I got a great question from Bill Cooke about my Technology Governance in a Simple Model post. He brought up questions about how a CIO supports innovation and opportunistic activities.
Here is my response to Bill:
Thanks for taking time to read my post and to provide your feedback. You make a good point about support for innovation and opportunistic activities. I think I can provide some insight into how we thought about it in the context of this model.
For example, IT researched application virtualization technologies to address disaster recovery issues, to provide expensive software to students, to manage costs especially the manual effort to reimage labs when new software was introduced and to shrink the network traffic during lab imaging times (the computer lab images are much smaller if the apps are virtualized). We piloted Citrix XenApp internally before presenting them to our community as a solution. All this work was done in the Innovation space.
Once we proved the technology worked, application virtualization moved from the innovative space with IT as a business unit/department to the enterprise space (including being added to our Core Service Catalogue) where IT is the enterprise service provider. This migration of “services” is something fairly common and the governance model accommodates for this. Many departments innovate with technology but at some point it becomes too complex for them to manage. That is when we have a discussion about the costs and service levels required to move this service into the shared or enterprise space. We acknowledge when a service becomes enterprise by adding it to our Core Service Catalogue.
IT can be both the enterprise service provider and a business unit/department in its own right. In this case, IT as a business unit/department can dedicate portions of its resources to innovation and opportunistic activities.
Also the model can be applied to any business unit in an organization. If we take the view that the model maps Facilities services, then Facilities would manage the Enterprise space, participate in the Shared space with external utility providers and governments, support IT in the departmental space by providing power and cooling, pilot energy efficient equipment and lighting in the innovative space, and leverage SmartGrid technology in the Opportunistic space. I have not tried to apply it to an academic unit but believe the model is generic enough to work there too – just more focused on education and curriculum development.
This is one thing I really like about this model. It is not IT centric and has broad applicability. What do you think?
I completely agree that the CIO needs to foster innovation and bring ideas and service that the University Executive see as valuable. This model allows for all five governance categories. The hard part is deciding what portion of budget, support and control go to each category. This has to be done organization by organization.
Thank you again for reading my blog. Wishing you all the best, Leo
I am looking forward to hearing other comments. I will do more writing on this topic to provide a clarity on the applicability of this model in organizations.