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Commentary : McKinsey's Five Core IT Shifts

I recently read McKinsey & Co’s article on IT agility and thought some of their points mirrored the ways we’ve seen Laserfiche implemented, used, and scaled among our client base. Here’s a link, “The Five Core IT Shifts of Scaled Agile Organizations.”

While McKinsey’s reputation has suffered from scandals over the last few years, they produce some thoughtful content and, from aggregating information from their entire customer base, are pretty good at IT trend spotting. The five core IT shift areas are: collaboration, application and services, sourcing and people, delivery process, and infrastructure. Let’s review them one by one:

  • Collaboration- McKinsey notes that IT has morphed from centralized services to “cross-functional units, co-managed by business and IT leads.” This tracks what we’ve seen over the past two years with IT staff embedded into business units and named business analysts. Agencies are decentralizing the tech stack into the business unit that uses it the most. For example, Laserfiche is likely owned by a city clerk or records manager.

  • Applications and services- Business technology is owned by the appropriate business unit. Our client, the City of La Quinta’s Clerk, owns, supports, and fosters Laserfiche’s usage in the city. Here’s a video of the webinar we conducted with them. Monika, their clerk, mentions that she sells Laserfiche’s functionality to other departments. If finance needs a document-driven process, the clerk’s office creates the workflow and project managing the effort.

  • Sourcing and people-McKinsey explains that IT has been primarily outsourced because of the advent of the cloud. However, today’s agency IT teams are mainly staffed with employees. McKinsey envisions a DevOps environment with continuous releases. This particular core shift is where McKinsey and I part ways. Are there agency IT departments rolling out releases? Sure, there are. Are they practicing continuous releases? No. There are too many other duties and projects to accomplish, and I don’t see them staffing multiple developers. That’s why agencies partner with CPS. We have a deep bench of development experience.

  • Delivery process- Based on their continuous delivery theory, McKinsey predicts a single IT department delivering thousands of micro-releases a year. This theory is impractical for any organization that isn’t a multinational corporation. I believe in Agile as much as the next person, but it would be challenging to implement on this scale.

  • Infrastructure- Most IT departments have servers and hardware in-house. Depending on regulations, it may not be possible to house servers and contents in other geographies. While agencies are encouraged to procure ‘cloud-first, ECM may be better suited to on-premise. McKinsey predicts organizations will migrate their entire stack to the cloud to provide licensing at scale.

Overall, McKinsey has some interesting ideas about building on a company's efforts in addressing enterprise agility. However, to achieve these goals, the company would need to be highly IT-driven with a technical and business-savvy CIO leading the charge. For most organizations, this path isn’t feasible But let us not throw the Agile baby out with the bathwater. Companies with IT bandwidth to spare should consider implementing the core shifts of collaboration, applications, and services.



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