Category Archives: Technology Services

The Panama Papers – a Symbol of True Digital Disruption

The word disruption is used so very often it has almost lost its power. But there are times the world is genuinely disrupted, and on a global scale.

The current Panama Papers’ scandal is a symptom of one such disruption. It is extraordinary in its scale and global reach. It demonstrates the insecurities of our digital society, the almost-death of privacy, and indeed issues with the way our connected world is governed.

A Prime Minister Resigns

At the time of writing, the scandal has claimed its first major victim with the resignation of Iceland’s embattled prime minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. The UK Guardian said:

“A mass protest planned in Reykjavik later … turned to celebration as Icelanders vented their anger at the outgoing prime minister following revelations that he had once owned – and his wife still owns – a secret offshore investment company with multimillion-pound claims on Iceland’s failed banks.”  

This is an event likely to lead to new elections that may change the face of Icelandic politics.


Global Impact

Other threads of the emerging story link the papers to Chinese and Russian leadership, FIFA’s new president Gianni Infantino, and the father of the British Prime Minister David Cameron. Another connects billions of dollars of foreign funds to London property, exacerbating concerns about affordability for the young.  There are implications and investigations across Africa, Austria, France, Italy, Australia and New Zealand. 

 President Obama made the following observation, highlighting some of the systemic issues the scandal illuminates:  

“We’ve had another reminder in this big dump of data coming out of Panama that tax avoidance is a big, global problem. It’s not unique to other countries because, frankly, there are folks here in America who are taking advantage of the same stuff. A lot of it is legal, but that’s exactly the problem. It’s not that they’re breaking the laws, it’s that the laws are so poorly designed that they allow people, if they’ve got enough lawyers and enough accountants, to wiggle out of responsibilities that ordinary citizens are having to abide by.”

The Source 

The Panama Papers consist of 11.5m documents created across a period of four decades that describe the details of 214,000 entities. These were leaked from a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca, passed to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The analysis has been undertaken by journalists from 107 media organizations in 76 countries – connecting the BBC, the Guardian, the Washington Post, El Pais and many more giants of media. The scale of the leak is breathtakingly gigantic, consisting of 2,600 Gb of data compared with around 1.7 Gb for the 2010 Wikileaks event.


How this particular saga will play out is unpredictable. The sheer scale of the data released means we are in for turbulence in certain parts of the world, and privileged parts at that. It is a journalist’s dream. But there are some intriguing general themes here that are already visible, and of relevance to many enterprises.

Digital Insecurity, Digital Trust

Trust_(466709245)Digital tech has made the world insecure in an utterly fundamental sense. In the case of the Panama Papers, a very bright light has been shone into dark places. But of course, data leaks are not always for noble purpose.

Data for every member of a country’s population can be easily held on a small single device. Another recent event was the apparent illegal release of data for a huge section of the Turkish population. Information including names, birth dates, national id numbers, addresses, and parent names were posted online in a downloadable 6.6 Gb file. This looks like one of the biggest public leaks of personal data ever and one that puts maybe the majority of the country’s population at risk of identity theft. 

 Another example: a group of cyber-fraudsters researched the the internal processes of Bangladesh’s central bank, then – using that information – posed as officials to request a series of transfers to illicit accounts which approached $1 billion in value. The scale of the transactions, coupled with a spelling mistake in a name noticed by Deutsche Bank, halted the fraud but not before around $80m was lost – essentially one of the biggest known bank robberies in history

 Technology is the friend and enabler of the committed politically-driven leaker or equally committed cyber-criminal. For better or for worse, it is possible for an individual or small group to shake the foundations of a business, of a nation and of a global system. 

 The implication of this for enterprises and individuals is profound in the long-term. It will be better to start in the right place, and operate with public values and transparency as far as humanly possible. Where security and privacy do matter – few would want to be transparent about their credit card numbers for example – then the creation of true digital trust, using technologies like block-chain, becomes one of the key challenges of future business. And every organization will need to treat transparency, values and security as connected C-level issues.

