leaves in its wake unforeseen and unintended circumstances. I have seen statistics stating that between 60-80% of all organizational change initiatives fail to achieve their objectives, but if we look at how many actually achieve sustainable results, the numbers are likely to be much worse. By professional application of change management methods, these odds can be improved. That is as long as the organization is not complex.

Change in a Complex Environment

In a complex change environment, challenges are magnified because of diversity, rendering typical organizational change management methods inadequate at best. These methods assume that change occurs linearly through successive efforts and that by building consensus, people will ultimately support the change.

In fact, many changes are happening simultaneously, sometimes hidden from sight, and the consensus solutions only lead to dissatisfaction and frustration. The change will either have no application or undermine the interests of the agents. It may have unforeseen impacts or be one of many forces impacting them that cannot be reconciled. As a result, many people will openly reject the change or create shadow systems to maintain the status quo.

By looking at organizational change through a Complexity Lens we have an opportunity to see that our assumptions about change… need to change. Here are some of the ways to consider a complex change:

Change is normal and multi-linear: Change is not an event with a beginning, middle and end to be endured. Instead, it is inevitable, perpetual, and happens simultaneously all over the organization.

Change comes from many sources: Change is not driven from the top but comes as a result of many factors and influences. Bottom-up change efforts are recognized and valued.

Complex change is affected by internal & external conditions: Change is impacted, not only by what is going on inside the organization but also what is changing in the external landscape. The adaptive organization remains ready to adjust to the outside environment.

Successful change comes from observing & adapting: The outcome of complex organizational change may have a destination in mind, but the adaptive organization does not try to predict what may occur along the way. Instead, continuous observation and adaptation is used to make small adjustments like a ship correcting its course.

Change is efficient and results from many smaller/low-risk interventions: Changes occur at the lowest levels of the organization. This is enabled through the creation of connectivity and establishment of simple rules. As a result, the interventions are smaller while the risk is isolated. Once success is achieved at one level, the change is escalated for consideration at the next level further mitigating the risk.

Differences drive complex change: Resistance simply means that people have competing attractors. Identifying these differences allows for greater adaptation and drives better solutions. Finding a common attractor can help immensely.

Balanced dissent and cooperation is optimal: Dissent amplifies the differences and is to be explored. Where opportunities to cooperate are identified without sacrificing on essential local requirements, synergies exist. Where cooperation would be damaging to one or more players or bring down the satisfaction of whole, other solutions are sought out. Consensus is failure.

Under these assumptions, organizational transformation happens differently. Structuring for complex change requires a framework that allows for emergent behavior so that each agent or group make changes that at once align with the organization and meet local needs.

Let’s stretch our metaphor to the limit and see how it can work.

In this case, we may still make pizza, but people are encouraged to make their own small pizzas while experimenting with different ingredients. The dough, spices, utensils and oven are all provided (as part of the change framework), but each cook designs their pizza according to their own preferences, desires, and tastes. Some may decide that calzone is better while others may decide to use lavash bread to keep it healthy. A number of cooks may share recipes and partner on a pizza, or they may choose to make a single pizza with some ingredients on one side and different ingredients on the other. Once the pizzas are made, everybody gets to sample the results. If one or two pizzas prove to be popular, then more of these pizzas are made to share. If no optimum is achieved, everyone continues to experiment within the pizza framework.

Now isn’t that a nicer picture than being dragged by the hair for incremental results? What is interesting is how it works. Whether looking at the way organisms adapt or how companies like Lego or Pixar create, this balance of top down and bottom up adaptation is highly efficient and it can be applied differently depending on the environment. Of course, change starts with an idea. Innovation is what adaptation is really about and Change Management is in inexorably linked to it. A truly adaptive organization never ceases to innovate and remains in a continuous state of complex change. Integrating these two systems is the path toward efficient adaptation. But, what is innovation and how can it best be encouraged? This is something we will address in the future discussions.

Technological Evolution Creates a New Breed of CIOs

By Ralph Stauffer, MSSBTA Consulting Manager, January 2021

Evolution is an often misunderstood concept.  Our elementary vision of it is of fish growing legs, crawling out of the muck as alligators turning into rodents then monkeys then apes and finally something resembling people.  Of course, this is not how it works. In fact, evolution is quite complex. On one hand, it requires billions of mutations spread over millions of organisms. Many failures die out while others stick and eventually the whole system reaches a tipping point leading to a great evolutionary leap. On the other hand, drastic environmental changes can lead to significant mutations within a few generations. Both types of evolution are relevant when looking at digital transformational and the role of the CIO.

