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Does Fast IT work in Government? It sure does: check out the case studies.

In my previous post, I explained how CIOs are reinventing the mission and role of the IT department in order to support the Digital Transformation of their organisation. And that adopting a Fast IT model is less about technology and more about progressive cultural and process changes.

But is this realistic for public sector organisations as well? It sure is.  In this post and 2 following ones, I’d like to share some of the outcomes from the Fast IT engagements done with 3 IT organisations in the government sector, a sector that often has the unfair reputation of being overly conservative. I’ll show that public sector CIOs are motivated to change the status quo and disrupt the current operating model to better serve the needs of the public administration, of citizens and of businesses. Naturally, the details are confidential, so I am using pseudo-names to preserve the anonymity of our customers:

  1. Central IT department of a Large International Government Institution: let’s call it “GovIT-A
  2. Central Government IT Service Provider in Eastern Europe (providing IT services to all ministries in the country): let’s call it “GovIT-B
  3. IT Department of one of the major German Government Institution in Germany: let’s call it “GovIT-C

In each engagement, we have used the same methodology (“Strategic Roadmap to Fast IT“) consisting of 3 phases:

  • Phase One – Focus on BUSINESS: Clearly identify and document the strategic drivers for IT from the business’ perspective (or ministries, or government agencies). Indeed, you can’t ambition to build Fast IT organisation if you haven’t clearly captured what’s holding you back (the main problem often being culture, organisation and processes), and put a remediation plan in place.
  • Phase Two – Focus on IT: Build the IT Value Map to demonstrate — visually – how IT is structured to deliver value and how success will be measured. Long report are read (sometimes) and then forgotten. But you shouldn’t underestimate the communication power of a large poster in every room of the IT department (and the business): this is how you create alignment in the long run.
  • Phase Three – Focus on ROADMAP: Using output from phases one and two, identify and prioritise the key programmes and projects – the Strategic IT Roadmap – that will deliver the biggest impact, enabling a successful execution of the IT Management Plan for this year, the next 3 years and beyond.

In this post series, I’ll illustrate the outcomes from the 3 phases, using 1 client for each phase. Let’s get started…

Case Study #1 – Focus on BUSINESS

When we first started talking with GovIT-A about 2 years, the previous CIO (technically-minded) had just been replaced, mainly due to the dissatisfaction of the client departments that he was providing services to. The new CIO (business-minded) was determined to avoid the errors of the past, and wanted to build a strong foundation, based on excellence in customer services. Cisco proposed to engage on a Strategic Roadmap to Fast IT, and we received the list of 8 key stakeholders *outside* of the IT department (the “customers”), as well as the list of 8 key stakeholders inside the IT department (the “providers”).

We started by interviewing the people outside of IT, to get their perspective on the quality of the IT services they were getting. We used COBIT5 as a way to structure all the information that we collected (advantage: COBIT5 was already used by the audit department as well). COBIT5 provides a list of 17 generic enterprise business drivers, of which we identified 8 as being crucial to the future success of GovIT-A:

