Maximizing value through the perfect blend of process and technology
By Edwin Wieringa
Thanks to agile, the once fervently hoped-for (but until recently only marginally realized) alignment of business and IT within many organizations finally seems to be taking real shape. The challenge now is securing technology competencies internally as a sparring partner for the many process-driven roles and functions.
Nowadays, you stumble across scrum masters, agile coaches, release engineers and product owners supervising development projects and other processes everywhere. In itself, a good thing. But because hard technology competencies are often hired, major decisions are made primarily by people with limited technical competencies and background. Companies thus spill over in process knowledge and process focus, while their distinctive value is mostly created by external people. There is an imbalance between internal and external – process-oriented versus technology-oriented.
Staying in control
People who deal with the ‘hire and fire’ are at a relatively large distance from the product side, making it difficult as an organization to stay in charge of the technology roadmap. After all, you need to have a good understanding of what needs to happen in terms of content in order to make fruitful use of all the makeable and available capabilities. For example, embracing large platforms for cloud-native development.
The product owner needs a sparring partner on the tech side: an internal force with a technical background. Together, they need to align IT with what is happening and needed within a specific domain. This can range from a generic solution for operational stability or efficiency, to very specific business solutions.
The multimodal analysis and organizational form are the linking pin here. After all, understanding the context and nature of the business activities leads to an appropriate organizational design and IT that supports that in all respects. On the business side, you can then make a deliberate move to matters of value: customer-centric, agile services, continuity assurance, innovation-oriented, or otherwise.
That requires attention at the right level within the organization. Decision makers within management and the board must realize a growth path for in-house people with a tech background. This makes tech more strongly represented in the organization; not just executive, but also at the coordinating and strategic level.
Are you wondering about how to better balance process and technology focus within your organization? In the upcoming white paper ‘Organizing Data & Technology’ there is plenty of attention to the various phases of development and organizational archetypes, from which you as a board or management can make the move forward.