How Technological Evolution Happens

Technological evolution follows similar patterns as biological.  Much of it happens as a result of millions of small innovative changes that take place before the next technological era occurs.  Take for example, the transition between the agrarian age to the industrial age.  Many innovations, discoveries and failures were made over hundreds of years until they culminated into the technologies that enabled mass production. This similar process has been taking place over several decades culminating in the digital age.

Just some examples of current technological “mutations” include:

  • Blockchain – Distributed electronic transactions,
  • Drones – Unmanned autonomous vehicles,
  • Internet of Things (IoT) – Any device connected and exchanging information over the Internet,
  • Robots – Virtual agents assisting humans,
  • 3D Printing – Manufacturing techniques used to create three-dimensional objects,
  • Virtual Reality – Simulated images that viewers can realistically interact,
  • Augmented Reality – Virtual reality overlaid on the physical world, and
  • Artificial Intelligence – Automating human intelligence

Any of the above can be considered a major advancement in applied technology, but we happen to exist in a time when they are all maturing into useful applications simultaneously and being used to transform entire industries. It is from this aggregated development and maturity that we will likely see the next great leap as these new technologies come together to create the next tipping point.

One specific example of how this works is Jaguar’s augmented reality windscreens.  You may have heard of heads up displays (HUD) for fighter jets. Essentially, it is a transparent display that presents data in a view that allows the pilot to see the information and the viewpoints beyond.  Well, Jaguar is also applying this technology to their automobiles.  The HUD highlights obstacles in red, yellow, or green to indicate their distance.  It allows the driver to see through the sides of the car so they appear to be fully transparent.  It can even project a “ghost car” that the driver can simply follow instead of listening or looking down to a navigation device.  Meanwhile, Tesla, Google, and Uber are taking it to the next level by producing cars that can autopilot or don’t even need a driver in the car.  These changes are literally transforming the automotive industry.

As the bridges between accessibility, artificial intelligence, and automation closes, organizations move faster and faster and bring us closer to the evolutionary tipping point.  One day, in the future, we will be able to clearly identify the “mutations” that enabled the leap to occur like the ape tossing the bone in 2001 a Space Odyssey (that, when tossed, turned into a satellite), but in the midst of the process, the specific contributions are difficult to foresee. We just know it is coming.

How Must CIOs Adapt?

For the CIO this presents a challenge. The CIO has to evolve as well, but in the way that responds rapidly to the new environment. There are so many possibilities and opportunities, yet the outcome is uncertain. So, how do you know what strategies to pursue and when to pursue them? How do you know what capabilities to build when you are not certain of the requirements?

While the final evolution of the CIO’s role in technological evolution is uncertain, there are several steps that one can take to be to be prepared for the environment:

The Business Strategist – The CIO has a new role in leading business initiatives rather than just the technology applications.  The focus of the CIO is changing from that of controlling IT spend to meeting and managing business outcomes.  You need to review your strategic planning from a Business-IT alignment point of view, establish a clear vision based on business objectives, and develop an agile execution approach.  Moving faster only helps if you are moving in the right direction.  Otherwise, you might find yourself in Death Valley when you were trying to get to Yellowstone.

The Change Leader – CIO’s are often responding to or causing change. But you also need to be a change leader which means becoming a visible and active advocate communicating the purpose of change and the expected results to the employees and stakeholders. A CIO cannot afford to be an introvert. You need to engage and interact face to face with all constituents.  This will enable you to accelerate change when necessary and keep the organization engaged.

The Framework Architect – Volatility and uncertainty mean that the CIO also needs to develop an ecosystem and structure that is flexible and adaptable to variation.  This goes against the grain of traditional, hierarchical command and control approaches into more organic structures where team members are embedded into the organization they serve, collecting intelligence and testing innovations. This way when one or more components changes the ecosystem to adapt. Just like a smart phone can incorporate different apps within a single framework.

The Bimodal Manager – A CIO needs to have an innate ability to manage both stability and innovation at the same time.  This might be accomplished with separate teams each focused on either stability or innovation, or separate projects with a different focus but using the same resources.  The key is both stability and innovation need to co-exist throughout technological evolution.

