Is your IT a honeydew melon or a watermelon?

Does your dashboard show users’ true opinions?

honeydew and watermelon small
Credit: ishmeriev

Enterprise IT today faces a conundrum. Their dashboard displays green, indicating they are meeting all commitments for service levels and key performance indicators (KPIs). But the business users are unhappy with IT because they don’t satisfy the users’ needs. The truth is most enterprise IT groups are like a watermelon – green on the outside but red on the inside.

This is incredibly frustrating for both sides. IT says, “Our servers are up, our networks are up, our applications are working.” The business users complain, “But we’re not getting the throughput in sales off our website,” IT responds, “It’s not our fault; our metrics are green and we’re doing everything we’re supposed to do.” But the business users declare, “It is your fault – it’s a technology problem.”

Basically the IT group and business users talk past each other, much like the situation described in the 1993 bestseller, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” about improving communication between people who differ in what they want. The frustration and finger-pointing lead to the true picture of IT’s performance: watermelon red.

Business users simply don’t care about SLAs; but they do care about getting work done. They are uninterested in what they see as excuses and attempts to avoid responsibility. On the flip side, the IT department is frustrated as they see that they kept their promises only to be blamed for things outside of their control or within allowable variances.

The goal for enterprise IT is to turn performance from a watermelon to a honeydew melon. Honeydew melons are slightly greenish yellow on the outside; but when you cut into them, they get greener and greener. In today’s world less CIOs and IT need to place less emphasis on SLAs and more on meeting the true business needs.

The question is how to achieve that goal.

Going forward, I’ll talk about this issue in this blog. How can IT provide more business value and faster response, throughput and agility to meet business users’ needs? How can IT meet business needs in a deeper, more thorough way? In future posts I’ll discuss how to reassemble IT delivery to be better able to do that. I’ll also blog about how to realign and organize IT so it is better able to understand business users’ needs, and I’ll discuss a new lexicon and more precise language to use with business users to reduce the frustration of IT and business users talking past each other.

I’ll also blog about other issues, but this will be the central theme of my blog posts: how to transform enterprise IT to be more like a honeydew melon than a watermelon.

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