Taking a cue from the utilities sector, ask yourself:
- Can my IT team create a yearly/half yearly practice to review the technical currency of the services delivered?
- Can the service providers of IT be measured on the how they contribute to keep the technical debt to lower levels?
- Can technical debt management be an embedded capability for my CIO organisation instead of launching a separate transformation program every few years to simplify the IT landscape?
Lesson 3: Dial before you dig
Power utilities build and maintain lot of underground infrastructure which they share with land departments, property developers, telecom companies, water utilities, and agriculture department.
In many leading utilities, this information is accurately measured, catalogued and provided as a service for the simple reason that before anyone digs the ground they are clear on what is underneath them.
‘Dial before you dig’ is even offered through a self-service channel in many countries and regions, where critical information is made available for different stakeholders to act responsibly.
What can you learn?
In the world of technology management where everything is connected, there is great focus on ensuring the changes made to one system doesn’t impact the other.
The practice of IT change management is chartered with the responsibility to quickly push the changes to production without creating any risk to the existing landscape.
It could work for few IT teams, however, in several IT organisations change management is a bureaucratic and slow process where the ceremony of taking changes to the change advisory board is perceived as a painful experience.
But try to encourage your IT team to think of a self-service like ‘dial before you dig’ where a development team can assess the impacts and push through changes to production.
Ask if there’s a single repository which can simply and provide different IT developments teams with the ability to query and understand system dependencies. A configuration management database, if implemented and used properly, can provide information on system dependencies, however the focus really is on the ‘if.
Lesson 4: Guaranteed service levels
Leading utilities organisations - communicate on the service levels they guarantee to their customers and pay credit if they fail to deliver as per their promise.
Some even reward customers if they are the first to report on any outages. In other words, utilities challenge themselves on the level of services provided and involve customers as part of their process.
What can you learn?
The practice of service levels and service credits is commonly followed in IT delivery when it comes to managing its own service providers. However, CIO organisations can do more in terms of challenging themselves and communicating to the business on service levels and initiatives taken towards service excellence.
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