The Keeper of Data – After all of the strategy discussions, where the rubber meets the road is with your data.  No matter where your ever-changing path leads you, your data needs to be there with you.  Now, where it is stored, how it is stored, and how it is retrieved may all change, but in the end you will always need quality data (customers, products, clients, staff, etc.).   Your data needs to be in an agile environment and available so the business can respond to an ever-changing market.  Yes, if you don’t already have a BI tool you could go out and get one, but you need to be thinking large scale.  In order to evolve you need to think not just outside of the box, but outside of all existing boundaries.

The Chief Security Officer – Protecting data extends to ensuring that the data you keep it safe from intrusion. This is more and more a challenge as there are more entry points and methods available for those who want to benefit from your data or just want to disrupt the world. You must be on top of these methods but also build systems that adapt and advance faster than those with bad intentions can think.

As technological evolution happens through the trial-and-error method until the tipping point is reached, the CIO needs to evolve by being responsive to the environment over a short period.  Fast, flexible, and fluid are all traits that are import, as is being the sponsor of change. In the end, when we look back we will see that it was the CIO with the combination of great leadership skills and promoting innovative change that really led us all into the next digital age.

Avoid the Perils of Change Saturation in Your Organization

By MSSBTA Staff | Change Saturation

Transformation is an investment, and one that is not without risk. One of the key risks that companies run into is that change saturation impacts productivity through dissatisfaction, resistance and even turnover of employees. This is one of the reasons to incorporate effective change management into your transformation programs.

In its flight risk model, Prosci® identifies the potential impacts of organizational change.  Simply put, “The longer the organization remains in the “high-stress” risk and flight region (the red-zone), the more extreme will be the consequences for employees, customers and the business.”

With any change, you can expect a decline in productivity and an increase in resistance. The size of the risk is commonly determined by the time that employees have to remain in a period of discomfort due to change and the intensity of that discomfort. The less effective the change management strategy, the greater the risk.

The Risk of Change Saturation

Another key factor often not considered is how much change employees are meant to endure.

In its 2016 benchmark report of over 4,500 participants, Prosci reported the number of companies planning to increase their change was over 70% and rising each year.

We all know that change is a constant in this day and age. It comes from all directions-from changes in the market and new competition to applications of new processes and technologies. As a result, mid-sized to large organizations can have a lot of change occurring at any given time in any group within the company implementing something new on a seemingly continuous, non-stop schedule.

Of course, each group believes their initiative is the most important and should take priority. Rarely do they stop to think about how they may be impacting any specific group within the organization. While one group may have only limited impact, another group may be getting hit on all sides.

The net result is that people can feel overwhelmed, and in some cases paralyzed, impacting individuals throughout the company. This is known as change saturation, and it can happen at the organizational level, the group level, and the individual level. According to the same Prosci report, 78% of participants reported they were at or near the point of change saturation. And, this number was also increasing.

Identifying the symptoms of change saturation is not easy. Some indicators include a substantial increase in sick leave, passive and aggressive negative behavior toward fellow employees or management, rumor mongering, an uptick in negative social media comments, and failure to attend optional meetings about the changes. Ultimately it can result in a massive loss of productivity or high rates of turnover.

Identify the Change Portfolio

The next step is to look at the changes going on and identify them. Develop a comprehensive review of changes, the sources for the change, and the groups/departments potentially affected.

These are all important questions that should be addressed to properly scope out the necessary resources, tools, and techniques that should be employed to effectively implement and manage the initiatives. While some organizations may be quite complex, which makes identifying every change effort difficult, with some nominal effort, the primary changes can usually be identified quite quickly.

Develop a Change Saturation Matrix

While identifying the change portfolio, focus your attention on some key questions:

  • Who is impacted? Identify which groups are impacted by the change. Taking this down to the individual level will be to the benefit of the entire organization. Think across geographic and functional positions.
  • How deep is the impact? Are the changes highly disruptive, do they have an ancillary impact or does it vary? It helps to have a system of rating the impact of the change and enabling the groups to self-assess will generally provide a more accurate reading.
  • How adept are they at dealing with change? Some groups and individuals are used to working in disruptive environments, while some experience a higher level of anxiety. Knowing the readiness and acceptance of change will help you understand the saturation point.