Digital trust will be as important to modern capitalism as the invention of double-entry book-keeping was at its birth. 

 The High Velocity of Crisis

The velocity of the news cycle becomes ever more gruelling. The Icelandic and UK governments are facing major crises within hours and days of disclosures of overwhelming volume. In the specific case of the Panama Papers, corporates like HSBC are also caught in the global tsunami. Other data leaks have caused high profile issues for a long-list of other companies: Sony, Target, JP Morgan Chase, T-Mobile, Talk-Talk and many more.

In the end, responses need to fast, clear and rooted in truth, solid values, strong technical action and PR expertise to be seen as credible. Leadership everywhere will need to combine integrity, rigour and agility in the way they prepare for and deal with issues. 

The Issues of Governance in a Part-Globalised World

There are real tensions in our systems of business and political governance. The global elite and global businesses are ever more connected. Conversely, Tax systems are balanced between complex global treaties and the historic centres of gravity in national tax regimes.  Some will seek to hide their wealth through the complex system this creates. On the other hand, many expat workers will grind their teeth at the frustrating processes required to avoid double taxation. Within major corporates, tax is seen as a global issue where networks are designed – generally perfectly legally – to optimize profit. To do otherwise would be less than competitive.

But most politics is still national. In the West, there is growing democratic frustration at globalization on both left and right. (Although ironically the Panama Papers are being analyzed by a global consortium of journalists.) There is a long road ahead to balance the powers of global political and commercial networks against the needs of citizens and democratic consensus. Some would say one of our most urgent tasks is balancing the perceived privileges of the elite against a growing desire for fairness.

Globalization has driven huge benefits, and the position of the average human has improved mightily in the last half-century. We talk about this less often than we should. But there remains a lot to be done, and the leaders of any modern global enterprise need to be deeply aware of the local demands and sensitivities of their customers and stakeholders. Above, political leaders have a field of nettles to grasp to ensure a more efficient and equitable global trading system. 


What we are seeing are the growing pains of what has been called “The Second Machine” age. Digital Technology has become powerful, bringing huge benefits to consumers and producers in both the developed and developing worlds. It also brings people together in new and intensely creative ways.

Simultaneously, it creates wholly new challenges around trust, security and the why the world operates. It enables light to be shone in places long used to the dark. In the end, enterprises and leaders that focus on values, integrity, organizational resilience and rigour will thrive.

Keith Haviland is a business and technology leader, with a special focus on how to combine big vision and practical execution at the very largest scale, and how new technologies will reshape tech services. He is a former Partner and Global Senior Managing Director at Accenture, and founder of Accenture’s Global Delivery Network. Published author and active film producer, including being Co-Executive Producer on “The Last Man on the Moon”.  Advisor/investor for web and cloud-based start-ups. 

Vision + Execution = Greatness

Vision is core to good leadership, and the best management. It is the essence of successful programs, the heart of effective transformation and the engine of innovation.

It is also what teams want from their leaders. James Kouzes and Barry Posner once wrote in the Harvard Business Review:

 “Being forward-looking—envisioning exciting possibilities and enlisting others in a shared view of the future—is the attribute that most distinguishes leaders from non-leaders. We know this because we asked followers.”

The Kennedy Commitment

One of my favourite examples of how an extraordinary vision can become reality is when Kennedy promised the world, before the US had even fifteen minutes of manned spaceflight experience:  “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”
The Kennedy vision is truly remarkable because it was achieved, in full. The simple promise was turned to powerful reality by the leadership, intense focus and personal commitment of 400,000 people at peak.

Vision + Execution = Greatness

So, for me the essence of real leadership is precisely this combining of vision with the ability to execute. Another leadership thinker, Warren Bennis, once said:  “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
This is not straightforward. Many of us will have seen corporate vision or strategy documents that are strong on the Promised Land, but not the hardships and challenges of the journey to get there. Many good ideas come to grief on the cold, sharp-edged rocks of delivery.

