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Delivering Professional IT Services; Mind the gap of Cultural Risks

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Professional services delivery management can have strategic
value, when there is link between the level of effectiveness and the efficiency with which services delivery is accomplished and when the project’s outcomes (product or services), can provide overall business value.

Quite often, due to cultural inconsistencies the whole process
can fail. For example: if services delivery requirement(s) change dramatically increases the risk of failure then, it is logical to avoid a decision leading to its ratification.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Delivering Professional IT Services; Mind the gap of Cultural Risks

  1. 1. The 6th South-East Europe itSMF Conference Delivering Professional IT Services; Mind the gap of Cultural Risks Harris Apostolopoulos BEng(Hons), MSc, EMBA, PhDc Strategy Advisor harris.apostolopoulos@gmail.com 19 April 2013
  2. 2. In Brief Professional services delivery management can have strategic l h th i li k b t th l l f ff ti d thvalue, when there is link between the level of effectiveness and the efficiency with which services delivery is accomplished and when the project’s outcomes (product or services), can provide overall business valuebusiness value. Quite often, due to cultural inconsistencies the whole process can fail For example: if services delivery requirement(s) changecan fail. For example: if services delivery requirement(s) change dramatically increases the risk of failure then, it is logical to avoid a decision leading to its ratification.
  3. 3. Agenda Significance11 22 Risk(s) Overview C lt l F tC lt l F t33 44 Summary Cultural FactorCultural Factor Change Risk Assessment Model (CRAM); Survey ParticipationChange Risk Assessment Model (CRAM); Survey Participation55
  4. 4. Significance • Market needs are constantly changing; market adaptation, strategic business planning, flexibility, speed, cultural adaptation are more than mandatory. • The main difficultly arises from the fact that culture itself is difficult to be defined because it differs among organisations and individuals. Cultural differences or even cross cultural interactions can affect not only the ways business is conducted internationally but can influence the ways people operate with people. T h h i d li bl t ( S i biliti ) hi h• Too much emphasis on deliverables or outcomes (e.g. Service capabilities) which on their own do not deliver specific benefits, or even in the processes (the way things have to be done). • People in different cultures respond in differently ways as they do in different orgnaisational enviroments. In a larger extent it can influence those people who operate in services management team and may lead to optimum collaboration or onp g y p the other hand to conflict.
  5. 5. Cultural Influence(s) 11 A project is more successful if it fits with the services' manager Leadership The culture among stakeholders can foster trust, teamwork, and open communication in way that overall services delivery success can be promotedwith the services manager personality. Communication promoted. People have different skills, attitudes and experiences, in effect they also have different views of what is priority or important The language needs to be understandable by all stakeholders. views of what is priority or important. Culture can impact the speed of working, the decision-making process, and the impulse to act without appropriate planning This may lead to 2 33 Culture may be seen as the “glue” between people and processes. Successful Services Delivery without appropriate planning. This may lead to conflict and stress in some organisations, thereby affecting the performance of the services delivery. The vision (what the organisation intends to become in the future) can influencee s o ( a e o ga sa o e ds o beco e e u u e) ca ue ce culture and strategic planning.
  6. 6. Risk(s) • Potential risks can be found everywhere. The difficult part in not only to identify them (hidden risks is more difficult to be found) but also to control them. • Risk : A possible event that could cause harm or loss, or affect the ability to achieve objectives (Service Transition v.3, p.243). • A simplistic definition of risk in terms of probability of occurrence is: Risk = Probability x Impact • Organisation’s cultural risks can influence services performance and consequently services deliverables.
  7. 7. Risk Curve Ri k h t d t ti ll ith ti if l ft d Figure 1: Risk Profile Risks have a tendency to grow exponentially with time if left unmanaged. Drake (2005a, 2005b), cited via Service Transition v.3, p.143
  8. 8. PRINCE2 Risks Facilitation Implement IdentifyPlan Communicate Assess Figure 2: The Risk Management Procedure PRINCE2 l i th t j t b i b t h d tl h i OGC, PRINCE2 Guide, 2009, p. 80 PRINCE2 explains that projects bring about change and consequently change incurs risk; more specifically, risk taking in projects is inevitable.
  9. 9. PRINCE2 Risk Responses • Avoid (threat)( ) • Reduce (threat) • Fallback (threat) • Transfer (threat) Threat: an uncertain event that could have a negative impact on objectives. ( ) • Accept (threat) • Share (threat or opportunity) • Exploit (opportunity) Opportunity: an uncertain event that could have a favourable impact on objectives. OGC, PRINCE2 Guide, 2009, p. 77 Exploit (opportunity) • Enhance (opportunity) • Reject (opportunity) - Overall, risk management has to take the form of a systematic process and as PRINCE2 explains, it should not be based on chance. OGC, PRINCE2 Guide, 2009, p. 85
  10. 10. Services Life Cycle Service  Design Service  Strategy DesignStrategy Service  Transition Continual  Service  Improvement Service  Operation p • Cultural or even cross-cultural risk issues can happen during the whole services Figure 3: The ITIL Core • Cultural or even cross-cultural risk issues can happen during the whole services life cycle.
  11. 11. Culture • Culture can be related (but not limited to): characteristics and assumptions of the organisation related to behaviour, values, norms, decisions and rules. • Organizational culture is “the set of shared values and norms that control the IT organization’s interactions with each other and customers. Just as an organizational structure can improve performance so too can an organization’s culture increasestructure can improve performance, so, too, can an organization s culture increase organizational effectiveness” (ITIL v.3 Service Strategy). • Culture is transmitted to staff through socialization training programmes stories• Culture is transmitted to staff through socialization, training programmes, stories, ceremonies and language. • The cultural factor is evident in culturally diverse multinational businessThe cultural factor is evident in culturally diverse multinational business environments, where the different ways of thinking and behaving sometimes contradict but sometimes reinforce successful adaptation. Therefore, a positive organisational culture can result in high services team performance and in effect success.
