Thinking about ICT strategies…

We’re coming to the end of our organisation’s current ICT strategy cycle. Back in 2012, I wrote it as a three year strategy and looking back at the plan, I’m really proud of what colleagues have delivered – we’ve completed most of the projects on the plan.  Others we set aside, as not longer relevant, and a couple of new ones have taken their place.  Overall, we’re pretty much where we planned to be at this stage.  This closing 2012-15 cycle had a combination of a couple of new strategic initiatives (online customer services and the start of a migration to cloud-based services), some big, but routine, tactical projects (significant version upgrades to core systems: housing management and telephony), and a head office move thrown in for good measure.   To channel Henry Ford for a moment, I’d characterise it as (much) faster horses plus a couple of go-karts.  Our online services in MyTVH is certainly a go kart.

Henry Ford

But I’m now thinking about cars.  

I want to widen out the ambition, so we meet a wider range of user needs online.  I want to create great tools that staff love using.  And I want to really leverage our data for insights to improve customer service and efficiency.

This time, I think an (even) more visionary, strategic approach is needed.  An ICT strategy that delivers the same old things, just faster or marginally better, just won’t be delivering the step change needed.  If HAs are to be modern well run businesses as we head towards 2020, we really need to focus on meeting the user needs.  How many IT Directors or Housing Directors really feel their organisations IT meets user needs?  And really sort out out approach to data.  Our sector has shed loads of it. And too much of it is trapped in systems without APIs, spreadsheets or worse still, in PDF documents.    

In pulling our IT strategy together, we’re drawing on a framework for thinking about it called “Value Chain Mapping“.  I’ve deliberately looked outside the sector to get some new approaches and ideas into play.  Value Chain Mapping starts with thinking about what the *headline* user needs are, and then looks at the components needed to meet those needs.  Simon Wardley’s blog is a brilliant set of resources for deploying this approach.  Highly recommended.
It’s proving to be an interesting exercise (we’re not finished yet).  The real benefit would come if lots of other HAs did a similar exercise and we shared our results.  I can’t see any security or commercially sensitive problems with doing so – this is simply a framework for thinking about things.  If folks felt commercial sensitivity was a problem, I’m sure I could work out a way of doing it anonymously.  Is anyone interested?
{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Dave Briggs March 28, 2015, 10:10 pm

    Hi Jayne

    I’d be really interested in learning more about how you are using Wardley mapping. Am attending a workshop on the topic soon, but a real world public service example would be really good to see – especially as I’m now in charge of technology policy at a council… 🙂

    • Jayne March 31, 2015, 6:27 am

      It’s still WIP Dave – but will keep you posted as we progress. Essentially I’m thinking its a framework for helping us focus on user need, and work out where best to put effort in best meeting them – not so much for competitive advantage in this sector (it’s not true competition), better cost efficiency. The more cost efficient we are, the more homes we build…

  • Martin Howitt March 31, 2015, 7:34 am

    hi Jayne

    I’ve done a bit of Wardley mapping and found it very useful, particularly and most obviously for sourcing decisions. Hopefully attending the same workshop Dave is and happy to collaborate.

    Martin

  • Jayne March 31, 2015, 7:47 am

    Where/when/what’s the workshop Dave & Martin ? Be good to hook up with others interested in the approach.

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