Dear "IT Services" - Are We Ready? Are We Open?
Are most people open to doing things very different? And.... try out new possibilities ?...
Are most people open to doing things very different? And.... try out new possibilities ? It's one of those questions with no easy answer and respondents resort to an yes-and-no kind of rhetoric. When it's about trying a new product that one can see & feel, something that others have already tried out and therefore one can sense the outcome - the answer is an easier yes. And the rate of adoption is usually very rapid in such cases. When it's about a new service or process, the outcomes are not that easy to perceive - the answer goes for a usual no. Not unusual - we keep going to the same saloon for our personal grooming or visit the same book-store, unless some game-changing thing happens. Amazon.com/ flipkart.com have changed the way we buy things, serve as good examples.
Let's put IT in context.... Do we remember the specs of PCs we owned 10 years ago ? And how long did it take us to adopt the first tablet or a PDA? They offered tangible benefits and therefore the benefits were easier to trust and adopt. In contrast, in the IT Services industry, when was the last time a grand idea was adopted ? 20 years ago ? That's right, that's when the Global Delivery Model (GDM) was adopted. Only in the later years, it has gone through changes, fortifying it with best practices, sophisticated tools, agility and processes to drive better efficiency and predictability. Otherwise, movement has been fairly nominal.
So, what made the revolution happen in devices? Was Moore's Law just a natural phenomenon? Did things happen just like that? It didn't. It was billions of $ of research by industry and institutions, openness to experimentation and the push-n-pull of market forces resulted in user adoption of smarter and innovative devices. On the other hand, how much of real $ has been spent in advancing the art & science of innovation in the IT Services space? How much of innovation have we seen in service offerings coming out after the big wave of Global Delivery Model slammed this industry and transformed it in early 1990's? In my view, innovation in the IT Services space has been negligible, when compared to our peers in the non-services sector. We all agree, that better services, newer offerings, innovative processes can leverage technology much more effectively, drive better values for the client much in the same way service innovation makes flying more enjoyable in some airlines.
So, what can we do to change the game in IT Services? Game changing doesn't always mean that we have to operate on a game changing idea. It could be a game changing movement around a small/simple idea but adopted by a large majority in a rapid fashion. Just take the example of songs that go viral. Somebody leaked an initial version of Indian film song on You Tube and it started becoming popular. Sony realized the potential, considering an upcoming market like India, and quickly released an official version on You Tube which went viral and so much so that CNN named it in the top 5 songs for 2011. These are examples which can be applicable in our professional space. A rapid adoption of something new (however small) can redefine and set a new standard, a new of doing things and put pressure on others to follow. And when we do such things serially - it collectively becomes game-changing and gives us that leadership. Unlike hardware & devices, innovation in services do not really need a lab like environment always. We need to keep on innovating on a continuous basis so as to reach a 'tipping point', resulting in rapid adoption.
This needs evangelization. It doesn't have to be a single person, but can be done by each one of us. With openness to new things, one can become the ambassadors of success. And this championship will go a long way to define an equivalent of Moore's Law for services.... How can we double "some parameters" in services every 2 years? Be it productivity or an OLA! Or, how can we deliver another 30% reduction in costs?