Discover Performance Blog

Welcome to the Discover Performance blog, a resource for enterprise IT leaders who share a passion for performing better. Here you’ll find strategic insights and best practices from your peers as well as from HP’s own practitioners who help others define, measure and achieve better IT performances.

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7 ways to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of the IT value chain

Value Chain KPI.jpgAt most events for HP managers, participants have the chance to stretch their world views. Several years ago, I went to an event for HP managers that featured a presentation from HP customers. To many attendees’ surprise, our customers suggested that HP should stop developing new product features and instead focus attention on product integration.


Clearly, the IT value chain and its associated value streams are a response to these customers, with an integration strategy that is product and framework-agnostic. In my previous posts, I have discussed how to measure performance against each value stream. In this post, I’ll delve into the measures of efficiency and effectiveness for the overarching IT value chain. Specifically, these are metrics (and by extension, KPIs) that are leading indicators of end-to-end IT value chain performance. I have chosen seven metrics that, if controlled and measured, afford the opportunity to truly improve IT performance as a whole.

Labels: IT management

IT value chain: The roles of cloud and automation in business differentiation

Cloud and Automation.pngCloud and automation impact the delivery of three elements of the IT value chain. To refresh everyone's memory, the IT Value value Chain chain describes how IT assembles its activities and technology to provide its business differentiation. The first intersection point for cloud and automation in the IT Value value Chain chain is the “requirement to deploy” value stream. This stream is about delivering new strategic demand that meets business requirements, as well as creating and delivering against standardized release packages. Cloud and automation touch this by enabling these release packages to be automated, enforced, changed/patched and, where appropriate, procured internally or externally. The second intersection point is the “request to fulfill” value stream. This stream is concerned with fulfilling standardized operational demand from a catalog. Where existing infrastructure services need to be provisioned, cloud and automation are leveraged. Finally, cloud and automation intersect the “detect to correct” value stream when an event or incident takes place and one of the following is needed: 1) additional capacity; 2) configuration management or change; or 3) automated script deployment to fix a known problem. With the intersection points covered, let’s look at the goals associated with cloud and automation for each of these value streams, and the relevant measures for managing these goals.

IT value chain: The request to fulfill value stream

R to F.pngThe request to fulfill value stream focuses on how well IT manages its overarching request and fulfillment activities—the so-called operational demand. Simply put, operational demand orchestrates of the outputs of strategic demand, business-delivered strategic demand, or existing operational capabilities/assets. As such, this value stream focuses on the consuming, the buying, or the brokering of IT or business services. The goal for this value stream is to achieve self-service IT that is truly elastic in its response to demand.

IT Value Chain: The Strategy to Portfolio Value Stream

S to P.pngI heard a leading analyst once tell a group of IT professionals that they do not work in IT, but rather the business of their firm—banking, insurance, manufacturing, etc. Do you feel this way? If so, the strategy to portfolio value stream should be important to you. The goal for this value stream is to derive an IT strategy and a service portfolio that optimize business advantage. This value stream is focused on IT strategy creation as well as ongoing governance of the planned and operationalized service portfolio. From a functional perspective, the first steps in this value stream involve creating an IT architecture and evaluating incoming demand. This next step involves breaking the incoming demand into strategic and operational components, with strategic demand being all the new stuff and operational demand being requests for the existing stuff. Given this, this value stream is concerned with the portfolio’s quality of management, the innovation that is being produced for the portfolio, the quality of new solutions being identified, and the effectiveness and efficiency of spend for services and innovation.

What is the business of IT?

IMG_1614-Edit_SML.jpgI want to suggest that, at a business level, there are only three functions that IT organizations perform. And most importantly, whether you eliminate your datacenters or not, these three things will remain valid. Think of these as the three business capabilities of IT:


1)      IT automates business capabilities.

2)      IT manages existing automation of business capabilities.

3)      IT serves end-users.


Labels: IT management

What should be on an enlightened healthcare CIO or for that matter, CEOs agenda?

