Mark Gibbs touches on an important consideration related to using “Cloud Computing” in his Cloudiness and reality article.
It is the distinction between outsourcing the tasks associated with your infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, or software-as-a-service and outsourcing the governance and responsibilities for your systems.
As long as you are responsible for any part of the governance or availability of your outsourced systems then you have retained the bulk of the work that goes into managing and overseeing those systems.
According to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change, a "Gap Exists Between Vision for Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) to Improve Care Coordination and Clinicians' Experiences."
The study found that commercial EMRs are better at meeting billing and documentation needs than clinical needs.
"This work emphasizes that improving care coordination will not happen with technology alone," said Commonwealth Fund Vice President Anne-Marie Audet, M.D. "What is needed is a redesign of care processes and work flow; clinicians will also need to adopt new ways of working and communicating within practices and across organizations."
As I have written before, Goals and Tools. It is not the tool makers responsibility for meeting business goals. It is the practitioner's responsibility for utilizing and taking advantage of the tools on hand to improve and optimize their outcomes. Even if it requires changing the way they work.
Are you in a business support role? This is those roles that aren't directly involved in selling, delivering, and supporting products and customers. For example, roles like information technology, quality, auditing, legal, procurement, human resources, and accounting.
Do you have any of your own projects, or, do you play a supporting role in "business" sponsored projects?
How are the goals for the project defined? Who is responsible for the outcome of the project? What metrics are used to measure success?
Business sponsored projects must have business goals. For example, implementing a software package is not a business goal, it is a functional goal - the function of Information Technology. Measuring product quality is not a business goal, it is a functional goal - the function of Quality. Employee evaluation and ranking is not a business goal, it is a functional goal - the function of Staffing. Functional goals can be successful and yet the project can still be a business failure.
Projects and goals must be defined and executed in terms of benefits to the customer. If the goal is to shorten the sales and delivery cycle then the sales force automation software is only a tool. Tools do not replace smart and dedicated workers. It is these employees that leverage the tools available to them to achieve their goals. The responsibility for success falls squarely, in this example, on whoever is responsible for the customer relationship.
The "The Secrets of Software Sucess" by Chris Dowse in CIO Insight magazine mirrors my experience over many years now. He doesn't say it outright, but I will repeat what I have told many company executives with failing software projects. "The business must take responsibility for and own the success/failure of the business purpose for the software project."
I believe that one way that this can be facilitated is to separate governance from implementation and support. A corporate level governance team should own strategic and politicized responsibilities like enterprise architecture, portfolio governance, and process automation.
The technology implementation and support team should provide the technology services and tools and protect the data (wherever it may be) in a utility-like fashion.
[Note: originally posted on "improving outcomes blog" on 26Jan2010.]
To facilitate business opportunities, all departments and functions
must remain dynamic. We live in a time of massive global change and
uncertainty. Thinking that you can remain static while everything else
changes is a risky position.
Static linear processes must become
dynamic, parallel and event driven. Decisions need to be local and
framed with strategic planning, balanced scorecards, and operational
frameworks. Rules must be replaced with guidance. Information needs to
become free of silos and fiefdoms.
In Strategic Plans Lose Favor: Slump Showed Bosses Value of Flexibility, Quick Decisions
by Joann Lublin and Dana Mattioli (WSJ, 25Jan2010) they report that
"strategic planning doesn't always work" and "Strategy, as we knew it,
is dead." They equate strategic planning with "distant calendars and
rigid forecasts of the past." I disagree that strategic planning
involves static tactical plans and forecasts. To me, strategic planning
provides guidance to the company while getting business done. It points
everyone in the same direction. It provides input to tactical plans, but
so do up-to-date financial statements, market forecasts, and the
(Update: 3Feb10) Harvard Business Publishing Webcast - Understanding Your Strategic Purpose, with Nikos Mourkogiannis, author of Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Companies. Nikos explains the higher concept of purpose, which is starting point of strategy.
research by Insights Learning and Development and the Project
Management Institute suggests that the single most important factor
influencing project success is its link to the organization's business
Dynamic, parallel and event driven business processes
aren't enough. You need to make sure that the planning, governance, and
quality processes that support those business processes are just as
dynamic. To capitalize on new business opportunities you need to be able
to acquire, develop, deliver, and manage the necessary resources. And,
the more innovative your new product or service the more dynamic your
sourcing capability needs to be.