Innovation, which increasingly is cited as the competitive advantage businesses need to meet their digital challenges, is widely misunderstood; it’s mistakenly reduced to the sophisticated features of a technology or a service.
As a competitive matter, innovation is more than that; it’s primarily the process of translating ideas or inventions into high-value technology features or added-value services. In other words, to be called innovation, a technology or a service must satisfy a specific need and create value for customers.
DevOps is very often seen as the perfect means to make an IT organization an innovation champion, it’s true. Yet, many CIOs and their solution vendors and consultants have failed to achieve that goal because they’ve oversimplified the process. DevOps is part of the process, not the process itself. DevOps isn’t the end but the means.
In this article, I share two fantastic concepts—Innovation Virtuous Circle (IVC) and Value Stream—we leverage at ITaaSNow to enable DevOps and transform in a record time IT organizations into innovation champions.
Define Your Strategy with the Innovation Virtuous Circle
Making innovation your organization’s main competitive advantage isn’t as simplistic as investing in the most sophisticated technologies; it starts with defining your strategy, continues with implementing it throughout your IT organization’s value stream, and ends up with getting it adopted across your business.
Improvisation and organizational transformation aren’t good friends. Rely on proven frameworks that safely guide the effort step by step; it’s the purpose of the IVC—it facilitates and accelerates the innovation strategy definition effort:
The principle underneath the IVC is the notion that keeping customers loyal through innovation guarantees continuous revenue. The idea is, the more innovation, the more loyal customers and the more revenue.
Put together your business and IT stakeholders to discuss the means by which customers will be kept loyal to ensure continuous revenue. Follow the steps suggested by the IVC:
- Clarify the agile processes and practices, the tools, skills and partners by which customer data will be captured and tracked for analytics purposes.
- Identify the agile analytics processes and practices, the tools, people, skills and partners that’ll help to spot innovative ideas, solutions and technologies.
- Clarify the agile processes and practices, the tools, skills and partners needed to ensure high frequency, high quality and speedy innovation delivery.
- Identify the agile processes and practices, the tools, people, skills and partners that’ll help to monitor customer satisfaction and improve customer experience.
What you get out of this step is a comprehensive strategy including the targeted customers to keep loyal, the estimated expected revenue along with the organizational capability to achieve them.
Reconfigure Your IT Value Stream with DevOps
Once your innovation strategy is defined, the next step is to use the value stream framework to deploy it throughout your IT organization.
The value stream represents the added-value interactions, people and skills, processes and practices and tools mobilized throughout your IT organization to deliver innovation:
It conceptually structures the IT organization’s value stream into a four-stage agile process. Each stage is associated with a specific goal and mobilizes specific elements of your innovation strategy.
Again, put together your business and IT stakeholders to address the following:
- For Plan & Measure, discuss your future governance’s structure, members and roles, agenda along with the tools and infrastructure supporting your analytics-based innovations screening and prioritization and portfolio management processes.
- About Develop & Test, get a consensus on the staff to assign, the agile methodology along with the continuous testing and integration infrastructure that will support your innovation development processes.
- Regarding Release & Deploy, discuss the staff to assign, your release management and launching processes along with the continuous deployment infrastructure needed to support them.
- As for Monitor & Improve, discuss the staff to assign, your service continuous improvement processes, along with the analytics technologies intended to support them.
What you get is a comprehensive and documented blueprint of your IT organization’s value stream transformed to DevOps. Use it as a baseline to hire the solution vendor and consulting firm that’ll concretely reconfigure your IT operational model to innovation.
Using the concepts of IVC, Value Stream, and DevOps to establish IT operational models that boost innovation is a transformation approach we’ve been using to make businesses innovation champions.
All of the companies that replicated the organizational transformation approach described in this article are:
- Rolling out per year more than 20 services and products qualified as innovations
- Either doubling or tripling their revenue
- Keeping loyal 98 percent of their customers
That’s the kind of contributions and impacts your business unit leaders expect from you as the CIO and your IT department.