Article

Improving performance and energy levels in your organisation

– through a new perspective on maturity transformation

Have you ever rolled out a maturity improvement initiative, launched it and seen the energy and joy of work leave the organisation? This is the cruel fate of many maturity improvement initiatives – and then comes the question: “What went wrong?”

Authors

Almost all IT organisations find themselves under pressure from their business counterparts to provide more value but for the same, or even less, cost, at a higher quality, at a higher speed and even to take on a new role as a strategic partner or digital transformation expert. To meet these requirements from the business, many CIOs have introduced new tools, changes to organisational structures and optimised and standardised processes; in short, they have introduced significant changes to the way work is done.

Many organisations choose to base these changes on one or multiple IT best practice frameworks. These are also often used as a standard for implementation. Afterwards, the adoption and maturity level can be measured against these frameworks. When designed and implemented correctly, many organisations gain great benefits from optimising the way they are working based on standard frameworks. In some organisations, though, we have observed difficulties in applying the right balance between, on the one hand, the need for control and optimisation via standardisation, and, on the other hand, motivated and engaged employees. It seems as if the people capability side is often forgotten, but optimised processes or tools will not reap the benefits, if the employees’ competences are not developed. Optimising performance and changing behaviour in such an environment is difficult, making it nearly impossible to cater for the speed required by the business, and neither the introduction of state-ofthe- art tools nor processes will reap any real benefits.

Do we simply have to accept that increasing the output of IT via maturity improvement initiatives is a hit-or-miss mission, or can we do better?

What if we could

  • Get a clear perspective on what is expected from the IT organisation and have real conversations about how to achieve this?
  • Further increase the value of IT maturity frameworks and best practices by strengthening the focus on energy and engagement in the day-to-day work, the right capabilities and optimising the flow and value of the organisational practices?
  • Introduce a method and rhythm that enable real change for customers, employees and the company rather than just optimising and standardising?
  • Mobilise more people in enabling performance and creating the platform for future work?
  • Do all of that with a high level of energy, leadership and impact?

We believe that the output of an IT maturity assessment should contain more than structured, standardised and communicated processes, templates etc. To realise real benefits and consistently improve customer perception of the delivered services, it is our experience that organisations will have to focus on identifying the actual areas that will provide value for customers, if matured, but equally important to focus on employee competences and the energy level in the organisation.

Our approach

We apply a holistic view on the means to improve the performance of the IT organisation by aligning with proven theory and methods, but emphasising a focus on developing practical solutions that fit the organisation and create value and energy. And in order to actually do that, to maximise the impact of the transformation, our approach looks at maturity, capabilities, energy and KPIs as a whole – on one single page. It is our experience that these four efforts are closely connected, and, if combined, they will provide the best possible foundation for achieving positive customer perception of the delivered services based on high performance and energy in the organisation.

On the basis of best practice, customer experience and innovative thinking, we have developed four different assessments. The four areas we assess are the following:

1. IT maturity assessment

What: An assessment of the extent to which the necessary framework and structures are in place to support the business vision.

Benefits: A clear view of the organisations’ current maturity level providing the baseline for improvement.

The four areas that we assess
2. Capability assessment

What: An assessment of whether the needed capabilities are in place and which ones to develop and improve.

Benefits: A capability development strategy aligned with existing business priorities and developed based on current maturity level.

3. KPI assessment

What: An assessment that outlines the organisations’ target KPIs against the actual KPI measures.

Benefits: An updated set of metrics and KPIs aligned to current business priorities and enabling the behaviour and activities that creates real impact.

4. Employee energy assessment

What: An assessment that identifies the energy level and potential for high performance.

Benefits: An updated view of the current energy and satisfaction level within the organisation providing instant input as to where and how to focus.

Guiding principles

We have found that the approach benefits from following a set of guiding principles for transforming and raising the level and consistency of performance and energy across the IT value chain.

Use a standard capability model as a tool or framework to align business and IT executives on strategic priorities and expectations.

Focus on the root causes of existing performance issues, and develop heat maps to guide and define the strategic choices and related focus areas.

Use an integrated set of assessments to ensure a holistic perspective on performance to identify and design improvement initiatives.

Involve employees in the process to ensure ownership and engagement, and apply a strong focus on benefits realisation.

When executing the improvement initiatives, use an iterative approach based on prototyping and early test of the proposed changes. We have found that this will accelerate the insight into the initiatives that create an impact and the initiatives that need to be further improved.

Succeeding with improvement of performance and energy levels in organisations is a major change, and it requires a substantial effort and focus on change management to enable a positive change to the way people work.