Example: The Global Delivery Network

My own most intense experience of combining big vision and successful execution comes from building the Accenture Global Delivery Network, and, within that, its Indian Delivery Centres. Today, the company is one of the dominant players in India-based and global delivery of technology services. In hindsight, the journey seems inevitable, almost a slam-dunk. But it wasn’t always like this.We started practical work with a small core team of India leaders, Brits and Americans in late 2000, at the request of the charismatic, global head of Financial Services. He felt the intensity of coming global competition, and had the vision to take action.

This core team would become true masters of delivery and client service. They would achieve extraordinary things in their careers. (And to give credit were it is due, we were also strongly supported by experienced leaders in the US and Spain, reflecting the already global personality of the company. They would give us resources and counsel.)

Meeting in Mumbai

The initiative and initial investment was based on creation of an initial team of just 200 people. There are now 100,000s of people in the firm’s global delivery network. At the time that would have seemed to many the purest fantasy, although some of us had a glimmer of what might be possible. However, we were starting with a small step.
By the summer of 2001 had two clients and the 200 seats in the India city of Mumbai, only partially filled with people. Our initial task was getting close to completion. But we knew that our responsibility was much greater, and it was time to plan the next stage.
So in a meeting room in Mumbai, lit brightly by sunlight, we discussed want we wanted to achieve. We needed an aspirational vision but it needed to be practical, based on specific goals and achievements that we could easily communicate.

Vision on a Whiteboard

At the end of our discussion, I drew a whiteboard diagram to summarize and took a photo for future reference. I felt that it would be important, at least as a personal memento. In fact, it would years later be published in a celebration of the Indian team’s success. Although it was formalised and turned into detailed, properly costed plans, our simple whiteboard summary turned out to be a foundation stone.
The essence of this vision was what we needed to do to catalyse growth. Unlike typical start-ups, we were blessed with a vast and impressive existing channel. We needed scale and momentum, coupled with our first core offerings. We had to convince our salesforce and then our real clients we were credible in a new market. I had an instinct that once we passed that test of credibility, our growth rates would look exponential. And so it was to be. But first we had to get started.
So, the top half of the whiteboard looked like the following. (Our financial year ran from September to August, so Q1 of FY2002 starts in September 2001).

Simple Targets

This wasn’t a conventional vision or strategy. It was stripped down to a bare minimum of supply-side metrics. But it would serve its purpose. It covered the following:
  • CMM targets that refered to the 5-level Capability Maturity Model from the Software Engineering Institute located at Carnegie Mellon University. This aims to measure the quality of software delivery processes. The true value of CMM – and its descendents like CMMi – is subject to debate. However, it does require a rigorous focus on process and quality, and was essential to competing in this new market. We had to reach the highest levels of the model fast. These targets would soon evolve into a much more profound focus on offerings and industrialisation.
  • Most importantly, the diagram showed the headcount growth we wanted to achieve in the next two years – headcount would be a vital and simple metric of our progress. The goals we put down – given we were starting from scratch – were tough. We would have to keep the people we hired busy, engaged and chargeable. We were in essence already anticipating an exponential growth curve.
  • The diagram also shows our intent to move into three cities as part of building a platform for growth. Getting support for this rapid geographic expansion would not be easy, but it would provide flexibility and scalability. In fact we opened in 2002 in Bangalore, followed by Hyderabad a little later. Bangalore was destined to become a true global hub.

Building a Team

The second half of the board contained another diagram that I have also recreated below. It shows something else we realised very early on. We need a focus on building a team for the future, not simply a collection of new resources, but a group of people – a real team – who shared a strong sense of culture and common cause. Slide2-001

Communicating the Vision

We now had goals that were hard to achieve, but inspirational for our core team, easy to measure and simple to communicate. This was also fundamental. As PeterDrucker once said: “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” We needed to be able to straightforwardly tell our story and our intent to a team freshly hired, and get them to become leaders in a  long journey of transformation. We used our whiteboard goals as the anchor for that process.

