The Value Discovery Service is one of the Value Realization services that we mentioned in our earlier post, Welcome to the Value Realization Blog.

Many large enterprises, given the complexity of their business environment, operating model, and IT infrastructure find it difficult to visualize how best to use IT to achieve business goals of agility, cost-effectiveness, stronger customer relations, relevance, competitiveness, and, ultimately, improved shareholder value.

The Value Discovery Service helps to create consensus between business and IT stakeholders on what IT-enabled initiatives should be prioritized to generate the greatest business value and create desired capabilities within the organization.

Overview of the Value Discovery Service

When performing the Value Discovery Service, an Enterprise Architect and team first identify initial ideas and leads about the business’ priorities, tactics, and relevant scenarios that will likely deliver value to the business. These value-delivering scenarios are referred to as “hypotheses.” The Enterprise Architect then tests these hypotheses with business and IT stakeholders in the context of a one-day workshop, further developing scenarios, translating them into possible IT initiatives, and determining the priority of these initiatives.

Objectives

The Value Discovery Service:

  • Engages business and IT stakeholders to identify and prioritize IT initiatives best aligned to business priorities and offering the greatest business impact
  • Helps customer and Microsoft to select jointly those priority initiatives where Microsoft could best support customer’s business objectives and deliver the most value

Outcomes

The Value Discovery Service can explore a single initiative, or many initiatives in which an enterprise is interested. The service produces a mutually agreed upon prioritized list of opportunities described by scenarios and value estimates, and provides recommendations about possible Microsoft’s involvement to maximize value.

Deliverables

A Summary Report documenting (i) the prioritized list of initiatives agreed upon by business and IT stakeholders at the workshop (with rationale), and (ii) initiative overviews describing initiatives’ objectives, future capability vision, key business/technology/people changes required, and value estimates.

WHY

Through the Value Discovery Service enterprises obtain:

  • Alignment of business and IT priorities
  • Understanding of business outcomes and high-level value estimates
  • Fast, interactive, and collaborative initiative exploration process
  • Consensus between business and IT stakeholders on well-qualified programs of change
  • Clarity around specific resource requirements in conjunction with Microsoft-driven initiatives
  • Proof of Microsoft capabilities with minimal investment of customer time
  • Clear understanding of the value that Microsoft can deliver

HOW

Using information obtained from the enterprise, and expertise and proven practices from Microsoft, we:

  • Define initial hypotheses for impactful scenarios and expected value. Prepare materials to facilitate hypotheses evaluation, including approach to prioritization (factors/criteria).
  • Validate hypotheses for scenarios and value with business and IT stakeholders (typically in a workshop environment). Define IT-enabled initiatives to realize priority scenarios. Build consensus around short-listed scenarios/initiatives.
  • Document the outcomes of the workshop in a Summary report.

Example

Bank X has participated in mergers and acquisitions to increase their client base and portfolio of offerings. Over time the systems at the bank had become overly complex, with much duplication.

The bank decided to rationalize, simplify, and standardize its IT environment, but needed to define a way for implementing this change. The Value Discovery service from Microsoft helped to formulate and evaluate the possible approaches:

  • Optimize for maximum value: Undertake transformation initiatives starting with the most impactful business scenarios in order to maximize value generation.
  • Optimize for minimum risk: Start transformation in the non-revenue-generating units and then gradually scale across the organization as change management capability improved.
  • Optimize for minimum disruption: Execute transformation as a series of small iterative changes (“mini architectures” vs “big bang”).
  • Optimize for ease of execution & maintenance: “Buy, not build; configure, not customize” as the main criteria for selecting specific solutions.

Not surprisingly, the final answer chosen by the bank mixed the approaches, but evaluating them initially in their pure form helped the stakeholders to crystallize their priorities, make the trade-offs, and build consensus.