  1. A culture of partnership for business and IT innovation. 
    GovIT-A had a major issue: the complete lack of trust between IT and business stakeholders. Fostering collaborative attitudes was absolutely crucial for Fast IT to become a reality one day. We looked at how to build multi-level partnerships and agree on roles and responsibilities to create common goals within a shared IT Capability Framework.
  2. Managed business change programs. 
    Quickly identifying and empowering “champions of change” (both in the business and in IT) was seen as key to accelerate the transformation to Fast IT. Innovation was to be supported by top management and coordinated through agile, virtual teams. We looked at how well the operational model supported an effective change management.
  3. User-orientated service culture.
    IT was focused on its technology stacks, not on the actual services delivered to the users. A move to service-orientation was a key step towards Fast IT. Monitoring KPIs and improving processes would support this. We confirmed what the IT department and LOBs were responsible for, and reviewed how we could cut the overall cost and complexity of IT processes.
  4. Agile responses to a demanding business environment.
    IT needed to be much more agile – responsibly meeting the needs of the business in terms of time to service, flexibility and interoperability. We reviewed flexibility and the layers of authorisation that got in the way of creating a responsive IT department.
  5. Financial transparency and value for money.
    The whole procurement paradigm of GovIT-A was incompatible with a move towards Fast IT. For example, each technology team (network, server, storage, etc.) was still ordering the equipment it needed, more or less independently from the others. This meant for example that it was impossible to order an integrated compute stack. Or to order Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS). The IT department was unable to tailor its services to meet the unique expectations of the different departments in terms of cost, security and flexibility etc. This lead to each departments trying to avoid GovIT-A as much as possible, and trying to do it themselves – dramatically increasing the share of IT spend outside of the GovIT-A (around 75%!).
  6. Managed Business Risk.
    Being a government institution, no compromise could be made around information availability. However, the security team was really seen as “Doctor No”, so departments would do anything they could to find workarounds. We established the need to balance – on a per-application basis – the business benefits with its cost and the security requirements.
  7. Operational and staff productivity.
    Many employees within GovIT-A expected IT to work the way they knew was possible. With mobility. From home. Video-enabled. We discussed with the IT team how to adopt a user-centric model, powered by technologies that drive collaboration and delivered in an environment of Continuous Service Improvement (CSI). We identified quick wins, such as BYOD, mobility and telepresence initiatives, with positive results for the end user.
  8. Skilled and motivated people.
    As the IT environment evolves, so must employee’s skills. Continuously. We looked at how to create a learning curriculum that was blended, easily accessible and collaborative. Proactive, forward-looking training would help them to take on new roles and adapt to the new technologies or processes that Fast IT brings. This is all too often the piece of the strategy that’s missing to IT roadmap.

Of course, these 8 strategic drivers are not something to we can solve over the matter of a few months. It takes at least 5-7 years, to gradually evolve the IT Department to Fast IT. Today, we are pleased to continue our ongoing collaboration with GovIT-A, and seeing initiatives and projects that are approved by management, implemented in the field, and gradually reaping their benefits.

Don’t hesitate to post your comments if you’d like to get more details on some particular aspects of our engagement with GovIT-A.

In my next posts, I’ll cover the work we did with 2 other government agencies:

  • Case Study 2 (“GovIT-B”): the focus of the post will be on the IT Value Map
  • Case Study 3 (“GovIT-C”): the focus of the post will be on the Strategic Roadmap to Fast IT.

Stay tuned!


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New white paper: “Build your Strategic Roadmap to Fast IT”

Fast IT has the power to completely transform the role and the value of IT to the business. It is a critical imperative for those CIOs who want to transform themselves from the mere owners of technology stacks to the drivers of their enterprise’s digital transformation.

CIOs must reinvent the mission and role of the IT department. It’s no longer good enough to be a competent internal IT provider. Going forward, CIOs and their teams must become what analyst firm Gartner calls “trusted brokers” of all IT services, delivered either in-house or by a dynamic roster of external suppliers. Quite simply, it’s a matter of survival: if nothing is done, the traditional IT department will be “Uber-ised”, just like the traditional taxi industry is currently being disrupted.

Fast IT Model

To understand Cisco’s lean, results-driven approach to Fast IT, please take a look at our latest white paper:

Build your Strategic Roadmap to Fast IT


Read More »

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – December 12, 2014

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

We had the opportunity this week to hear from Edison Peres on how Cloud Builders Monetize Intercloud by Helping Customers Create Hybrid IT. If you’re interested in how building data centers and private clouds have become such a big part of the partner business, be sure to check out Edison’s blog.

If you are already a private cloud builder it’s great reinforcement for what you’re already doing and we would love to hear from all of you. Let us know what you think of Edison’s latest blog post.

