Discoveries at the Information management USA Roadshow event
By Mark Smalley – guest author and IT-Paradigmologist
Global Information Management Coalition
The explosive growth of emerging technologies and the increased demand for and use of IT within all organizations places an additional demand on effectively managing information. Information is becoming increasingly a critical business asset, but often this asset in ineffectively managed which creates a potential business risk.
The not-for-profit ASL BiSL Foundation formed the Global Information Management Coalition to create more awareness for the value of information management. The first organizations to join the coalition are APMG, Capgemini Academy, GamingWorks, itSMF USA, Quint Wellington Redwood and Van Haren Publishing. The coalition organizes Information Management Roadshows in which participants discover how BiSL (Business information Service Library) and supporting instruments help ensure that information management becomes an enabler and not a barrier to success.
Roadshow hosted by Quint Wellington Redwood and itSMF USA
Quint Wellington Redwood, the Independent Management Consulting and Education Provider, and the itSMF USA Board of Directors with the Minnesota itSMF USA Local Interest Group hosted an IM Roadshow on 20 September 2013 in Edina, Minnesota. The Roadshow was attended by more than twenty professionals from public and private sectors who invested a morning in not only learning about information management but also experiencing it in a business simulation, BookStore™.
Deborah Anthony, itSMF USA Board Member and Ambassador for the ASL BiSL Foundation, and Frank Frambach, Business Development Executive at Wellington Redwood, opened the roadshow.
Trends in Information Management
To set the scene for the morning, Mark Smalley, ‘IT Paradigmologist’ at the
ASL BiSL Foundation, shared some perspectives about information management, including:
- The gap between the business demand to use information to improve
business productivity, agility and revenue generation versus the
difficulty that the IT organization has to deliver this value.
- The poor relationship between business people and IT people.
- How commoditization of IT is disrupting the traditional linear
relationship between external service providers, IT departments and
the business, creating a triangular relationship in which the IT
department is often bypassed.
- IT Spring, in other words that the business is taking control – but is
struggling with their new role.
- That information and technology – although closely intertwined – should
be managed as separate entities in their own right.
- The risks associated with poor information management, including productivity
loss, costly decisions due to misinterpretation of data, IT budget spent on the
wrong things, delayed business projects, reputation damage, competitive disadvantage.
Business Simulation BookStore™
In this simulation, participants play employees of the company BookStore™. This company sells books and has 150 shops. Management has an ambitious growth plan. In the course of the game, BookStore™, introduces new products and services. BookStore™ intends to interact with its customers by exploiting emerging technologies such as smartphones. Participants in this simulation manage sources of information and applications. They learn to recognize what the information needs of the business are. Participants have to consider how user support and supplier management should be implemented. In the IM Roadshow setting, the participants spent 90 minutes playing two rounds of the simulation in order to discover critical fail factors and success factors that could be used in their own organizations, and also to experience how a business simulation can be used to create a dialogue between business and IT people, as well being used as an assessment instrument to identify weaknesses and improvements. Typical fail factors discovered were:
- Poor communication and understanding between business & IT.
- IT has too little insight and input into the business strategy and business changes.
- The business has difficulties defining its requirements.
- The business is not adequately involved in IT projects.
- Too little understanding and formalization of the roles: Information manager, Information analyst and Functionality manager.
Business Information Services Library
To finish off the roadshow, Mark Smalley provided an overview of the BiSL framework, using it to refer back to various topics that were addressed during the simulation.
- “We experienced a level of collaboration that we rarely see in the real world!”
- “Clarity of roles and responsibility is vital.”
- “We over-compensated by over-communicating.”
- “We had a disconnect between strategic and operational – but we did the work!”
- “Roles started crossing over and getting into the mix too early”
- “Because everyone in the room is from IT, we played the Business roles based on how we’d like the business to behave.”
- “You need people keeping their eye on the horizon, what will be out there in future.”
- “The interaction between Information Management and IT was crucial.
- IM asked the right questions and helped IT put the plan together quickly.”
- “We did not look at capacity early enough”
- “We all work for large companies where the C-level is silo’ed away.”
- “We accomplished our IT project without even knowing exactly what the goals where – the business should have informed us better.”
- “IT started working in anticipation of what IT thinks that business needs. IT should check what the business needs – not just what IT can deliver!”
- “Information Management has crucial information to solve the whole puzzle: IT cannot do it without Information Management”
- “Information Management interprets the business into IT”
- “We got out of our silo and talked about what it meant for the business”
- “Being safe and not doing something is better than causing an issue”
- “There was some discussion but we didn’t totally validate it within the round – we caught it in testing, not before”
- “Lots happens behind the scenes that the business needs to be aware of”
Critical Fail Factors
- No ground rules – just roles.
- No repeatable process.
- Implement a change as requested but disrupting the end user.
- Business did not totally validate what was being done by IT.
- Business went straight to IT and something was lost in the message.
Critical Success Factors
- The business was provided with enough options to enable good decision-making.
- Formulating acceptance criteria up front.
- IT took the initiative to get informed about the strategy.
- Create constant feedback loops between strategy, tactics and operations.
- Escaping out of the IT silo – conscious of being aware of what the business needs and what impact decisions have on end users.
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