Practicing operational excellence in the management of your internal IT services can provide you with a distinct advantage over your competitors.
Success is the result of meticulous preparation, following sound, proven processes and hard work. Excellence in IT operations results from a habitual and relentless commitment to executing quality IT processes that are tightly coupled with the business processes they serve, a strong focus on managing the details, and a pervasive culture of continuous improvement. It starts with the engagement and commitment of the CEO and the senior executive team, which is composed of business and IT leaders. It requires implementing mechanisms to ensure that IT activities are fully aligned with business priorities, and that they remain aligned. Important concepts—such as developing and adhering to an IT architecture and key strategic principles, organizing and delivering services, measuring and stewarding performance, and implementing a culture of continuous improvement—are all critical to the success of the enterprise.
Applying the discipline of operational excellence across all aspects of a company's business activities is a key competitive advantage, and nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of internal IT services. Operationally excellent companies get more value from their IT investments and benefit from a much more stable and robust operating environment. They avoid debilitating scenarios in which a server crashes with no viable back-up, ransomware shuts down the network, security breaches compromise corporate databases, or large and costly IT projects fail due to poor definition or execution. Employing a disciplined IT management process can have a dramatic effect on the bottom line, and in some cases it may determine the long-term viability of the enterprise.
Excellence in managing IT processes and consistently executing best practices are the keys to success. Yes, there is a need to stay abreast of emerging technologies and to capitalize on these at the right time in the product cycle, and companies need to monitor the marketplace and quickly identify new trends that can offer an advantage. From time to time, individual companies will realize significant advantages from implementing new technologies; however, these advantages will tend to be short-lived as competitors follow suit and catch up. It is also very true that, depending on the industry, there will be specialized areas of technology that companies need to stay on top of in order to be industry leaders, but the enduring competitive edge will be achieved through operational excellence in managing these IT services.
Companies that master the discipline of operational excellence in managing their IT services will see benefits in a number of critical areas, including flawless execution; robust, reliable operations; lower costs; effective change management; and a “great deal” for the customer.
Companies committed to operational excellence in managing IT services gain a real and sustained competitive advantage in terms of reliability, effectiveness, efficiency and cost control. This means keeping a strong focus on “doing the right things” and “doing things right” in IT service delivery.
About the Author
James C. Hamilton is the principal and founder of JCHamilton Consulting LLC. He is the author of Unlocking the Power of Information Technology, and an experienced IT manager and consultant with a broad background in managing all aspects of IT for large corporations. He has held a variety of executive and senior IT management positions within ExxonMobil Corporation, Exxon Chemical Company, Imperial Oil Limited and TPC Group.