The Game Plan 

IT Transformation Is More Than Technology—Its People, Culture, and Policy

If you think introducing a shiny new tool or service is transformation. Think again. Our changemakers wrought fundamental change in how people work, communicate and collaborate. In episode 2  of The Change Makers we investigate how changemakers plan their work; set up their vision, objectives, and roadmap. And we learn how IT transformation often begins with something other than technology.

When Derek Rose joined maritime management company V.Group as its Group Head of IT, he knew things had to change.

“It was a free-for-all,” he says. “There were thousands of tickets in it and you couldn’t see the wood for the trees. The team was working crazy hours, commonly staying logged on until two or three o’clock in the morning.”

But his first thought wasn’t to immediately introduce a new ITSM platform or commission a bespoke help desk. Instead, he began with the experience and worked backward to the technology.

He wanted to create an IT department that was “easy to do business with.” After setting that experience as the goal, he began thinking about what he’d need to make it a reality.

V.Group would need a centralized point of contact for IT, robust request function, powerful self-service library, resolution tracking, and more. Once he understood the experience and the practical realities of making it happen, Derek turned his attention to technology, quickly whittling down the market and selecting a vendor. 

It might seem counterintuitive for an information technology leader to relegate the tech to his second priority—but it’s a trend across all of our Changemakers.

“If the only tool you have in your backpack is a hammer, everything looks to you like a nail,” says Prasad Ramakrishnan, Freshworks’ Chief Information Officer. “Try to understand the problem you’re trying to solve.”

In a previous role at a pharmaceutical SaaS company, Prasad turned the dial on this idea. While he knew the organization’s service desk had to change, he recognized that he wasn’t best placed to evaluate the experience of its replacement.

After selecting a shortlist of vendors, Prasad opened up his procurement process to a cross-functional evaluation team. Its 75 participants interrogated each vendor’s technology, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. When Prasad eventually selected a service desk vendor, he knew it could deliver the desired experience because he’d seen his colleagues live it.

Other Changemakers cast their focus wider.

Peter Baskette joined Riverbed Technology as its Vice President of Information Technology in 2017 and discovered IT operations management that was “inadequate on a good day.” He knew the processes and technology had to change, but what he was most concerned about was something else.

“Technology folks are comfortable with technology and process,” he laughs. “But the people portion isn’t always a strength.”

To drive change, adoption, and utilization, Peter called change management guru John Kotter’s eight steps:

  • Create a sense of urgency.
  • Build a guiding coalition.
  • Form a strategic vision and initiatives.
  • Enlist a volunteer army.
  • Enable action by removing barriers.
  • Generate short-term wins.
  • Sustain acceleration.
  • Institute change.

With his proven change management framework, Peter drove sustained transformation at Riverbed.

By looking beyond technology, our Changemakers drove outsized impact in their organizations. 

Listen to Episode Two: The Game Plan.

In this episode two, you’ll learn

  • Why self-service was a core part of V.Group’s new IT department experience: “People like to fix things themselves. We’re inquisitive by nature. Let’s give them the ammunition to find out how to fix things. Their knowledge increases as a result of it. Our knowledge base was a big part of it for me.”
  • How Prasad’s’ democratic selection was fit into a scoring matrix: “Visualize a table with feature and functionality contributing a 40% weighting, cost contributing a 10-20% weighting, stability has a 10%, and customer references a 20%. The cross-functional democratic process evaluates the features and functionality, which is the most important thing.”
  • Why Riverbed Systems turned to a pre-existing change management process: “It’s a very compelling and clean approach to addressing the people component of the people-process-technology equation. It’s literally eight steps and you follow them. I’ve used that framework to organize my approach and drive the change forward.”

Listen to Episode Two: The Game Plan.

Learn more about our Changemakers here

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