Call for Business Cases

“Deliver Business Value with IT! – Design, Build and Run Effective IT Strategy execution to business needs” Is now ready to go to press I would look for Business Cases for the reviewed version to be released in April. I look for business cases (testimonials) where IT supports the transformation of the Business Model (contact me @

Please find an excerpt below that I hope that you will enjoy.

Cheers Martin

To avoid the “Marshmallow” momentum
I regularly perform an innovation cursus where we use the Marshmallow challenge as an exercise to demonstrate the make or break factor of a project (strategy, innovation production, sales, marketing, R & D) and the importance of to produce a customer journey map and prototype. Each time I perfom the exercise it hits me how often the “Tadaa” moment turns in to the “Uuh” (translated in to that they did not get it) moment during the delivery of an IT project / IT strategy delivery. But rest assured this would also be valid for strategy, marketing, production, R & D, Sales and Delivery.
Within the exercise we demonstrate how IDEO with a simple customer jurney map (day in the life of) formalised, modelised (prototyped if needed) and validated by the client permit significant improvement in effectivenes (that is productive and efficient) and the customer perception of the experince (in this case Amtrac and the General Portland Hospital).
The objective is to address the actual health care service, the patient and staff experience of the service and then define the ways it could be improved. The developpment of what became IDEO Project Journey was key in this success.
Step 1 – Observe: Try to define and map the different health care segment (surgery department, waiting room…) of the hospital/health care service. Collect feed-back from different patients/staff members of each segment (then make a statistical survey, with both quantitative and qualitative information about the service and give a mark to each segment). Rank the grades and select the segments that obtained the worst grade. Experiment the journey of a patient in those specific segments (use shadowing, interviews…).
Step 2 – Synthesize: Confront the patient and the staff point of views of each segment in the health care service (use a unique support like a board to give a synthetic view). Carry out a « typical patient journey » for each segment selected.
Step 3 – Generate Ideas: Allow patient and staff members to post ideas of improvement or suggestions in a box available in the hospital. Brainstorm with the staff.
Step 4 – Refine: Realize a quick prototype for each main idea. Test the prototypes with staff members and patient to analyze what could be quickly improved. Give a provisional budget for each main idea.
Step 5 – Implement: Implement the ideas that suit to the budget constraints. Implement the ideas collaborating closely with the staffInform staff and patients of the undergoing change. Be receptive to direct feedback.
If I now describe what can happen in an IT project (all examples are fictional, for educational purpose and any similarity to a real IT project would be coincidental).
Step 1. – Support business processes and enhance the customer experience: (this is where we tie back to the IDEO project journey):
Step 1 – Observe: (Context A) A vendor of a process modelisation tool manages to convince the business or IT executive team that to provide a modelised version of business and IT processes was business critical. (Context B)  A business or IT internal client wants to industrialise a process or a bundle of services with IT. We decided to use the same consultants as for the six sigma initiative (below) to capture business processes. The problem is that the business people are to busy to do their job (and might not be able to formalise their processes). And if their work is automatised we might chuck their work out on the cloud or an outsourced provider as well (the last time they spoke to a consultant their colleague was fired (sorry made redundant, sorry given the opportunity to seek new challenges))? Obviously they do not get it.
Step 2 – Synthesize: (Context A) The captured processes are captured in a process modelisation tool and will sit in a cuppord. (Context B) The captured processes (in the case of the industrialisation effort) delivered by the somewhat reluctant users are translated by a business analyst in to user requirements. These are then transferred to managment for verification. The 300 pages document sit on a disk somewhere for 3 weeks to 3 months before it is shipped of for programming.
Step 3 – Generate Ideas: The user requirements are programmed.
Step 4 – Refine: The end user team is brought in 18 months after to validate the application. Hmm they might not have gotten it either. At least we avoided a fist fight…
Step 5 – Implement: The project sponsor refuses to sign off the project budget because the coulour of beige of the application is not right.
Step 2. – Solve the problem: We realise that the customer experience and the services delivered by IT does not work / might not be perceived to be effective and the green light red light charts that we produce to demonstrate that we are able to keep the lights on during critical periods of the run performs the effect that we thought it would.
Best case scenario : We convince the executive team to leverage social media and post the business strategy via facebook and twitter for the IT personnel to appreciate it in a crisp 140 characters format
Not half that bad case scenario: We bring in a Top 3 or Big 5 to perform a change excercise (preferable a very long slide deck of .ppt that if not produces nausea or panic puts the subject (participant) out (commonly called death by powerpoint) from exhaustion.
The presentation should idealy be based on example of a project put in place for the production in a tooth paste / car factory (not our domain). If possible with a reorganisation so that a task that previously took 3 days now take 5 or 10. We cross our fingers an hope that the green light red light chart now will produce the desired effect.
