Moving to a collaborative IT services model is a change in mindset and culture for an IT team and the company as a whole. Consider carefully the existing culture of the IT team and their relationships within the organisation. If moving to this model, an executive sponsor is critical for setting the tone and ensuring success over the long term, especially if you don’t have a CIO. Senior management should be made aware and clear communications across the company. Consider the following;

  • The head of IT will be responsible for implementing this model and they should fully understand what it means and what the expectations of senior management are.
  • Success metrics should be a mixture of quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative metrics / KPI’s may be similar to those already in place but always include a metric or more tied to post-project implementation success and ongoing service success. We DO NOT encourage using “employee surveys” as a measure of success, these are generally not viable as employees rarely give honest feedback. As well, simply saying a project or deployment of a tool was delivered on time and on budget is a cooperative metric, not collaborative.
  • Ensure that there are a few early “wins” that are easy to achieve within a few weeks or a couple of months. This encourages the model and provides feedback for both IT and an affected department to establish trust with each other.
  • Elicit qualitative feedback from employees over time to track success and monitor for any slippage back into the cooperative model. Look for signs of the model working as employees approach the IT team and get invited into projects. When other departments start saying “Let’s get IT involved” instead of comments like “IT won’t like this” or “Don’t get IT involved until we really have to”, then you’ve reached a tipping point towards ongoing success.
  • If you feel that members of the IT team are lacking in interpersonal or team/collaborative skills, set them up for success by identifying skills development courses they can take. Provide an opportunity to succeed.
  • Write a mission or vision statement in collaboration with the IT team. This way, they have participated in developing the mission / vision and will be more likely to buy in.

These are some of the steps towards implementing a collaborative vs. cooperative IT services model in organizations large and small. As with any change in an organisation, it’s all about people and culture before technology and process. Simply firing people on an ongoing basis for non-compliance or having people constantly quit usually indicates you have a problem with your approach to corporate culture and in the end, that can cost you a lot in constant re-training and lost knowledge.

About the Author Giles W. Crouch

Giles Crouch is a digital anthropologist and CDO/CIO. He spent over 20 years in globally-focussed marketing communications for technology products and services, but his roots are anthropology in a modern sense. He uniquely ties his deep knowledge of technology, marketing, design thinking and design anthropology as a polymath to help clients seeking digital advantage in today’s complex world. Giles has been regularly interviewed by international news media on topics such as social media, blockchain, artificial intelligence and it’s impacts on society. He is a passionate practitioner of design thinking and anthropology. Giles is prolific writer and public speaker, lecturer and keynote. He has also completed over 250 netnographic research projects since 2009. His secondary activity is as Group Publisher with Human Media Inc.

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