New growth opportunities with the introduction of Cisco Connected Analytics

Cisco’s Connected Analytics portfolio brings analytics to the data center; anywhere; in near-real time. This helps capture insights that create opportunities, simplify business operations, and enhance the customer experience. Cisco’s Connected Analytics portfolio provides partner growth opportunities, allowing you to add business intelligence, analytics, and data management services that differentiate your practice. Read More »

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Lunch is on Us – Unlocking the Potential of a Well Balanced Secure Hybrid IT Strategy

Much like the MPG argument when comparing diesel engines versus regular gas engines, and hybrid gas/electric versus pure plug-in electric vehicles, similarly valid arguments can be made for any combination of IT strategies: the traditional on-premise data center and private clouds, versus IT out-sourced. What IT strategy you chose will no doubt come down to what your mission is and how IT can best support business growth, outcomes, etc.

hybrid IT

We’re seeing increasingly more interest a combination of traditional and out-sourced IT models: a well-balanced hybrid IT strategy.

Ideally, this hybrid IT environment is one where you maintain control, security, and data sovereignty as offered by private clouds, while achieving the speed, agility, and scale at a price point offered by the provider clouds, right?

Lunch Is On Us

To help you make informed decisions on how you can build such a highly secure hybrid cloud strategy and extend your existing data centers to public clouds as needed, on demand, with consistent network and security policies – we’re coming to 16 locations in the USA to tell you about it.

Hope to see you at one of these locations. Lunch is on us.

USA North East Dates & Locations

Date Location
02-DEC-2014 Herndon, VirginiaCisco Office13600 Dulles Technology Drive Register
04-DEC-2014 Washington, District of ColumbiaCisco Office601 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,

North Building

03-FEB-2015 New York, New YorkCisco Office1 Penn Plaza,

9th Floor

05-FEB-2015 Boxborough, MassachusettsCisco Office1414 Massachusetts Ave. Register

USA South & South East Dates & Locations

Date Location
20-JAN-2015 Richardson, TexasCisco Office2300 East President George Bush Highway Register
22-JAN-2015 Houston, Texas, UNITED STATESCisco Office10111 Richmond Avenue,

Suite 450

24-FEB-2015 Miami, Florida, UNITED STATESCisco Miami Office8200 NW 41st Street,

Suite 400

26-FEB-2015 Atlanta, Georgia, UNITED STATESCisco Atlanta Briefing Center500 Northridge Road,

Suite 700


USA West Area Dates & Locations

Date Location
13-JAN-2015 Centennial, ColoradoCisco Office9155 East Nichols Avenue, Suite 400 Register
15-JAN-2015 Seattle, WashingtonCisco Office2901 Third Avenue, Suite 600 Register
17-FEB-2015 Irvine, CaliforniaCisco Office130 Theory, Suite 100 Register
19-FEB-2015 San Jose, CaliforniaCisco HQ Campus San Jose3600 Cisco Way, Building 18 Register

USA Central Area Dates & Locations

Date Location  
09-DEC-2014 Bloomington, MinnesotaCisco Bloomington Office7900 International Drive, Suite 400 Register
11-DEC-2014 Southfield, MichiganCisco Office2000 Town Center, Suite 450 Register
10-FEB-2015 Chicago, IllinoisCisco Office9501 Technology Blvd, West Office Ctr Register
12-FEB-2015 Chesterfield, Missouri, UNITED STATESCisco Office16401 Swingley Ridge Road, Suite 400 Register


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Monetizing the Shift to Cloud and Hybrid IT with Services

Picture this scene, which took place last month at Cisco’s Partner Summit in Las Vegas. I had been talking for a few minutes in the lobby of the Venetian with a long-time Cisco partner when he suddenly asked, “Raja, how are you guys at Cisco going to help us use services to capitalize on cloud and hybrid IT?” I answered: “Plenty…and rapidly expanding.”

First the back story, then the details.

By now, we all know that new technology consumption patterns have shifted the business model that customers are demanding. Much of this has to do with the increased influence that line of business decision makers now have on IT buying decisions. Consider this. In just two years, 35 percent of IT spend will reside in the business — outside the control of IT – according to a recent study.1 A whopping 90 percent of IT spend will be controlled by the business in 2020. As the saying goes, “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.”

Then there’s the lightning-quick shift to a variety of new cloud models.  In just two years, cloud spending will account for the majority of new IT spending, according to Gartner.2 That same research also predicts that by the end of 2017, nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments. Read More »

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