With this quick analysis, you can begin to identify a saturation point for each group and from there create an assessment of the organization as whole.

Mitigate Your Risk

Now you have the makings of a roadmap for mitigating risk at multiple levels. The first thing to look for are the hotspots. Who is getting hit hard by multiple disruptive changes and what groups or individuals are not particularly adept at dealing with it? These are the folks who could be an immediate flight risk. It is more than possible they are already out searching for a new position or creating internal strife, so it is important to engage with them and their managers immediately. Then, you can advance to those who are experiencing a high level of change and either that change is disruptive or they are not change ready, and so on down the line.

The strategy for mitigating risk is situational, but at least now you can now take proactive steps to fill the gaps. Establishing trust is always the first step in these situations which may involve working with the manager or direct supervisor of the group on appropriate measures including prioritizing the changes, adding resources or tools to help get through the tough periods, coaching in change management, and providing assurances backed by rewards and incentives.

And, chances are, if people are in the red zone they may already be aggressively negative or even hostile to the organization, so actions needed might be substantial. Involving your human resources department may be appropriate.

Manage for the Future

If the organization is expected to continue with a high volume of change, which is likely, it may make sense to set up a change management function to monitor the portfolio of programs.

In the least, new change programs should continue to be evaluated as they are introduced into the mix to determine what impact they will have on the existing portfolio. Current programs can be evaluated to see if they can be restructured to lessen the impact or removed all together for the time being. Continually monitor if the proactive steps taken are effective and to what degree, if any, they need to be adjusted or augmented.

This just scratches the surface of the actual work necessary to effectively combat change saturation and change portfolio management. Additional steps can include centralizing information and reporting, formalizing portfolio management, setting up collaboration channels for change, and more. The steps really depend on how big a transformation the organization is going through, what investment you are making and when you want to achieve your returns. By taking a more holistic view of the organizational change you can ensure that people stay engaged, frustration is minimized, resources are properly identified and allocated, programs are successful, and people not only see the benefits, but become agents of change.

Don’t Think You Need to Invest in a Cyber Security Program? Think again!

By Dr. Romeo Farinacci, Cyber Security Expert and Contributing Writer

Keeping your business safe with Cybersecurity investments

Getting pulled over and found without auto insurance can cost you hundreds, but getting caught without cybersecurity can cost you millions.

Cybersecurity is more than meeting compliance, regulations, laws, and standards, it is about sustaining your business in this competitive landscape. Without effective cybersecurity tools and best practices in place (i.e. appropriate patches, periodic scans, or hardened network devices) the likelihood of data loss or intellectual property leaks as result of hacks, ransomware, viruses, or simple human errors in data management increases substantially, thereby reducing an organization’s profitability, market value, trustworthiness, and ability to be competitive.

Understanding that data is a product, service, or good, and efficient management of such data can provide profit in the billions of dollars, companies will begin to grasp the importance of data protection that cybersecurity standards and controls provide.

How do you measure the return on investment (ROI) for Cybersecurity initiatives?

How can an organization balance the costs of sophisticated security technologies and communicate the benefits they provide? Some simply state, “Potential cyber breaches and their consequences justify the upfront and ongoing expense required to prevent its occurrence.”

Many large enterprises use a risk assessment approach and current research among like organizations who have been compromised to identify the likelihood, impact, and threats associated with various risks. These values provide a what-if scenario and cost analysis for not implementing or controlling the data flow appropriately. However, small and midsized businesses (SMBs) with limited resources face challenges in obtaining, applying, and managing cybersecurity standards and controls and have bigger challenges and understanding and communicating the investment of cybersecurity. In many cases, they also lack the research to compare potential impacts of data loss for their organization.

Most executive leaders have a good grasp of market risk, financial risk, operational risk and so on, but lack the knowledge of cyber risk, especially for new businesses who have yet to gather metrics to identify potential threats. Executives and board members need reliable data to make informed strategic decisions. Using language such as ‘could,’ ‘may,’ and ‘most likely’ provide sound insight but lack confidence and true justification. “…many key decision makers still insist on seeing real, measurable results in order to justify the value of having an established, solid threat detection plan in place.” All things considered, trying to calculate and communicate a return on investment for cybersecurity is a poor and in many cases unrealistic approach.

