A One-Year I&O Transformation

Back when I worked in I&O we weren’t very popular. Not personally, mind you, but as a team. Why? Because we seldom satisfied user requests quickly, and sometimes not at all.  We were the defenders of stability, resistant to change.  Just maintaining the technology every day - “keeping the lights on” - took a lot of manual effort.  We chased down a lot of defects, and then we struggled to get fixes created and put into production. Sometimes the fix created a worse problem. It wasn’t a lot of fun, the pressure was grueling, and one by one we moved on to other jobs.

So today when I tell clients about transforming I&O from an under-appreciated cost center to a respected strategic advisor, I understand their skepticism. What does it take? For starters:

  • You have to change the monitoring and analytics technology.
  • You have to change the attitudes of the people within I&O.
  • You have to change the perception of I&O across the organization.

Those are not small changes, and cultural changes move especially slowly. Or do they?

The I&O team at Dixons Carphone, a UK technology retailer, transformed in a year. Yes, one year. With a motto of “say yes more,” Dixons Carphone I&O went all-in on customer focus and agile operations:

  • Rather than using a lengthy RFP process, monitoring technology proven effective in one business unit was extended across the organization.
  • Rather than focusing on technology health, the focus was shifted to customer experience.
  • Rather than focusing solely on the needs of consumer customers, attention was also given to the needs of internal users, line-of-business managers, and executives.

One year later, managers and executives had dashboards that told them what they wanted to know: not technology SLAs, but how technology was affecting their customers and their business.  I&O staff had clear visibility into the customer experience, the management/executives’ view of that experience, and the instrumentation and analytics to quickly pinpoint problems and adjust. Consumer customers enjoyed improved performance and availability.

Dixons Carphone I&O team took the time to understand their customer’s journeys and gave each constituency what they needed – at agile speed.

Transformation is a journey, not a destination. Like any other I&O organization, Dixons Carphone will never be fully transformed. But the cultural transformation achieved in one year is palpable throughout the organization; and on the next “Black Friday” peak shopping day, the transformation made an unmistakable improvement for Dixons Carphone customers and business results.

Read the full story here: Case Study: Black Friday Drives BT Transformation At Dixons Carphone.

If you have a transformation story, I’d love to hear it. Please comment or send me an email.

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