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The Present Future of IT: Three Worlds Merge
Three master trends will continue to grow in the near future:
The Evolution of Social
Positioning for Clarity amid Chatter and Clutter
The Webification of Work
As these three worlds collide, new opportunities emerge at a dizzying rate, but a storm of complexity is also rising. Navigating the way ahead requires core disciplines that combine a strong people sense with a savvy systems understanding. Like DNA in organic systems, the strategic and cultural energies of innovative organizations will be more penetrating, engaging, and empowering.
A Healthy Participatory Strategic Culture Yields Better Technology Outcomes
Returns Are Far Too Rare
Estimates on the failure rate of IT projects range from 20% to as high as 70%2. This astounding reality has lead to volumes of research into the causes and possible solutions to return more value from the $3 trillion3 in annual global IT spending. This research has suggested some of the following factors may contribute to lost IT value:
Low user adoption rates4
Most Companies Have The Ingredients, But Not the Recipe
We find it difficult to believe that many enterprises lack the raw capacity in their people to realize and respond to these issues, especially given the many large and effective firms that have suffered devastating losses related to IT.10 What may be more likely, in our opinion, is an underlying disruptive influence that negates existing potential — a disruption that also limits ROI in areas beyond technology.
This disruption has to do with the way people are changing. This change is largely responsible for the explosion in IT innovations and the problems associated with implementing them. Not long ago, people assumed the central problem was productivity, so the emphasis on knowledge-efficiency-delivery justified orderly, top-down systems. But all this productivity and the connectivity created in the process birthed a new problem: complexity. This complexity has led to a massive reorganization of the environment of business through fragmentation, mixing, and flattening. While newer technologies offer some promise to thrive in these conditions, true effectiveness requires addressing these realities on a fundamentally human level.
Successful Outcomes Result From Highly-Relational Disciplines
How can we develop a better people solution in a world where everything is breaking up, mixing together, and spreading out? In organic systems, the answer is to store the DNA — the direction and identity — on a cellular level. In enterprise, this means embedding the strategy and culture of the business in every participant. This "enterprise DNA" can then be translated into almost any application, including the creation, adoption, and promotion of technology.
This is what we mean by "participatory strategic culture." It's the process of increasing openness, clarity, and consistency in how each participant experiences and expresses the enterprise strategy and culture. Rather than prescriptive formulas or magic-pill ideas, we suggest six highly-relational disciplines that nurture participatory strategic culture in any organization, project, or business unit, unleashing previously disrupted potential:
Based on the 3D Enterprise Development framework, each set of disciplines cycle from left to right, each discipline feeding into the next. On the strategic level, leaders do Story Clarification to gather the experiences of participants, contextualize these within the evolving reality of the enterprise, and recast the resulting clarified stories for action and further dialog. As participants gain access to the direction of the enterprise through story, assets that leaders connect for clarity and effectiveness rise to the surface through Asset Networking. Finally, in Environment Survey, leaders think with their people about how changes in the current and future landscape will change the needs and movements of the participants, increasing the accuracy of the enterprise's direction.
The cultural disciplines begin with Meaning Making: the process of engaging participants in constructing connections between their individual and corporate actions in three levels of value: immediate impact, enterprise benefits, and the global good. Leaders then facilitate the translation of these connections to more meaningful work through the continuous process of Practice Engineering. As practices build resonance and results, leaders then use Message Cycling to encode the identity of enterprise into fertile and sharable symbols and experiences.
Applying these disciplines to web-based technology investments can improve the embodiment and continued development of your enterprise direction and identity by fully engaged participants. It creates an atmosphere of authenticity — the emerging solution to the world of complexity — in a way that frames change in terms of mutual benefits that compel extraordinary contributions.
More detailed descriptions of the application of these disciplines to the development of web-based IT investments can by explored according to project type on this site: Minimalist: Independent Projects, Startup: Significant New Investments, and Expansion: Updating Existing Efforts. A white paper describing the application for these three types of projects is also available.
1. Gartner Identifies Four Disruptions That Will Transform the Software Industry. Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2008. Accessed online 1-5-11, here
2. This range depends on measurement methods, data source, and definitions of failure. Enterprise value: governance of IT investments : the Val IT Framework 2.0. IT Governance Institute, 2008. Pg. 7. Accessed online 1-6-11, here
3. Danny King. "Gartner: IT Spending will Grow 5.1% in 2011". DailyFinance, Jan 2001. Accessed online 1-6-11, here.
4. CSO Insights, a sales consulting firm that studies CRM use found less than four in ten companies have end-user adoption rates above 90% (Jim Dickie, “Demystifying CRM Adoption Rates: CSO Insights' Sales Performance Optimization '06: Four essential facts about end-user performance and buy-in.” CRM Magazine, July 2006. Accessed Online 1-5-11, here). CRM firm Really Simple System surveyed 500 users in 2007 and found 83% said the hardest challenge was employee adoption of software solutions and 43% said they took advantage of less than half their software's functionality (David Sims “CRM Survey: 83 Percent of Execs Suffer Employee CRM Resistance” TMCnet.com 11-30-2007. Accessed 1-5-11, here).
5. Ivy Hook has shown significant improvements in project outcomes by increasing investments in requirement definition and communication and reducing requirements errors (Ralph R. Young. "Twelve Requirements Basics for Project Success". CROSSTALK: The Journal of Defense Software Engineering, December 2006. Accessed online 1-6-11, here).
6. Kevin Zhu, et al. "Assessing Drivers of e-Business Value: Results of a Cross-Country Study". Twenty-Fourth International Conference on Information Systems, 2003. Accessed online 1-6-11, here.
7. Hsiu-Fen Lin and Szu-Mei Lin. "DETERMINANTS OF IMPLEMENTATION SUCCESS OF E-BUSINESS SYSTEMS: USING A TECHNOLOGY-ORGANIZATION-ENVIRONMENT FRAMEWORK". International Conference on Business and Information, 2007. Accessed online 1-6-11, here.
8. Francisco J. Mata, et al. "Information technology and sustained competitive advantage: A Resource-based Analysis". MIS Quarterly, Dec 1995, Vol 3, No 4. pg 487 ff. Accessed online 1-6-11, here.
9. Bradley C. Wheeler. "NEBIC: A Dynamic Capabilities Theory for Assessing Net-Enablement". Information Systems Research, June 2002, Vol. 13, No. 2. pp. 125–146. Accessed online 1-6-11, here.
10. For a partial list, see Enterprise value: governance of IT investments : the Val IT Framework 2.0. IT Governance Institute, 2008. Pg. 7. Accessed online 1-6-11, here
|Click on an image above to learn more about the enrivonmental metaphor matched with each project "species" or click the name to view the project species page.