strategy Ed Toner

Blog: The Year of Transformation

The OCIO recently received recognition in an article about our State IT Consolidation efforts. This could not have been accomplished without all of your assistance. We are on track with the Roadmap we created 18 months ago and are now entering the “Year of Transformation”. Through your efforts, the hardworking OCIO employees, we have set the stage and now begin to transform how we provide IT Services to the entire State of Nebraska.

“How Nebraska’s CIO is pulling off an ‘Impossible’ consolidation”

I’m often asked about what I did at Nebraska to produce such results as a twelve month network consolidation and the answer is-- I didn’t. My team did. I simply set the goals when I joined the OCIO, and we have stayed on track ever since thanks to all of you. By creating a vision of what the end result will look like, and then living by that vision, we have a deeper understanding of how our work will benefit others. I believe this has helped us all become motivated to work on something that certainly was not as concrete as we typically like to see in the IT field.

The consolidation roadmap phases were simply a set of high level objectives given to an intelligent, talented group that in turn generated innovation, creativity and success. I believe good leaders manage teams and good teams manage tasks. You have all executed these tasks extremely well.

Nebraska’s IT Roadmap

The Reality of IT under Consolidation

I was in a project meeting recently where a statement was made by a highly respected Supervisor that really made me think. I am paraphrasing but it was something like, “I have spoken to my peers and we feel we have so many balls in the air that we are afraid we will drop one. As soon as we get comfortable you throw out another one.”

I knew he was concerned, so I asked that we discuss the topic further, later in my office. Fact is, I totally agreed with the comment and was intrigued to hear more. I found out that the message he was trying to get across was that he was afraid he would drop one of the balls he was juggling. My reaction was, “then simply pick it back up when you can… and keep going”. He was clearly relieved and then expressed his real concern, “then you won’t see that as failure”? I responded, “Absolutely not. Regroup and keep going”.

"If we are not willing, or are apprehensive about taking on tasks that will create positive change, then we will have to settle for the ordinary."

I don’t like to settle and I know you don’t either. The reality is you can handle more tasks than you may have been able to in the past because we have incorporated a safety net. We keep the tasks organized and under control through new adherence to ITIL standards (Change, Incident, Service and Problem Management) and a new highly structured PMO. We are focusing on metrics to measure our success, and we make corrections along the way before they become an issue. To further adapt the ITIL model, we have learned how to manage change effectively by following Change Management standards. By following standard processes and procedures we minimize the risk to our systems associated with change.

Stepping into the Unknown

Up to this point we have enacted Change, and yes, on a very high profile scale. But now we are entering the “Transformation” Phase. Based on my past experience in the private industry, those companies or mergers I was involved in, or even simply the cultural differences from my international work over the years, I feel there is a level of misunderstanding between “Change” vs “Transformation”. The State of Nebraska enterprise is undergoing a Transformation. IT consolidation is a transformation-- while the end state is not completely known, it is being molded as we move towards completion.

Inevitably we see a repeated struggle with Transformation. Maybe because it does not fit into the defined process like ITIL Change Management. “Change management” means implementing finite initiatives, “Transformation” is entirely different. The goal of transformation is not simply to execute a defined change, it is to reinvent an organization and introduce a new business model based on future benefits.

There are no proven benchmarks or standards outlining how to transform an organization. Transformation means altering the way we think about accomplishing our role of providing IT services. It requires a change in the culture of an organization that cannot be easily reversed and the benefits may not be instantly identifiable like those we see in the Change Management process. I appreciate your hard work and respect for the taxpayers of the State of Nebraska, which you continue to show each and every day. The future will be better….. But it will not look like the past.


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