Start-Up Days

Work started very practically, with the joys and stresses of any good start-up. One of team – who was destined to become a much respected Senior Managing Director – help dig the cable trenches in the tarmac outside the main building. We built our first big client meeting room the day before our first big client meeting. Recruiting was hard at first. Really hard. We hadn’t built our brand in the relevant technology talent pools. We did have a thriving local consulting practice. However, we were unknown to the people we needed for tech work. The vision helped. So did phone calls and events with candidates, their parents and families to show our intent, and the possibilities ahead. Our India leaders worked hard to sell our story, and with passion. Good people began to join us.

A Key Test

Then came a moment that I have written about before, but remains a pivot point of this slice of history. We had reached 500 people, and acquired more space. Overall, with a little difficultly, we had balanced demand and supply effectively. Our HR team had made a brilliant start. Now demand for people was increasing. We were beginning to see supply challenges. It was the start of the exponential growth curve I had expected, hoped for and feared, just a little. I asked our talented local leaders this: Although, it has taken eighteen months to grow to 500 peoplewe need to hire 500 people in the next five weeks. Can you do it? Those who have built and worked in start-ups know how hard an ask this was. And what the mood of that meeting, when a world of pain and hard work was opening up before us? It was tremendous – full of energy and laughter. They had a can-do, will-do attitude”  and were committed to the vision. They went for it. We hired many HR contractors, and arranged for virtual interviews across the globe. We created a large war room with white boards to record real-time status. And then we held interviews, thousands of times. By the end of the period they had made 526 offers to good candidates. This was a break through moment. The India team went to trounce all the targets in the initial strategy. They had a vision, they had executed well.  When we found a rare moment to reflect, we all felt we had shared in a period of great accomplishment.

Evolving the Vision

After that we adapted the vision and strategy on a six-monthly basis. It become a regular part of our process, both in India and globally. We looked ahead at our business challenges and opportunities, at what innovations were possible and what offerings would drive growth. We worked on horizons of now (immediate issues), three months, 12 months and 3-5 years. As a result, we drove higher levels of industrialisation, delivery innovation and accountability. We added a strong focus on business and industry skills. We opened in seven cities, and introduced ways of dealing with huge scale. We introduced offshore approaches to consulting and systems integration, beyond the normal outsourcing focus of global delivery. Throughout the focus remained on vision and execution.

Looking to the Future

What of the future? Global delivery models are now part of the fabric of IT services.  They are standard, and expected. However, as always, there is new opportunity on the horizon. This is not so much from fashionable digital business models. These are important,  but even more important is the systematic underlying change from an old world of devices and systems to a new universe of services and infinite sharing in the cloud. Agility becomes possible at scale in ways it never has before, and our connection with technology will be completely transformed. So, there is still plenty of scope for leadership that combines ambitious vision, and successful execution. There are still histories to be made.

Keith Haviland

Keith Haviland is a business and technology leader, with a special focus on how to combine big vision and practical execution at the very largest scale, and how new technologies will reshape tech services. He is a Former Partner and Global Senior Managing Director at Accenture, and founder of Accenture’s Global Delivery Network.  Published author and active film producer, including Last Man on the Moon. Advisor/investor for web and cloud-based start-ups.

Failure is an Option

Things will always go wrong, but excellent preparation and strong leadership can turn failure into a kind of success.

The story of Apollo13 is a parable of gritty resolve, technology excellence, calm heroism and teamwork. For anyone focused on leadership, operations and program management it is absolutely the purest of inspirations.

The film of Apollo 13 centres around the phrase Failure is Not an Option,” invented post the original drama in a conversation between Jerry Bostick – one of the great Apollo flight controllers – and the filmmakers. It summarises a key part of the culture of Apollo era NASA, and it has found its way onto the walls or desks of many a leader’s office. It is part of the DNA of modern business culture, and of any sizeable delivery project.

