Focus on driving outcome-based delivery
Changes in customer behaviour, increasing business competition and the speed of technological change, means IT leaders are rethinking their IT strategies. Businesses want IT to deliver specific outcomes rather than the status quo and are distinguishing between Service Outputs and Service Outcomes.
So, what is the difference between them?
Service Outputs are the services delivered by an IT provider to an end-user. This is the typical IT service model of service delivery.
Service Outcomes are the effects obtained by an end-user in using those services. We are particularly interested here in how the output from the services influences and drives a series of outcomes for the end-user, that adds significant business value.
If this sounds too theoretical. Let’s talk real world.
IT service provision has been historically focused on the delivery of service outputs. Take email as an example. The output is that the email system is available to your users; that they can compose; send and receive emails and there is a way for the emails to be stored and potentially searched.
Today, business users want a seamless experience across their MS Office suite. Complete integration between email, SharePoint sites, file sharing, and Teams communication. This is the outcome the users want.
“Outputs vs. Outcomes, who cares” is an expression we have heard from some IT teams more than once. However, the distinction, understanding, and distinction between these two concepts is critical to deliver the new generation of outcome focused experiences that make IT a success. Mediocre IT organisations are stuck on making IT services available based on outputs. Great IT organisations are designing services to deliver business value focused outcomes.
To help gauge whether you are delivering Outputs or Outcomes, try answering the questions below:
- Do the business users feel that their IT experience matches their business needs?
- Does the business feel that IT is delivering significant business value?
We believe that business value is only derived through delivering outcomes. The best way to deliver outcomes is to influence the three main elements underpinning those outcomes; People, Technology and Process. Just influencing only one or two of these elements will not deliver the required outcomes, and are likely to limit the amount of business value derived.
You need to think about the following aspects to achieve the desired business outcomes.
- People are an organisation’s most important asset. Changing the way they work is difficult and time-consuming without the right business change approach.
- Process brings standards and consistency to an organisation. It also details new ways of working and using technology.
- New technology is a significant investment, often in the millions of pounds. However, it is wasted if you do not design the processes to allow its operation, and change the behaviour of the people to adopt its use.
- Implementing new Technology and Process without changing peoples behaviours and the associated culture leads to a lack of adoption or commitment to deliver the outcomes. Even if you provide training, you will lose value if there are no consistent methodologies to maximise the new capability.
When it comes to deciphering outputs vs. outcomes, you can start today by measuring the impact of your IT organisation by following these steps:
- Describe the outcomes you want to achieve as part of the service or technology provision in business terms, not just “IT speak”.
- Confirm that your desired outcomes are achievable. In other words, ensure that it is reasonable to expect your desired outcomes to be achieved based on your transformation activities to being in the new service or technology.
- Turn the outcomes into quantitative measures that you can track.
- Implement these measures and track them over time as the service or technology goes live
- Demonstrate and increase your success because you have the data to confidently and appropriately communicate your impact and value of the business outcomes.
Do you want to go beyond outputs and start delivering IT outcomes? Do you need help defining and establishing your IT outcomes? Here at MDB Service Consulting, we have worked with IT organisations to help them define what business focused outcomes they want to deliver; how to go about defining these outcomes and the business benefits that will occur. Get in touch to find out more.
Mike BraithwaiteManaging Director at MDB SERVICE CONSULTING LIMITED and ANTARES AUTOMATION LIMITED