A sizeable thank you to Rod Willmott for this article, which asks the question, “What happens when IT is no longer on the critical path for business change projects?”
Whilst it is becoming clear that rapid tools, use of agile techniques and advances in infrastructure simplicity, can massively reduce the IT life cycle to a point where ‘IT is no longer the blocker’ it is essential that we rethink the business processes that go along with these advances in technology capability.
In reality, extended IT life cycles have protected organisations from having to put in place controls and governance that has hitherto been provided by IT change management functions. IT projects often end up embedding many of the business readiness activities or at least providing a vehicle for them to happen in slow motion. If the systems of the future are delivered in much shorter timescales we will see a lack of business change management capability becoming an issue. For example, some companies have experienced issues with configurable systems, such as rules engines, where a rule has been promoted to live, grinding the system to a halt and having a significant impact on customers; after an incident like this organisations often implement change management processes and more rigour around changes to the tool.
As more and more applications allow true business flexibility in product or function configurability, the fact that we are were all used to the controls, governance and testing of such changes being embedded in an IT project will become obvious and new processes to govern change will need to be put in place. Many configurable systems of the past have in reality still been IT changes, as the configuration has been coding under another name, however the cloud environment and truly business manageable functions are starting to emerge, which will increase the demand for more IT like disciplines in business functions. However, a balance needs to be struck, one organisation went from being able to change rules in real-time to a five-day change management process to ensure the changes minimized the impact on customer service.
In summary the call to organisations is not just to think about faster IT deliveries, they are coming if you let them, but to think about the end-to-end changes needed in your governance models, business responsibilities and testing approaches to truly take advantage of a Fast Track World.
Rod Willmott, Fast Track (Innovation) Director at LV Insurance