I have only just realised that I have recently passed my 30 year anniversary of working in the IT Industry, making me somewhat ‘mature’ in this world…
A lot has happened in those thirty years. Mainly, everything has got faster, smaller, cheaper (relatively). Or, as Daft Punk would have it, harder, better, faster, stronger… see, even us IT ‘oldies can be young at heart!
One of the most critical changes, though, has been with data (and I use the word on purpose rather than ‘information’). It’s not only the amount of data that is available to us but how easy it is to access no matter where we are. The “digital transformation” is quite clearly the phenomena of our lifetime.
I haven’t worked for a lot of different organisations in my career. Royal Mail and CSC were my two longest I have served, and of course both of these organisations underwent various degrees of transformation during my time. However, the creation of DXC is different, and certainly the most significant transformation I have been involved with.
It really is different….
It can be sometimes a little difficult to interest government and commercial colleagues and clients in corporate transformations – not only are they becoming quite frequent but it can be hard to see what the real difference is going to be when its inward focused. However, the creation of DXC is different. Right from the start, and right from our CEO, Mike Lawrie, the tag line for DXC is “digital transformation” – and helping our customers navigate their digital transformation. Key to this is the approach that has emphasised an “only the best bits” approach to merging two organisations.Without putting specific percentages or numbers, it is interesting to see the legacy HPES and CSC capabilities that either been taken forward into the new organisation or quite unceremoniously dropped from use. These changes are not easy and there are often unexpected casualties , but it has been in pursuit of creating a new operating model that is right for the time.
The other key theme which resonates a lot with me is how the change is being implemented. On the one hand, there is a big-bang approach – certainly from a launch, brand, senior management structure and share dealing, this was all planned and implemented on launch day itself. However on the other, this is very much a measured transition to merge two organisations together without adversely affecting client delivery. At a client level, or even at an architecture design and principle level, it is being very sensitive to how things have been done before and ensuring that any changes are positively executed.
New model, fewer offerings… it’s a good thing
The new operating model is easy to understand. There are three tenants: build, sell and deliver. The whole organisation is structured around this (there is a fourth group which deals with internal IT and processes; something that is equally important to get right). Behind the three dimensions are then “offerings”. This is where I suspect most incumbent employees from both CSC and HPES could see a need for change,. Both organisations have suffered in the past from either over enthusiastic product managers or over ambitious delivery managers. As a result, both had simply too many offerings that created confusion and complexity.
So, in DXC it has been simplified into 9 offering groups
Cloud and Workload
Enterprise and Cloud applications
Workplace and mobility
Business Process Services
Industry Solutions and Services
And within this the total number of offerings to be 84 (as opposed to a combined total of 500 from the two former organisations).
What I find even more encouraging is that, right from the start, the company management is focussed on ensuring that all information available for DXC people to talk to their customers, suppliers and partners. (A great example of this is a mandatory suite of training called “Spartans White Belt” which delivers familiarity with all the offerings, so that everyone is starting from a consistent set of information.
From a Technology capability perspective, there is no doubt that an organisation like DXC with the workforce it has, there is a significant challenge to ensure it is skilled correctly; across the entire solution lifecycle. One area the two organisations are coming from differently, is that CSC consistently retained its Technology Independence, which is DXC’s mantra as well, whereas the HPES employees clearly had a different approach under the HP banner. Retaining Technology Independence, is to me one of the core principles of our organisation but let’s not forget that this creates its own challenges both in terms of keeping up with the myriad of different solutions that are developed, working through who are the right partner organisations and of course ensuring it doesn’t become a patchwork kilt of best of breed with significant integration challenges. Coupled with Technology Independence; DXC specifically sites, World Class Talent, and Clear and Confident Vision as its core differentiator in the market
Talent development has always been a personal passion of mine, both for my own career but more importantly to ensure the people I work with have the very best opportunities to grow. This is an example of an area, which is going to managed, not as a big bang, but by working through what the two organisations can bring to the party. As an example, from the often emotive topic of job titling, we are having a proper discussion about the roles of CTO, Chief Technology, Chief Architect, Enterprise Architect etc., etc. While this might seem a relatively superficial issue, in fact it is at the core of ensuring the right people are doing the right job in the right place and there is consistency. Watch out for more in this space…
Walking the talk…
The DXC credentials are impressive on paper – 8.5 million devices managed, 3500 data scientists, 1000+ AWS professionals, 800+ managed cloud clients etc etc. However, even more important is our approach to the challenges any organisation has in terms of managing people and managing change. Chris Swan, VP&CTO in DXC’s Delivery organisation recently posted his perspective on this issue (http://blog.thestateofme.com/2017/04/04/goodbye-csc-hello-dxc-technology/). In this piece, he referenced Google’s research into how successful teams are created and maintained. The full article is here (https://rework.withgoogle.com/blog/five-keys-to-a-successful-google-team/). Some of the key points from it that I found most encouraging include:
Psychological safety: Team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other This is often sited as the most critical of areas primarily because most people are quite reluctant to do things that could negatively influence how others perceive their ability. This is heightened even more when organisations are going through staff reduction exercises and cut backs. A really good working practice that promotes this is at the beginning of each meeting, every team member is asked what risk they have taken
Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?
Structure & clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?
Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?
Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?
As always, there is a high degree of “bleeding obvious” about these statements. And, as we all know, executing them can be really challenging. But I do think the bar has been set high for all DXC’s people in terms of “walking the talk”, so to speak. That’s why I am very excited about DXC and what it means to all of us.