  12. 12. Culture Governance Framework Influence • According to Rivard (2011), there are six factors that can affect the design of a governance framework for ITSM/ITIL including Culturegovernance framework for ITSM/ITIL including Culture. • Culture; • Communications, Training and Education; • Executive Support and Buy-in; • Governance Structure;; • Roles and Responsibilities; • Measurement and Reporting.  The service management process maturity framework mentions an assessment against five areas (vision and steering, process, people, technology and culture). Rivard, E. (2011). 6 Success Factors for ITSM Governance Structures, ITSM portal, The Netherlands
  13. 13. Especially for project management, problems might occur because; the culture of the stakeholders differs in a variety of ways, as they mEspecially for project management, problems might occur because; the culture of the stakeholders differs in a variety of ways, as they m Change Management and Risk Management – Two Culture-Driven Processes • Cultural change is related also to a degree of potential risk. This is because no one can guarantee the level of change adaptation and overall successcan guarantee the level of change adaptation and overall success. • People do not like to change their routine, but changes in a business environment cannot be avoided, since the business circumstances also do change.cannot be avoided, since the business circumstances also do change. • It is not rare the fact that, small organisations can achieve better results, more quickly. This is because; the same individual undertakes multiple roles and hasq y ; p several responsibilities associated with. • IT Service Management is about service configuration to become as customer- oriented as possible. This configuration might necessitate the use of tools such as strategic planning on the set of technologies to be utilised by an organisation. • Change and Risk management integration seems necessary.
  14. 14. Culture at the Core • The larger the size of organisations, the greater the complexity of services operations within the same organisation. Nevertheless, should be kept at the core of services processes. • The cultural factor is evident in culturally diverse multinational business environments, where the different ways of thinking and behaving sometimes contradict but sometimes reinforce successful cultural and organisational integration. Organisation Service Management Communication Leadership Culture Figure 4: Culture: Core organisational element
  15. 15. Especially for project management, problems might occur because; the culture of the stakeholders differs in a variety of ways, as they mEspecially for project management, problems might occur because; the culture of the stakeholders differs in a variety of ways, as they m Culture Integration • Culture of the stakeholders differs in a variety of ways, as they might have their own individual culture of work which comes in conflict with respective organisation’s one. • Because different people have different characteristics (for example: knowledge, culture, perception, experience) they respond differently in different environments. • Perhaps it is difficult to change the people of the project’s service requirements. However it is easier to grasp the very best and capable people and encourage them, stressing that project success is reachable. S i Organisational culture Professional culture Services    culture Figure 5: Organisational and Professional cultural integration
  16. 16. Th i iti l it i ti t d t t ifi t i t d t h t t i Summary There is critical necessity organisations to adapt to specific customer requirements and concepts such as: strategic business planning, customer satisfaction, market adaptation, flexibility, and subsequently effective business culture management 11 22 It is not rare in large and complex projects involving a considerable number of teams from vendor(s) and/or client(s) that project managers of different ethnicity have to collaborate and work together (cross cultural consistency)22 33 that project managers of different ethnicity have to collaborate and work together (cross cultural consistency). The cultural change process is a risky one, meaning the results are uncertain. Continuous improvement is the key to success. Formal policies should be followed that will ensure the utilisation and success of service delivery goals. The cultural change process is a risky one, meaning the results are uncertain. Continuous improvement is the key to success. Formal policies should be followed that will ensure the utilisation and success of service delivery goals. 44 Since change and risks cannot be avoided services stakeholders have to take into account the levels of risk they can tolerate. Services Strategy can be proven useful useful in terms of influencing organisation's attitudes and culture towards the A strategy to serve customers is not solely requirements based; should also integrate cultural norms and insights.A strategy to serve customers is not solely requirements based; should also integrate cultural norms and insights. 55 66 Services Strategy can be proven useful useful in terms of influencing organisation's attitudes and culture towards the creation of ‘customers value’. The need to improve performance while managing trade-offs should also consider cultural trade-offs.The need to improve performance while managing trade-offs should also consider cultural trade-offs. gy y q g ggy y q g g 77
  17. 17. “I do not believe you can do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow” Nelson Jackson Delivering Professional IT Services; Mind the gap of Cultural Risks Th k Y ! Questions? Thank You! harris.apostolopoulos@gmail.com
  18. 18. “I do not believe you can do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow” Nelson Jackson Change Risk Assessment Model (CRAM) • Are you interested in Change Management?• Are you interested in Change Management? • Do you believe that Risk(s) can be identified and controlled? • Can you spare 15-20 mins and take part in a survey? thenthen • Take the chance and log on to www.changemodel.net info@changemodel.net Research conducted at City University London

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