17 December 2015 blogs Sam Erskine 4 min read
The Technology to Business Experiment – “A Savvy Vision”
“New technology approaches and mind-sets continue to transform the business world.”
Well not really, actually!
Do we really understand what business needs and what outcomes matter?
We see two approaches to the challenge in the eyes of technology professionals who are responsible for assisting the business:
- Tell businesses about all the new approaches available; like cloud services and the great “geek” benefits.
- Prescribe great solutions from vendors that will take all the age-old business pains away.
I don’t believe these two approaches connect with business outcomes. Hold on!
Let me explain by:
- First sharing what all businesses have in common
- Second use an example to illustrate how we can use an experimental approach to map technology to business outcomes.
What business have in common
There are five universal parts that all businesses share, regardless of size. These five parts are discussed in “The Personal MBA,” a book I read recently by Josh Kaufman who states, “Roughly defined, a business is a repeatable process that:”
The Experimental Approach
There is so much information on what is new in the technology world every day. How do you connect this with the business?
One approach is through experiments focused on validating outcomes.
Experiments in the scientific world focus on trying new approaches and solutions to solve problems or produce beneficial outcomes.
This is why I believe adapting a scientific mind-set connects with the business problems that technologies can solve.
Why, What and How I hear You Ask?
Let me illustrate with an example of a business challenge:
“Customers are complaining that access to the company website to place orders is slow.”
This problem statement is clear to the business and IT operations. However, the approach IT operations takes to resolve the issue is not always clear or visible to the business. What is worse, the business outcome (view) is usually lost in the solutions IT operations provide.
We can bring the two sides together. Get the two sides to agree on the outcome. This involves getting IT and the business to combine their views.
Think about a typical view of monitoring services from the two personas:
Business outcome and goals for monitoring: “How do we measure and improve our customers experience?”
IT Operations outcome and goals for monitoring: “How do we make sure we are proactively monitoring our services with the best affordable technology?”
We can unify the two personas using the concept of outcome-driven experiments.
I will use our monitoring example to illustrate:
First, select a product. As an example, you may have invested in System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and combined it with the Operations Management Suite (OMS).
Second, you need to test drive the monitoring product using controlled experiments (more commonly known as proof of concepts)
Third, present your outcomes in the right formats for the right personas
In a recent conversation with Dennis Rietvink, co-founder of Savision, he shared a great approach to test driving their solutions based on the personas in a business. This is not just about a monitoring product, but rather connecting with the players that drive and support business outcomes.
Approach to Test Driving
The approach in testing their Live Maps solution maps neatly to the three-step approach I mentioned and is illustrated below in an extract from their guide.
Three-Step Approach to Test Live Maps
If you are looking for examples of how to create experiments as discussed in this blog, then check out the “Savvy Vision” here.
You can also find out more about the IT Scientist approach in this video “warning, I attempt to be humorous and in my head I am funny!”
Customer Success Stories are a great resource for understanding and planning outcomes. I will complete the Savision connection to the outcome approach by referring to one of their customer success stories here.
Plan to map your experiments to the five parts of a business. If you are not, then can you really measure the impact of the cool features to business outcomes?