A new revolutionary or evolutionary ideas are not agreed in one step nor in first step. It is a process to build consensus even to explore a new idea. An IT strategy may be an evolutionary or revolutionary idea based on the current state of an organization. In the IT strategy definition process, the idea of change must be agreed by senior and executive management of an organization before even a new IT strategy definition process is kicked off. A need and purpose for a change in an IT organization becomes imperative when there is a business strategy clearly defined. How do you define IT strategy when there is no clearly defined business strategy. In the previous post, I recommended that, in those scenario, create an IT strategy to improve the value of IT organization. Since the IT valuation process and methods are so vague, I suggest, it is not wise to start the discussion with senior executives as to increase the value of an IT organization as IT strategy. The moment an IT strategy person starts the discussion of improving value of the company, the speculation starts with wild imagination which are destructive.
First step in introducing a change is to have courage to talk to executives of the organization and get their blessings for your ideas. The philosophy is, people will listen to your idea when you tell them nicely and you will have their blessings if it is a good one. The rank you hold in the organization does not matter and you will be able to connect with them, make them listen and get their blessings. Result of the attempt to make the connection with your idea with your ideas may be career threatening but, as a strategy person, you need that courage to take the risk to make that change in the organization.
Reduction in operating cost of an IT organization is an easy sell. If someone has an idea to reduce the operating cost by 20-25% with out the reduction of services nor resources, then you will get everyone’s attention in the board room. Open source platform would be a good starting point if it is not fully maximized in the organization. Receive conceptually concurrence on embracing and encouraging open source platform in the organization. If that is accomplished, that is a great starting point for a long road to reach the end goal – increase the value of an IT organization.
It goes back to the abstract strategy approach “think big, start small and run fast”.
Once open source platform adoption is agreed than the next step is to show results. Look for a commercial software product that has significant on-going maintenance cost. It could be due to license, complexity, resource availability, hardware or others. Identify an area carefully and diligently analyze the cause for higher cost. Study the availability of open source equivalent and its capabilities, capacity, supportability and maturity. Compare and contrast it with commercial product. If it is feasible to show cost saving with the open source replacement, identify technical resources and perform end-to-end proof of concept and show the results to the senior management.
When people run fast, it is assumed that you reach the destination sooner. Generally, the audience does not have the curiosity to inquire the distance you run. When you do a first proof of concept to prove your first idea of a long road, the time taken to accomplish it is very important. Don’t take more than 5 weeks to complete the proof of concept to show the results. Draft an implementation plan with risk.
Details on how to receive concurrence on open source adoption from senior and executive management will be in my next post..