How much are you willing to spend, to save?

This is perhaps the foundational question in balancing cost and benefits (or potential benefits) for cybersecurity strategies. Security professionals love to use scenarios, case studies, or simple metaphors to express the meaning and justification for various tools and technologies used to secure and manage enterprise intellectual property and consumer data. For example, why purchase locks and security monitoring systems on a home? What if during the lifetime in a residence no one ever tries to enter the home unannounced; does this still justify the expense accrued over the years for the lock and security system? When relinquishing the residence, is there truly a return on investment? Americans spend thousands of dollars a year on home security systems for peace of mind, because let’s face it, if a bad guy wants in, they will get in. This follows true in cybersecurity as malicious actors will find a way regardless of the measures put in place, but for some organizations (very few) a breach may never occur. However, the role of cybersecurity is not necessarily to keep bad guys out, but to limit what they can access or exploit, to reduce reaction time or mean time to resolution (MTTR), to demonstrate the organization’s diligence, competency, and trustworthiness with consumer data, and ultimately to train and educate internal employees on proper use of data.

Investing in cybersecurity improves productivity and saves money. One could argue that it also increases profitability as it communicates to consumers trust and reliability. It not only saves money from what could happen, but from what does happen. According to a recent article “…the major sources of cyber threats aren’t technological. They’re found in the human brain, in the form of curiosity, ignorance, apathy, and hubris. These human forms of malware can be present in any organization and are every bit as dangerous as threats delivered through malicious code.” Security awareness training for employees on how to properly manage, store, and transmit data provides data proficiency and control that positivity impacts productivity. Data is available and reliable at critical moments, is transmitted securely with integrity to persons of interest, and is stored and backed-up for quick recovery. Investing in the right cybersecurity tools and technologies provides business leaders a peace of mind in operations and management of digital information or revenue streams.

According to Murphy’s Law, bad things can and do happen. Whether external or internal a compromise of intellectual property may occur. With the right cybersecurity investments, the root cause can be identified, data can be tracked, and recovery operations can be underway in minutes. Companies have spent hours, weeks, months, or years trying to determine how an incident occurred, what data was compromised, and how to prevent or reduce the reoccurrence of the incident. “It is estimated that about 60 percent of MTTR is spent determining the root-cause of the actual problem.” Cybersecurity tools can save thousands of man hours by reducing the MTTR and getting operations back into production. A key strategy to investing in cybersecurity is to consider the most impactful cyberthreats that are likely to occur and apply appropriate measures to not simply deter but recover quickly and with little disruption to business. This is where cost savings really shines!

Your key takeaway

Treat cybersecurity as an investment in meeting business strategies with little friction from the ongoing cyberwar. It is not to be treated as an insurance policy or broken down in such a way that a hypothetical ROI can be established. These misconceptions for building a cybersecurity program can lead to disappointment from employees, loss of support from leadership, and misrepresentation of the true value cybersecurity is bringing to the workforce. Executing cybersecurity programs and strategies is a valuable investment opportunity that will improve productivity and increase profitability for the business; by saving money, saving time, and integrating efficiencies in operations.


September 2020 Insights

Join MSSBTA at the Virtual Arizona Digital Government Summit

MSS Business Transformation Advisory is proud to be a sponsor of the Virtual AZ Digital Government Summit 2020. During the 2-day event, drop by the HUB for a virtual a tour of our booth and meet our team.

Connect with one of our team members directly at 602-387-2100 or

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Change Readiness Review

Vendor selection

Our Process Readiness review helps you assess the level of pain you have with existing technology or business process and helps you measure your “readiness” and “willingness” to change and to move forward with a new technology or business process.

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4 Areas to Consider in Business Requirements

Transformational change begins with Leadership

The way we work has changed but have your business requirements? Here are 4 areas to consider as you gather Business Requirements in a virtual work environment

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Build a Business Case that Measures Project Success

Pop in, have a drink, and tell us what you’ve been up to. We’ll catch you up on MSS and introduce you to some new faces on our Leadership Team. It’ll be FUN!

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MSS Business Transformation Advisory is committed to helping organizations thrive
during uncertain economic times. Contact us directly at
or 602-387-2100 to learn more.

