To sustain progress and achieve substantial business value, organizations should aggressively integrate Service
Virtualization (SV) into their software development lifecycle (SDLC). In fact, this may be your most important move in driving meaningful change that leads to increasing IT value.
Although this type of change is critical, it can also be overwhelming for many organizations, given the pressures on IT regarding time, budgets, competing priorities, staff availability, etc. Fortunately, metrics demonstrate the value of SV, and these metrics can be convincing when presented to business leaders.
Given the availability of metrics, why do many organizations miss the opportunity to leverage SV to drive change - specifically to transform processes?
Perhaps the reason is that change requires change.
Change is perpetual in IT, which may explain why the industry isn’t short on change management methodologies and practices. It seems that most standards bodies assume that process improvement is a technical challenge rather than a social and cultural challenge. Another perspective is that automation will compel needed change.
A change management function must focus on developing principles, practices and processes that enable organizations to improve software development outcomes by paying attention to the cultural and social aspects of change. Some key questions addressed in change management are:
- How are data-rich SV metrics used to obtain buy-in at all levels of the organization?
- How do organizational process changes related to SV mitigate IT risk?
- Which SV-related change initiatives bring about the greatest organizational value?
- What process improvement metrics aid in evaluating the success of change?
SV activities and maturity strategies such as business process alignment, staffing and organizational alignment, and initiative identification and measurement intersect with change management. Organizations benefit by identifying a skilled practitioner who understands these intersection points and defines and facilitates the necessary cultural and social changes. Change management activities that focus on the following questions can help:
- How does change management drive executive and stakeholder understanding of value?
- How does SV alignment with executive initiatives increase business value and outcomes?
- What assessment approaches best measure the impact of behavioral changes?
Focusing on these areas helps teams develop a change management ethos that can be socialized across stakeholders at all levels and connects directly to desired business outcomes for SV. One of the best places to start is by identifying a talented SV practitioner or team who can step beyond the technology to link process and cultural/social changes to benefits the organization will experience due to change. In doing so, the SV conversation and its value is elevated to the enterprise. When organizations elevate the conversation, the discussion shifts from a focus on technical outputs to SV’s impact on desired business outcomes.
Stay tuned. The next blog examines people and process changes that help drive the value of SV. In the meantime, your comments and questions are always welcome.