Monday, June 2, 2014

Who do you serve?

Reflection is an important part of improvement, either for ourselves or the organizations we manage. We often structure that reflection through particular tools, such as the SWOT to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Eric L. Denna via EDUCAUSE Review encourages CIOs to add another tool to this "toolbox." Denna presents five questions for CIOs to judge their unit's engagement with the organization. I've slightly reworded them here:
  1. Who do you serve?
  2. What services do these customers want from you, and what do you provide?
  3. How do you measure your success?
  4. How do you provide services to customers?
  5. How are you organized around these services?
Denna argues that these five questions can be asked in two ways: one way to understand where you are now and another way to understand where you need to be. So the above list represents the "as-is" for your organization: who do you service, what do you do, etc. Denna's second list converts that into a "to-be" perspective:
  1. Who should you serve?
  2. What services do you need to provide that your customers can use?
  3. How should you measure your value?
  4. How should you provide services?
  5. How should you organize around these services?
By evaluating your organization from these two perspectives, using the same essential list of queries, you can uncover opportunities for improvement. Don't rest of what you do today; always look to how IT can better serve the campus. Aim not just for today's needs but for what you will need five years from now. From there, build a workplan for your organization to get you there.

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