As I stepped into the new “innovation zone” outfitted with leather couches, lounge chairs and café-style tables and stools at Chevron’s headquarters in San Ramon, California yesterday, ideas were flying. The Innovation Value Institute, a consortium focused on enhancing information technology’s role and demonstrating its value, has set up shop for two days at Chevron and yesterday announced its efforts. You can hear the announcement and see slides here. Collaboration is fundamental to IVI in that:
1) Competitors are collaborating in the consortium
2) IVI’s framework will enhance collaboration between IT and business units
The core consortium includes oil and gas competitors Chevron and BP, competing consulting firms Boston Consulting Group and Ernst & Young, and software companies Microsoft and SAP. Northrop Grumman is also part of the core group as is Intel. In fact, Martin Curley, Intel’s global director of IT innovation, co-directs the Institute, which is housed at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Each company is sharing intellectual property, and the partners are all getting more out of the collaboration than the IP that they’re investing. Through the consortium, according to Curley, the members are shifting their thinking and approach from “competitive advantage to collaborative advantage.”
IT is evolving from a service to a “business-embedded” role within enterprises. “IT organizations grew up with the service business model… acting as waiters and waitresses. What technology can I serve you today?” notes Natalie Stone, director of business strategy for Northrop Grumman. “We’ve come pretty far, and we’re poised to take the next leap.”
That next leap for the consortium members involves developing an IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF) of 36 interconnected processes—things like service analytics and intelligence, enterprise architecture, and innovation management. The idea is to establish a common language and standards for measuring how IT creates business value.
So, how does IVI quantify the value? Ralf Dreischmeier, partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group, says the consortium is focused on “50/50/50.” That means increasing IT return-on-investment by fifty percent, reducing time-to-market by fifty percent, and reducing business costs by fifty percent.
Consortiums often deliver little more than announcements and joint news releases, because of the lack of collaboration. “Five to ten years ago, this would have been dead,” insists Dreischmeier. “People were much more protectionist, thinking only about their little environment.” IVI is succeeding because of the premium its members are putting on trust, sharing and innovation. These are three of the Ten Cultural
Elements of Collaboration that I identify In The Culture of Collaboration book.
In parallel, businesses can create greater value if there is more trust between IT and business units. “If you don’t have the trust, there’s no way you’re going to make IT better,” acknowledges Chevron CIO Louie Ehrlich. Environment is another element, and Chevron’s “innovation zone” is designed to enhance collaboration and experimentation. “Chevron likes to do things with quality or not at all, but sometimes we need to lighten up and make mistakes,” insists Jack Anderson, Chevron’s innovation specialist, a consortium participant who is also championing collaboration within his company.
I’ve blogged and written in my book, spoken and advised organizations about how cultural diversity enhances collaboration, enables broader input and contributes to better decisions and products. Culture may be regional, organizational, functional, or departmental. The IVI includes cultural diversity on all of these levels. “Diverse groups work much better together,” is how Edwina Fitzmaurice, partner with Ernst & Young, sums it up. Fitzmaurice, based in Ireland, has a diverse professional background including stints as CEO of Prudential Europe Management Services and CIO of J. Rothschild International.
Many of the consortium members—and many other enterprises and IT vendors—have developed their own frameworks for IT value. Microsoft is no exception. There’s broad agreement, though, that an industry standard framework makes more sense for vendors and enterprises. “We can then talk about our product portfolio in a way that resonates rather than being product-centered,” says Samm DiStasio, senior director for business architecture and optimization in Microsoft’s enterprise and partner group.
Ultimately, ITI’s work will be publicly available—but it will never be finished. The nature of a collaborative framework is that it’s dynamic. As business shifts and IT evolves, ITI’s model will also change.