Worst case scenario: We bring in a Top 3 or Big 5 to help management understand how important it is for IT not to be a support function. Executive management is brought in (down from their ivory tower) and walk the floor and participate in a IT strategy workshop. This is often resumed to a quick walk past a few desk and then in to a war room where an entusiastic team of IT leaders, personel (convoqued by the stategy consultants engaged) are to demonstrate how important it is for the company to have IT. A good intention turns in to a strategy (that the Txecutive Team has no desire to perform let be told how to do strategy by the IT team) exercise on a brown paper. In a Worst worst case scenario: the consultants bring out finger paint and the Businees executive finds himself with green paint on his tie or suit and now sees red.
Really bad case scenario: The consultants have organised an excercise for the IT team to solve the problem that end users do not get it when solutions are delivered and tend to interupt the reflections of the IT team. The obvious solution would be to exclude end users from any contact with the IT team and set up an answering machine with no possibility to leave a message as they have problems. Since the business consulting lead did not fel convinced, he managed to convice the IT Director to present the conclusions in front of the board. After all this was the conclusions of his team, and an all in IT initiative would have so much more credibility.
Step 3. – The Big Change: As the business excecutives are a bit stingy and as the green light red light chart still does not do the charm we once more decide to bring in a Top 3 or Big five (preferably the same as earlier). We decide turn the situation around an in order to do so we will not do thing half way and go for a Big Change.
Best case scenario: We engage a top 1 team of consultants, that will manage a top 2 team of consultants, that will in turn manage a top 3 team of consultants to deliver change and new revolutionarry projects to be presented to the board. A transversal Big Change programme is announced and consultants from the top 1, 2 and 3 consulting companies an invited and provided with the possibility to bring in new ideas. The business, IT and endusers are not consulted and business is delivered as usual. After a year or so the conclusions of the programme is delivered, the cover looked smashing but we did not have the time so we put it (burried it) in a drawer for a moment where we would have more time on our hands.
Worst case scenario: We read this really good article by the guy who used to be the top hen for IT for the US government that decided to chuck IT out to the cloud not to have to run an IT department and IT resources (By the way I wonder why he stayed for such a short time before he went on to evangelise the cloud for salesforce). I wonder if we can chuck the IT department out to the cloud. Then the cloud provider could deal with users that are not happy. I wonder if the cost cutting genious that we brought in last year is available. On his recommendation we consitently cut the cost of IT for the sales force. At the end of the day as they did not have an office or a fix computer why should they need a lap top ?
Step 4. – Set direction: We have the impression that we might not be on top of things and should add a bit of governance. The Internal audit department confirmed this impression as they confirmed that we clearly lacked focus due to the absence of an IT Dashboard.
Best case scenario: As we where quite happy with the Big Change report , the first page does after all look smashing,  and the weight of the paper makes my table more stable. We decide to once more bring in our favourite consultants. At the end of the day if the six sigma task force initiative had a few bumps it was not due to the fact that the principles that where implemented where directly applied from the Toyota production chain (they are after all very good at car construction) but certainly due to the fact that the users did not get it. Even though the delivery cycle now takes 180 days compared to 30 before at least it is measured and we can bench cost to competition.
Now to the point, as the audit team requires an IT dash board we asked our consultants to deliver one that looks smashing and the audit team is satisfied. The best part is that we now feel that we have effective governance in place and that they did not have to bother neither the IT executive team nor the business or the IT team.
Worst case scenario: We had a meeting with the business consultant that convinced us that for IT to demonstrate that we support the business we should modelise all 15 00 business processes (I wonder why executive management put an end to this effort ?) This time we will demonstrate how we execute the IT strategy to the business strategy as we will implement a full audit framework!
Business focused technology can be a make or break factor as we innovate or re-invent a brandand a business model. Angela Ahrendts for Harvard Business Review:
“When I became the CEO of Burberry, in July 2006, luxury was one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. With its rich history, centered on trench coats that were recognized around the world, the Burberry brand should have had many advantages. But as I watched my top managers arrive for our first strategic planning meeting, something struck me right away. They had flown in from around the world to classic British weather, gray and damp, but not one of these more than 60 people was wearing a Burberry trench coat. I doubt that many of them even owned one. If our top people weren’t buying our products, despite the great discount they could get, how could we expect customers to pay full price for them?” Read the full article @

Burburry have taken the a lead in the how to leverage business innovation with IT, notably with social as a key enabler through a “Facebook” driven platform that drives innovation bottom up where employess connect to share best practise on how to set up stores and sell products and even compete internally on a daily basis who sold more in “discussion groups” set up by the teams not by management. I would invite you to discover an interview @

Call for Business Cases