MSS Business Transformation Advisory: Accelerating Big Change through Leadership, Governance, and Accountability

August 2020 Insights

Boost Your Project Success with Leadership, Governance, and Accountability.

MSSBTA Vice President and GM Keith Latchaw shares his perspective on why applying MSSBTA’s unique transformation oversight strategy to any project or initiative is vital to its success.

Watch Video 

Build a Business Case that Measures Project Success

The Perils of Change Saturation and Steps to Mitigate Your Risk

It’s time to rethink how we measure project success. Almost 50% of transformation projects do not even quantify business benefits and almost 70% of transformation programs deliver less than 50% of their targeted value.

Learn more

Business Checklist for Arizona State Agencies

Follow these five steps to lead and manage change during COVID-19 and beyond.

Free download

Build a Business Case that Measures Project Success

business requirements gathering process infographic

According to research, 70% of projects fail due to poor requirements.

Eliciting and clearly documenting requirements is a skill set.

 Learn more

MSS Business Transformation Advisory is committed to helping organizations thrive
during uncertain economic times. Contact us directly at 
or 602-387-2100 to learn more.

MSS Business Transformation Advisory: Accelerating Big Change through Leadership, Governance, and Accountability

Build a Robust Business Case that Measures Project Success


The Perils of Change Saturation and Steps to Mitigate Your Risk

Business Case, Vamshi Barla, MSS Senior Engagement Manager, August 2020

When building a business case it is time we rethink how we measure project success.

Let us start with some introspection. As a leader, how many times have you heard a transformation project successfully fulfilled the operational and financial benefits as laid out in its business case? Now, think of the number of times you heard that a project was successfully delivered under budget and on schedule.

If you had difficulty thinking of a single project that measured success as “Meeting business case objectives” and not “Delivered on schedule and under budget”, you are NOT alone.  Almost 50% of transformation projects do not even quantify benefits or draw up a robust business case!  These are literally once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to generate value for organizations. As a result,  two-thirds of those without a business case do not track value delivered once the project is labeled complete.

Both of those scenarios are squandered opportunities to create true differentiation in the marketplace. Is it really a surprise to hear that ROI on transformation programs is usually disappointing? Almost 70% of transformation programs deliver less than 50% of their targeted value.  That is not what anyone would consider success!


Download your copy of the Business Case PIJ Checklist


Build a Business Case

A well-thought-out business case is a promise of a better future, based on educated, consensus-driven assumptions and projections. At MSS Business Transformation Advisory (MSSBTA), we strongly believe large transformation efforts need to be clearly articulated and thought-out, detailing the operational and financial drivers of value (both qualitative and quantitative). MSSBTA uses a proven, holistic methodology that combines a top-down approach (based on goals, market analysis, and industry benchmarks) with a bottom-up approach (historical performance, leadership inputs, and proforma projections), to formulate a realistic and strong business case.

Measure Results of Your Business Case to Capture Value

Creation of the business case is only one half of the story. We have documented the targeted value by which success will be measured. In return, leaders owe it to their organizations to ensure that delivered value meets or exceeds targeted value.

At MSSBTA, we have developed a Value Tracking and Maximizing methodology that can drive effective capture of value. Along with strong, ongoing oversight, our approach enables you to identify and pull the right value levers. Pulling them in the correct sequence can influence desired outcomes and help capture benefits faster.

For example, in a new inventory system transformation, one possible driver of financial value is working capital reduction.  One of the levers we can pull with the transformation is improved forecasting capabilities.  Ensuring the identified lever is truly engaged across the organization, we can assure the targeted benefits are realized.

It is high time we stopped measuring project success solely based on schedule and budget. The true test of project success is “Did we accomplish what we set out to achieve?”.



2020 MSS Business Transformation Leader of the Year Award

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Nominate a Transformational Leader or Organization by August 7, 2020.

Submit your nomination for the MSS Business Transformation Leader of the Year Award, presented at the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation on Wednesday, November 4, 2020. This is your opportunity to recognize an executive or an organization (profit or not-for-profit) that has achieved transformational business goals by driving positive business outcomes in their organization.

Additional award requirements:

  • Organization must be in operation for three years or more
  • Generating $25 million or more in annual revenues
  • Headquarters and/or significant operations in Arizona
  • Transformation achieved measurable outcomes in 2019
  • Leader achieved success by demonstrating the traits and character of a transformational leader

To nominate your leader or organization for this prestigious award, download the nomination form here.

