As a baseline, optimization projects for client computing have typically yielded 10% to 20% continuous process improvement over a 3 year period. I base this figure on the actual number of studied delivered in the past 4 to 5 years. But first, the disclaimer:
The opinions expressed in this blog are mine and do not represent those of my employer.
Continuous process improvement is, simply put, delivering the business as usual environment in a more efficient manner. Continuous process improvement is a matter of policy, process, procedure and governance. Granted, these may not seem overly exciting, but delivering this level of improvement is fundamental. The alternatives include reducing the labor to deliver these elements, which is not desirable.
The landscape has changed a bit from continuous process improvement deliverables. In the past, the result was exclusively how to reduce to IT budget itself. Now many businesses expand the initiative to include financial impact across the entire enterprise. Energy management is an example of this expansion.
Despite the experience of the 10% to 20% range of improvements, businesses still was the "home run". Cloud computing, virtualization, and consumerization represent these forward thinking strategies.
Given that there are limited staffing to deliver projects, the question becomes one of priority. Does a business decide to optimize or to innovate?
What does your business think and do?
Interestingly, businesses seem to believe that optimization and innovation are somewhat mutually exclusive. My opinion is that both teams (if in fact there are two different teams) compete with each other. This likely does not bode well for improving the processes since it forces a choosing of "sides" and agendas.
In client lifecycle management, the weaker the practice levels, the better the improvement. It is also true that the weaker the practice level, the more beneficial the innovation. If you business retains desktops for 5 years (or more) then we should be having the virtualization discussion. However, we still should be discussing refresh and optimization. However, this is becoming a more binary conversation.
My opinion remains that a business should always have a rolling continuous process improvement plan. There will be an ROI tipping point where the economics or business case will lead comfortably to innovation.
As a point of interest, here is a short listing of potential continuous process improvements just as examples (the actual list can fill a book):
- self help
- energy management
- software rationalization
- user segmentation
- self deployment
- remote services (out tasking and out sourcing)
- locked down desktop
A corollary opinion is that a business should always be seeking the innovation or step change (the greater then 20% improvement). Here are some representative examples:
- PC as a service
In many industries, it may not be solely about economics. Security, access, remote capabilities, leveraging technologies in place and such carry more than sufficient weight to bring about change.
Optimization and innovation are not mutually exclusive unless we make it so.