In my last post1 I mentioned that I was going to make a pitch about the UK Government Shared Services Strategy2 at UKGovCamp. In the end I didn’t need to pitch as @lexij got there first with a great title: The Shared Services Strategy - OMG! Let’s fix it. This post is a personal reflection on what was discussed but the raw notes from the session are also available online3. Blog post: Will shared services ever work? ↩ UK Government Shared Services Strategy ↩ Raw notes from the UK Gov Camp shared services session ↩
Last week the UK Government launched a new strategy for shared business services (common things such as finance and human resources). The general reaction seemed to be quite negative, at least in my filter bubble. Most of the criticisms are probably reasonable but that may be because there are so few examples of sharing successfully at this scale in other countries or sectors. I am hoping to join a discussion about all this at UKGovCamp at the weekend and some in Government are keen to hear what campers think. Now that would be really helpful. I can't go but would be really grateful if you could raise this.— Liam Maxwell (@liammax) January 14, 2018 In the meantime here are some potential challenges and responses to consider. Most of these are relevant for sharing business services in any sector.
If you can only spare 30 seconds skip to the test at the end of this blog post. During the recent ransomware crisis it was quite understandable for people to be upset about disruption to businesses and public services. It is also understandable that leaders of these organisations rushed to announce actions to make their systems secure. This is all understandable but, in some ways, it is also naive. More cyber-attacks will come and will cause more damage than we have seen so far. We need to take a more nuanced look at the problems and some practical responses.
I gave a presentation at the recent British Computer Society (BCS) Enterprise Architecture Conference. A replay of the talk is available and this post is an outline of the main points. Over the last few years I have worked with many architects and quite a few are unhappy. Executives might appreciate the efforts that go into models and designs but things move on so quickly that, often, the architect’s work does not keep pace with events or arrives too late to be useful. The architect might sadly slope away, loaded down with copies of densely packed designs which are now only good for the recycling bin, or they might become angry at being ignored. Either way, it is not a pleasant situation. I shared with the conference some ideas about why this is happening and offered some suggestions of how to respond.
I recently read a really nice post by Drew Firment (thanks go to Chis Swan for sharing it). Drew’s article reminded me of some patterns I have seen in big transformations - most recently in my digital transformation work but also in the earlier rounds of change we called internet- or electronic-business transformation. This post is a first attempt at making these patterns explicit, initially so I can use them in my own work. It would be great to get your feedback if you think they will help you too. Lots of other people have already been trying to make sense of this area through frameworks, maturity models, life-cycles and other models. I have started to collect a list of some of these at the end of this post and they are worth reviewing as well.