Deadline for nominations is Friday, August 7, 2020.

Inaugural Winners

Meet Andrew Bess, President and COO, and Paul Green, Director of Business Development, of Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance, winners of the 2019 MSS Business Transformation Leader of the Year award! The inaugural award winners were announced at the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation on October 24, 2019.

“Paul Green and I were honored to win the Transformational Leadership of the Year Award at the Governor’s celebration last year. Innovation has never been more important. The pandemic continues to expose the need for transformation and progress as a society. Innovators are at their best when faced with a challenge or fight. The impact of these awards give hope to the potential that we all have for making anything possible,” said Andrew Bess, Chief Executive Officer of Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance.

“Companies like MSS create a platform to champion innovation and help the business sector transform not just the world of today but also decide where we all collectively go tomorrow.”


Celebrate with Us

2020 marks the 17th year of this prestigious, black-tie event Click here for more information about the GCOI event



What is Business-IT Alignment and Why Does it Matter?

Business-IT Alignment, Vamshi Barla, MSSBTA Senior Engagement Manager, July 2020

What is Business-IT Alignment?

As you can imagine, there is no universal blueprint for businesses that successfully fulfill their purpose and achieve their mission. However, most leaders agree that Strategic Alignment is one of the critical contributing factors.  When all elements of a business, much like rowers on a boat working in unison, are in sync the result is Strategic Alignment.  They work together with the sole purpose of fulfilling the business objectives. While the concept sounds simple, achieving alignment can be a complicated and evolutionary process. A company’s purpose generally does not change, but department level strategies and organizational structures do, which can make chasing alignment feel like rowing in circles! With a robust framework and governance structure in place this process can be simplified, and its results sustained.

Faced with limited resources, Agency leaders should prioritize business components with higher potential for transformation, such as Information Technology (IT). Nobody can challenge the power that IT has to transform businesses and indeed entire industries. To do so, however, IT must evolve beyond its traditional role of a cost center that supports the business and become an innovator that provides competitive advantage for the business.

Download your FREE copy of the Business-IT Alignment Checklist

Good IT Strategy

One critical enabler of effective and long-lasting Business-IT Alignment is a well-crafted and continuously fine-tuned IT Strategy along with the IT operational capabilities needed to achieve the IT Strategy. Business stakeholders usually lack the technology perspective and knowledge to translate business objectives into IT initiatives that can help achieve them. IT leaders need to work together with the business to define the IT Strategy.

A good IT Strategy:

  • Clearly links IT initiatives to business goals and objectives,
  • Optimizes IT capabilities to realize them, and
  • Adds additional IT capabilities to leverage new or previously unused technologies in support of achieving business goals and objectives

Do you think your Agency has an IT Strategy that is designed to support the goals and objectives of your business? Does your IT organization have the capabilities needed to support your IT Strategy? Are your Business and IT well aligned?


Take a brief 15-question survey that can provide a strong indication of your Agency’s current alignment.

At the end of the survey, you will receive a score and a brief commentary. If your survey returns a near perfect score, congratulations! your organization is aligned in most of the assessed areas. For most of us though, the reality is that IT works mostly independent of the Business, and a list of IT projects is sometimes all that constitutes an IT Strategy.


Why it Matters

The velocity and magnitude of technology changes today have increased dramatically compared to anything we have seen before. If we are to realize the business value through the adoption of emerging technologies, CIOs and CEOs must address significant challenges. It is time for IT to evolve into a trusted partner, empowering business through innovation and efficiency. The time to act is now!

Optimize Business-IT Alignment

MSSBTA can help.  Contact us to perform an in-depth, full Business-IT Alignment Assessment to uncover areas which could use some improvement. Once current state alignment is understood, we can help you develop a roadmap that identifies opportunities for enhancing the harmonious relationship of business and IT.

MSSBTA utilizes a comprehensive methodology that walks you step-by-step through the activities that enable IT Strategy development and Business-IT Alignment. Our methodology uncovers shortcomings between the current state of the IT organization and the ideal target state.  It helps develop a roadmap of critical initiatives to achieve the organization’s goals.


Contact MSSBTA to enhance your organization’s Business-IT Alignment and craft an effective IT Strategy. or 602-387-2100