Every once in a while I get the opportunity to completely immerse myself in one of my client's problems. This time, it was at an IT strategy offsite where a senior director of IT asked me one simple question: "How can we use information technology to help our company open up new streams of revenue?" I found the question refreshing, mainly because nine out of ten CIOs I talk to these days ask the opposite: "how can IT reduce costs?"
Fortunately for me, this client had invited lots of smart people from business and IT and outside experts into the room for two days to explore the revenue question. Challenges familiar to most life sciences companies got folks in the room in the first place: patent expiration foretold eroding profit margins for their blockbuster drugs, and expansion into emerging markets was an avenue for growth, yet one fraught with complexity and uncertain returns.
So this group's charter was to think digital.
Taking inspiration from morning TED talks, four working teams presented ideas for revenue opportunities created by emerging technologies in tech markets like mobile, big data, security, and consumer experiences. The teams cited creative ideas — like algorithms that use public data sources to reduce production forecast variance and improve distribution allocations; modern IT security models, pioneered in financial services, that would enable them to cut the time it takes to on-ramp a new manufacturing partner from months to weeks; company-owned data that could be sold or licensed and made available through public APIs to third parties; and many more.
The teams shared inspiring ideas that were big enough and bold enough to at least warrant further investigation.
Unfortunately I don’t often hear “strategy” and “IT service management (ITSM)” in the same sentence, unless of course someone is maligning the ITIL 2011 Service Strategy book or if an organization is justifying a significant investment in a new ITSM tool (to me this is too often the breeding ground for failed aspirations). Alternatively we often talk about (and are consumed by) tactical ITSM issues and our tactical responses. So where and what is your ITSM strategy? And where is your ITSM strategic plan?
If you have answers to these questions you probably don’t need to read this blog so feel free to choose another. If you don’t, don’t you think you should? I’ve stolen some written-word from my colleague Jean-Pierre Garbani to get you thinking.
What’s your strategy for ITSM strategy?
I’m not going to answer this – I just thought it a funny question. Better starter questions are probably: “What do I mean by strategy?” and “What is strategic planning?”
I can’t help but use the ever-useful Wikipedia for the first: