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Essential partnerships

Divina Paredes | July 22, 2013
Projects run solely by IT will go down: By 2016, line-of-business executives will be directly involved in 80 per cent of new IT investments.

The second approach was to allow them to "touch and see" the systems. Johansen was cognisant that a single videoconferencing system they had installed based on ISDN was costly and too hard to use. So he enlisted executives to use the system and they became advocates within senior management for the project.

Johansen also attends user groups for key enterprise apps such as those for CRM, finance and HR. He says he spends around 10 hours a month in these meetings. "It is high bandwidth," he says, "you get in and get core stuff that is bothering people."

He says the approach at Beca is to make their biggest projects as "business led and IT enabled".

If it is a "pure IT" project like an operating system upgrade, Johansen says they will explain why it is vital to the business, and what is going on, how much it will cost, and program the timing so as to avoid impacting staff with "excessive change".

But programmes like CRM or HR systems will be led by the business, with support from business analysts. The IT people will help the business unit identify and articulate the processes, but the project will be dominated by business people and will not be identified as an IT project.

Johansen recalls the time when the company announced new programmes and to get a message across the organisation, they used the theme from the Hobbit movie An Unexpected Journey.

The group team members, including Johansen, dressed up as hobbits.

There was "a little bit of theatre" as each manager explained their respective part in the programme. "If we did it by PowerPoint, after the third slide, there was no chance they [the audience] would remember," says Johansen.

The takeaway from this? "Don't be afraid to be a bit outrageous."


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