IMG_1614-Edit_SML.jpgLast week, I got to hear Robert M. Wah—the immediate past chair of the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees—speak at UC Irvine’s forum, Idea Exchange in Digital Healthcare. Wah elucidated on the technology and business issues for healthcare in his presentation, “The 3rd Wave in Health IT: Big Data Analytics, Cloud and Cybersecurity.” I found it enlightening, as Wah said that healthcare is moving from the digitization of electronic records to even more sophisticated analysis—he called what they want to do “population analysis and decision support.” As leaders, he said, “We need today better information for better decisions—the right information at the right time.”

Labels: IT management

How to bring world-class IT to your organization

IMG_1614-Edit_SML.jpgThe 5 elements to get you from where you are to where you want to be


Everyone I know would like to be part of a world-class IT organization—and chances are (if you’re not already in one), so would you. But what are world-class IT organizations doing differently than their run-of-the-mill counterparts? I believe they have integrated themselves directly into their company’s success formula. In their book, “The Real Business of IT: How CIOs Create and Communicate Value,” authors Richard Hunter and George Westerman explain that world-class IT shops know how to “discuss their contributions to the organization.” Today’s CIOs, in particular, must be able to move from “discussing budgets to discussing their contributions to their organization.”

Labels: IT management

Can’t keep up! How to put the “I” back in Information Management!

IMG_1614-Edit_SML.jpgThere’s no denying that the CIO’s role is changing. A recent Booz and Company article (the one that I wrote about last week) predicts: “CIOs will be freed up to concentrate on helping the entire company develop the analytical sophistication needed to make the most of the rapid digitization of every aspect of business—effectively reasserting the importance of the ‘I’ in CIO.” If this is accurate, a core element on the CIO’s agenda will become harvesting data and turning it into actionable information. Put simply, the data to information value chain is about how well your IT organization manages two things: protecting your business data and transforming this data into information.

Labels: IT management

Booz and Company proclaims the death of traditional IT (and possibly shared services)

IMG_1614-Edit_SML.jpgAt HP, we have suggested for some time that CIOs need to evolve into what we have dubbed a “service broker.” However, Booz and Company sees the business need for better information, more differentiating technologies, and faster time-to-market doing something even more dramatic. According to “The Death of Traditional IT: And the Rise of the New Partnership Model” (no longer available), a perspective authored by Booz’s Mike Cooke, Aveek Guha, and Ahmad Filsoof, business units are now in the process of gaining more control over the IT that they use. As well, the authors believe an increasingly competitive world will require greater differentiation in the kinds of technology that is used by individual business units. Over time, this will cause business units to manage their own IT and will spur a total rethink of the corporate IT function.

Labels: IT management

What every business leader should know about IT management

IMG_1614-Edit_SML.jpgMost business leaders increasingly need to interact with IT management. However, for many, the inputs and outputs to IT management are foreign territory. In a recent post, I suggested that the outputs of IT should be actively measured and managed—namely, delivery against business services, business initiatives, and suppliers.


While this is good in its own right, you can take your relationship with IT a step further by becoming directly involved in IT’s value chains and, in particular, how your IT organization measures its performance against them.

Labels: IT management

How to build a case to your CFO for IT management tools

charlesbetz.jpgBy Charlie Betz


IT is under perpetual challenges to be more transparent financially. And the imperative for transparency only grows if you’re a CIO who’s now reporting to a CFO.  


I’ve worked in some pretty large companies, and I know that many senior IT managers don’t have nearly the information that they need to manage those shops effectively. The current practice in IT is nowhere as data-driven as it should be. This is one reason I’m so fascinated by what HP is doing with its IT Performance Suite and the Executive Scorecard.


The potential to manage IT in a much more quantitative fashion exists. And there is tremendous low hanging fruit, in the systematic application of integrated reporting and analytics on IT management data. There’s also the potential to better execute on some fairly well understood measurement approaches. The problem is, to do this, you need tools and you need a system, and building the case for this is very hard.

Labels: IT management
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