The Lean IT motto “more with less” has often been misunderstood. The cost pressure in IT departments is extreme but it does not mean that the solution is in running faster year by year without changing anything. The waste-fighting engine of Lean IT has been supercharged with the advent of virtualization and cloud and helps running smarter! With the Lean IT concept you can reduce waste, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve business processes like never before.
Lean IT has proven helpful in moving in the direction of greater value. Research shows that many global companies have employed Lean IT concepts to free up 20% to 30% of IT capacity by streamlining IT processes, automating routine functions, and eliminating redundancy .
Lean IT identifies eight types of process waste as shown in the figure below and I have added some examples from my practical experience to show you the potential that is behind of each of the 8 waste types. If you like to learn the waste types by heart there is a good mnemonic aid: just take the first letters clockwisely beginning at 12 o’clock.
IT organizations need to overcome the silos as shown in the “labor-intensive operations” area below. You see their problem like under a magnifying glass if you are a manager on duty in a business critical situation. It is like the Tower of Babel: The network admins are talking in IP-Addresses, the server guys in hostnames and the SAP admins have their “SIDs” and the full responsibility without enough insights into the infrastructure.
So it is all about people, processes and technology (in this order)! What can we learn from the best IT organizations?
- Their organisation changed to reflect cloud service delivery
- They have a board-sponsored formal cloud transformation programme
- People from all departments sit together and work on the 8 Types of Waste
- They have great people with capabilities to slip into the shoes of their colleagues in other departments
This is the key to break the vicious circle and will let you run smarter – try it out!
Roger Roberts, Hugo Sarrazin, Johnson Sikes: Reshaping IT Management for Turbulent Times, McKinsey Quarterly, December 2010