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“Can you help my VP to better understand the importance of people over tech?”

Interesting question from one of my old managers. Sure, if I can help, happy to have a coffee. Interesting setting, outskirts of Cologne, Germany. New building, all ornaments pink. Pink like my gin. We started with a coffee, and I asked about the pink. Magenta the VEEP said, this is magenta Wiemer. And gave me the RGB code.

As listening is the best way to start a good conversation I let him talk for a while. Great insight into the market, great understanding of the changing expectations of his customers. Originally rooted in understanding it starts with business, and IT is a consequence of what business needs. And lost that key insight by working too long in an industry that believes that IT is centric. I added the B2B2C component. Not just see your direct customer, add your customer’s customer. The C customer, their changing expectations and changing wants, determine the need for your direct B customer. I started drawing some value proposition and business model canvas versions. BMC and VPC were new for him, I pointed to the Osterwalder books and offered some training on the topic.

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From the VPC, the B2B2C, we mapped his existing services. And I asked for the core differentiators. And as with most outsourcers, it centered mainly around quality and cost.

Trying to map his set of differentiators into the changed VPC made him realize the differentiators were not good enough. Not by a mile. Customer change, your VPC has to change, so has your service offering. Or die. Might have been cool 5 years ago, but no more.

The classic model of outsourcing, service management thinking with a focus on just management, the predictable cost thinking. If your CIO reports to the CFO, cost is the keyword and predictable what the CFO wants. Annual budget to kill innovation. I’m not convinced that ITIL is the way to go. And I know my view on ITIL is skewed as I was on the receiving end too often. ITIL may, just maybe, provide robust, strong, reliable services. There are stories of real-life examples of ITIL success, so I have heard. But internal IT that only focuses on the service definition from the past separating the customer from the provider, boxed in by just economic transactions and supporting contractual terms, sure.

Postponing dilemmas is not the same as solving them, it’s called brexIT. The direct result from all that management overhead for internal IT is the lack of ability to experiment and innovate. IT has retired from innovation and becomes comfortable in just doing what’s being asked, Not relevant. Just pink, not magenta.

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So his initial ask to talk about management of change, good old MoC, making people using his existing services turned into: can WE change to deliver what the customer wants. It might be the same services, even the same outsourcing delivery model components, and yet the new framing is going to make it new. From a talk on MoC to defining outsourcing 3.0.

Just before we reached his point of information overload I did the summary, promised some great books to read (VP is my age, still reads books as well) and sent him a summary. Next meeting already has a theme: imagine we redefine outsourcing, and you are pretty much the first one to do this in this world, the first dinosaur that can fly: what would bring that? For you, for your team, and for your company? And then we might still need management of change. Not for your customers, but internally. For your own people. Certainly for your management. Internal folks needing to change. To stay relevant. As defined by your customers.

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This week I met another old manager. For whatever reason, they seem to remember me. He started working for a new company. I already noticed them from the one brilliant marketing phrase they published. So the dominant business model for IT for 30 years has been to wait till the customer complains and then try to fix the problem? 

Imagine we would start from the viewpoint of the customer. And use customer experience as the most important metric. XLA over SLA. Fits so nicely with my adoption is king mantra: the user is centric! So we need a metric that reflects what is really important. How do you experience the digital service we deliver? Digital Experience Index. Love it. Work backward from the customer. And the customers’ customer. And as they create tons of data monitoring the user experience we discussed how my brilliant Trifork Machine Learning team can use all that data to even better predict experience deterioration, they routinely turn data into gold.

Predict and prevent, proactive. Wow, common customer approach in every other industry out there and novel to the IT world. Flying dinosaurs on the runway. Maybe a pink industry might turn magenta after all.

Trifork
Read what Trifork is doing with Machine Learning on our website: 
https://trifork.com/machine-learning/