Process improvement methodologies guide for CIOs

Learn how to understand and evaluate process improvement methodologies with the tips and resources in this guide, covering Six Sigma, Balanced Scorecard and other processes.

In today's economy, CIOs are under more pressure than ever to demonstrate the business value enabled by their technology investments. Many IT and business executives turn to process improvement methodologies such as Six Sigma and Balanced Scorecard, to measure and continually improve the performance of their investments and initiatives.

This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of the topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefings section.

Table of contents

  Six Sigma
  Table of Contents

Six Sigma is all about meeting the needs of the customer, eliminating defects and improving the quality of processes, with metrics to show progress. Using Six Sigma in conjunction with the ITIL framework, companies can more effectively achieve the long-term goal of ITIL -- continual service improvement -- and deliver better service to the end customer.

"Six Sigma is all about the outcomes," said Gary Gack, owner and principal consultant of Process-Fusion.net, a consulting and training company. "The tendency of ITIL is to say, 'Build it and they will come and things will get better.' Six [Sigma] focuses on the outcome and can show measurable benefits sooner."

Learn more in "Complementing your ITIL framework with other process methodologies.” Also:

  Balanced Scorecard
  Table of Contents

Robert Kaplan, Harvard Business School professor and co-creator of the Balanced Scorecard, spoke with SearchCIO.com News Director Christina Torode about strategy execution. His most recent book, The Execution Premium, focuses on linking strategy to operations and developing an overarching management system to sustain strategy execution. In this first part of a two-part interview, he explains how CIOs can align IT strategy with corporate objectives and demonstrate the business value of IT.

Find out more in "Balanced scorecard founder on the business value of IT.” Also:

  Lean IT
  Table of Contents

What's the big deal about IT innovation? IT executives have been doing more with the technology their companies already own for a long time now, said senior executives at the recent Gartner CIO Leadership Forum, where the latest buzz was around lean operations to eliminate waste in IT and thereby add value to the business.

That's the approach Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. took by engaging software services provider Wipro Ltd. to help it gain process efficiencies in such areas as application development and maintenance. Wipro, in India, was an early adopter of the lean operations methods pioneered by Toyota Motor Corp. in Japan for manufacturing automobiles.

Learn more in "Nationwide Mutual Insurance saves $2 million through lean operations.” Also:

  • Tips for developing a lean integration strategy
    This excerpt from Lean Integration: An Integration Factory Approach to Business Agility, offers seven lean integration principles and the skills needed to make them work.
  • FAQ: Lean thinking for IT
    Lean thinking is the process of incorporating Lean principles into an enterprise. This FAQ shows how Lean thinking works and how IT is benefiting from this improvement methodology.
  ITIL and ITSM
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The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of processes and standards to help enterprise organizations practice effective IT Service Management (ITSM). Companies employ ITSM and ITIL best practices to achieve business process improvement, cut costs and improve efficiencies within the organization.

To be more productive, many enterprises are now combining ITSM and ITIL processes with other methodologies, such as Lean IT, Six Sigma, ISO 20000 and project and portfolio management (PPM). In this guide, learn about ITSM and ITIL processes and best practices, using our FAQs, news, tips, expert advice and case studies on organizations that have used these frameworks effectively.

Find out more in "ITIL and ITSM best practices for process improvement.” Also:

This was first published in April 2011

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