Meet the VOCR’s
The CIO of a Luxembourg based global bank had played 10 Apollo 13 simulations as part of an ITSM improvement program. The ITSM capabilities needed transforming from a ‘Product’ and ‘Technology’ focus to a more ‘Customer’ and ‘Service’ focus. The business was investing in more and more IT and the banking systems were becoming mission critical. One of the key discoveries and takeaways was the VOCR concept. What is that?
The definition of a service according to ITIL is: ‘…a means of delivering VALUE to Customers by facilitating OUTCOMES they want to achieve without the ownership of specific COSTS and RISKS’. (VOCR)…which is very closely related to COBIT definition of value creation.
This was taken away and used. IT staff would go into the business to learn MORE about how services were used, how they delivered value and what the risks and impact were of outages and downtime. The CIO who also participated in a simulation session said ‘I am going to use this’.
Six months later I was called by the CIO. ‘Ah Mr VOCR how are you!?’ he said ‘…you just saved me 1.2 million Euros!’ he added. ‘Do I get a percentage?’ I asked. ‘We’re a bank we are not in the business of giving away money….you got a free beer last time you were here what more do you want?’
I asked him to explain how VOCR had helped him. This was the gist of his story.
The CFO called him in and was ‘demanding’ that 1.2 million euros of the IT budget be spent on a new banking system. Now! This year. The business unit director responsible was demanding.
The CIO used VOCR. A quick dialogue about what Value and Outcomes was the Business Unit director hoping to achieve and how that related to the bank strategy? A fast deployment meant RISKS. Would the BUSINESS be ready and able to exploit the system to achieve the desired OUTCOMES? If it went live and kept failing it may damage the reputation and shareholder VALUE – was the CEO prepared to accept that Risk, especially as banks were increasingly under public scrutiny following the recent financial scandals? Had they thought about the OUTCOMES it needed to achvieve? In terms of measurable benefits in relation to the strategy? the VALUE that this would generate? Previous systems from that banking department had caused excessive additional downstream COSTSs. Downtime due to lack of adequate testing and business involvement, rework. Operations had been inadequately trained and enabled with and event and security management systems to support the critical functionality……..the business already had a system for this new need. Why is this not delivering the envisaged OUTCOMES? (they were never adequately defined) let us first explore this, suggested the CIO……..eventually it was ascertained that the current system was not delivering VLAUE and OUTCOMES as they had not been explicitly quantified, let alone measured for benefit realization, end users had not been engaged in requirements definition and testing. The system was not designed to meet their needs. There was extensive rework and the users were angry and frustrated with the system – blaming IT! It appeared that with some amendments the current system could be made to work now that they knew the functionality needed and the expected outcomes (KPI’s) the system was to enable.
The CIO got credit points from the CFO for exploring these types of questions and balancing VOCR, showing a real understanding of ‘Business outcomes’ to be achieved and helping the business units themselves to better shape their demands on IT.