Damaged Apollo 13 Service Module
Damaged Apollo 13 Service Module

Lessons from the Space Program

But one of the reasons that the crew was recovered was this: throughout its history, NASA and mission control knew that failure was precisely an option, and they designed, built and tested to deal with that simple truth. The spacecraft systems had – where physically possible – redundancy. The use of a Lunar Module as a lifeboat had already been examined and analyzed before Apollo 13. In the end, a old manufacturing defect caused an electrical failure with almost catastrophic consequences. It was precisely because Mission Control was used to dealing with issues that Apollo 13 became what has been called a “successful failure” and “NASA’s finest hour.”

The ability to respond like this was hard earned. The Gemini program – sandwiched between the first tentative manned flights of Mercury, and the Apollo program that got to the moon – was designed to test the technologies and control mechanisms needed for deep space. It was a very deliberate series of steps. Almost everything that could go wrong did: fuel cells broke, an errant thruster meant that Gemini 8 was almost lost, rendezvous and docking took many attempts to get right and space walks (EVAs in NASA speak) proved much harder than anybody was expecting. And then the Apollo 1 fire – where three astronauts were actually lost on the launch pad – created a period of deep introspection, followed by much redesign and learning. In 18 months, the spacecraft was fundamentally re-engineered. The final step towards Apollo was the hardest.

But, after less than a decade of hard, hard work – NASA systems worked at a standard almost unique in human achievement.

So, with near infinite planning and rehearsal, NASA could handle issues and error with a speed and a confidence that is still remarkable. Through preparation, failure could be turned into success.

Challenges of a Life More Ordinary

All of us have faced challenges of a lesser kind in our careers. I was once responsible for a major software platform that showed real, but occasional and obscure issues the moment it went into production, expensively tested. We put together an extraordinary SWAT team. The problem seemed to be data driven, and software related and simply embarrassing. I nick-named it Freddie, after the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. It turned out to be a physical issue in wiring – which was hugely surprising and easily fixed. The software platform worked perfectly once that was resolved.

Another example: In the early days of Accenture’s India delivery centres, we had planned for redundancy and were using two major cables for data to and from the US and Europe. But although they were many kilometres apart, both went through the Mediterranean. A mighty Algerian earthquake brought great sadness to North Africa, and broke both cables. We scrambled, improvised, maintained client services, and then bought additional capacity in the Pacific. We now had a network on which the sun never set. It was a lesson in what resilience and risk management really means.

Soon enough, and much more often than not, we learnt to handle most failures and problems with fluency.  In the Accenture Global Delivery network we developed tiered recovery plans that could handle challenges with individual projects, buildings, and cities. So we were able to handle problems that – at scale – happen frequently. These included transport issues, point technology failures, political actions and much more – all without missing a single beat. Our two priorities were firstly people’s safety and well being,  and secondly client service, always in that order.

Technology – New Tools and New Risks

As technology develops, there are new tools but also new risks. On the benefit side, the Cloud brings tremendous, generally reliable compute power at increasingly low cost. Someone else has thought through service levels and availability, and invested in gigantic industrialized data centres. The cloud’s elasticity also allows smart users to side step common capacity issues during peak usage. These are huge benefits we have only just started to understand.

But even the most reliable of cloud services will suffer rare failures, and at some point a major front-page incident is inevitable. The world of hybrid clouds also brings new points of integration, and interfaces are where things often break. And agile, continuous delivery approaches means that the work of different teams must often come together quickly and – hopefully – reliably.

The recent Sony incident shows – in hugely dramatic ways – the particular risks around security and data. Our technology model has moved from programs on computers to services running in a hybrid and open world of Web and data centre. The Web reflects the overall personality of the human race – light and dark – and we have only just begun to see the long-term consequences of that in digital commerce.

Turning Failures into Success

What follows is my own summary view of those key steps required to handle the inevitably of challenges and problems. It is necessarily short.

1. Develop a Delivery Culture – Based on accountability, competence and a desire for peerless delivery and client service. Above all, there needs to be an acknowledgement that leadership and management are about both vision and managing and avoiding issues. Create plans, and then be prepared to manage the issues.

