Bridging the Gap Between Central Organisations and the Field


Have you ever wondered why large organisations have a hard time delivering quality services and keeping their costs under control? Why your project, best practice or investment could not deliver to its promise?

At a leading IT services organisation, it turned out a communication gap between central organisations and the field undermined all sorts of operational tasks and projects. They managed to bridge this gap. It resulted into complex and bureaucratic processes becoming obsolete. It had far-reaching impact on quality, cost and delivery.

In a Stable Situation they had a Superior Business Model

Founded in 1962 by Ross Perot, EDS grew from a handful of employees to a global IT services provider of 139,000 employees by 2008, when it was taken over by Hewlett Packard. For many years, the company was directed with only a handful of policy and standards documents. With human tasks transferred into software tools and processes, the rate of speed at which business was done increased to unprecedented levels. Starting during the mid-1990s, however, new complications began to appear.

Improvement Needs from the Field, as Well as Offerings, Directives and Guidelines from Central Organisations, did not Arrive at their Destinations

The handful of mainframes that filled data centres were replaced by thousands of servers. The few documents became thousands. While central organisation still had vision, strategies and standards, meaning, importance and high-impact knowledge were lost before reaching the field. The same happened with client needs, lessons learned and innovations on their way from the field to central organisations.

While critical information was available, it could not be found when needed. This had consequences. Decisions had to be made without access to quality information. Best practices had to operate without information needed to function properly. It had further consequences such as decreased project success rates and an increase in non-productive costs, which fuelled the need for cost savings initiatives.

Guided Self-OrganisationTM Bridged the Gap Between Central Organisations and the Field, Preventing Costly Mistakes and Freeing Agendas from Troubleshooting

Guided Self-Organisation addressed the challenge at these Levels:

Level 1:  Provide quick access to relevant information

Quick access was provided to relevant enterprise-level offerings, directives and guidelines. Users were able to find these documents within a few mouse clicks in a central repository.

Level 2: Improve the knowledge, with the help of Communities of Practice (CoPs)

Offerings, directives and guidelines were updated with the help of CoPs. In the rapidly changing environment, the CoPs published local needs and lessons learned from the central repository, and contributed this knowledge to offerings, directives and guidelines. When users found a document in the central repository, they also found related lessons learned.

Level 3 − Guided Self-Organisation: Integrate CoPs into Governance

New levels of efficiencies were achieved through integration of CoPs into corporate governance, by making it interesting to participate, and through natural workflows.

What you can do

  • At coffee tables and meetings, get a good indication as to whether such gap exists in your organisation.

One indicator for a gap to exist is that of 5, 10 or 30 search hits for the same and similar documents. Another one is that of too many instructions being outdated or conflicting. Observe that there are many more issues that can fuel such a gap.

  • When a gap exists, get it into project and operational risk management processes. Ensure it is addressed with the appropriate priority.  

Want to know more?

Case Study/White Paper
Title: Bridging the Gap Between Central Organisations and the field
Author: Eugen Oetringer, Charles de Monchy
Free download

GapTitle: The IT Strategy Management Process
Author: Eugen Oetringer
ISBN: 9789087537722
Price: € 29,95
Order here your eBook or view the sample file on our website

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