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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'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.

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  Six Sigma
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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, 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:

  • FAQ: How does the Six Sigma methodology benefit IT?
    The Six Sigma methodology has helped companies improve customer service and eliminate errors for years. Learn how IT can reap the benefits of this service-driven methodology.
  • How Lean Six Sigma strategy can pave the way to lean government
    Lean Six Sigma isn't just for manufacturing anymore. In this podcast, learn how governments are adopting the strategy.
  Balanced Scorecard
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Robert Kaplan, Harvard Business School professor and co-creator of the Balanced Scorecard, spoke with 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
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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.
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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:

  • The fundamentals of launching an IT service catalog
    The IT service catalog is a linchpin of ITSM, but is hard to create and manage. Here an expert advises where to begin, what to avoid and why CIOs should make a catalog a priority.
  • Getting clarity on the ITIL framework from ITIL's chief architect
    Some 30 years after it began, the ITIL framework can still furrow the brow. Where do you start? Can you choose between V2 and V3? We get some clarity from two ITIL experts.

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