2. Understand Your Responsibilities – They will always be greater in number that you think. Some of them are general, often obvious and enshrined in law – if you employ people, handle data about humans, work in the US, work in Europe, work in India and work across borders you are surrounded by regulations. Equally importantly, the expectations with your business users or clients need to be set and mutually understood – there are many problems caused by costing one service level, and selling another. Solving a service problem might take hours or days. Solving a problem with expectations and contracts may be the work of months and years.

3. Architect and Design – Business processes and use cases (and indeed users!) need to account for failure modes. The design for technical architectures must acknowledge and deal with component and service failures – and they must be able to recover. As discussed above, cloud services can solve resilience issues by offering the benefits of large-scale, industrialised supply, but they also bring new risks around integration between old and new. Cloud brings new management challenges.

4. Automate – Automation (properly designed, properly tested) can be your friend. Automated recovery and security scripts are much less error prone than those done by people under stress. There are many automated tools and services that can help test and assess your security environment. Automated configuration management brings formal traceability – essential for the highest levels of reliability. Automated regression testing is a great tool to reduce the costs of testing in the longer term.

5. Test – Test for failure modes in both software and business process. Test at points of integration. Test around service and service failures. Test at, and beyond, a system’s capacity limits. Test security. Test recovery. Test testing.

6. Plan for Problems – Introduce a relevant level of risk management. Create plans for business continuity across technology systems and business processes. Understand what happens if a system fails, but also what happens if your team can’t get to the office, or a client declares a security issue.

7. Rehearse Invest in regular rehearsals of problem handling and recovery. Include a robust process for debriefing.

8. Anticipate and Gather Intelligence – For any undertaking of significance, understand potential issues and risks. Larger organisations will need to understand emerging security issues – from the small, technical and specific to more abstract global threats. Truly global organisations will need to sometimes understand patterns of weather – for example: to determine if transport systems are at threat. (I even once developed personal expertise in seismic science and volcanism.)

9. Respond – But finally acknowledge that there will be major issues that will happen, and such issues will often be unexpected. So, a team must focus on:

  • Simply accepting accountability, focusing on resolution and accepting the short-term personal consequences. It is what you are paid for.
  • Setting-up a management structure for the crisis, and trigger relevant business continuity plans
  • Setting up an expert SWAT team, including what is needed from suppliers.
  • How to report diagnosis and resolution – be accurate, be simple, avoid false optimism and be frequent
  • How to communicate with stakeholders in a way that balances information flow and the need for a core team to focus on resolution
  • How to handle media, if you are providing a public service
  • And after the problem is solved and the coffee machine is temporarily retired, how does the team learn

And finally a Toast …

In previous articles, I have acknowledged the Masters of Delivery I have come across in my varied career.

In this domain covered by this article, I have worked with people in roles such as“Global Asset Protection”, “Chief Information Security Officer” and teams across the world responsible for business continuity, security and engineering reliable cloud services. They work on the kind of activity that often goes unacknowledged when things go well – but in the emerging distributed and open future technology world, they are all essential. To me, these are unsung “Masters of Delivery.” Given this is the start of 2015, let’s raise a virtual glass in celebration of their work. We all benefit by it.

Keith Haviland

This is a longer version of an article originally posted on linkedin.  Keith Haviland is a business and technology leader, with a special focus on how to combine big vision and practical execution at the very largest scale, and how new technologies will reshape tech services. He is a Former Partner and Global Senior Managing Director at Accenture, and founder of Accenture’s Global Delivery Network. Published author and active film producer, including Last Man on the Moon. Advisor/investor for web and cloud-based start-ups.

The Bifurcation of Technology and the Revolution in the IT Industry

Sometimes people start to use a phrase or word that captures a moment of change. You hear friends and colleagues using it, and it starts to crop up in the media. One such example I’ve heard several times in the last few weeks is bifurcation, as a dry shorthand for the current momentous transformation in IT and IT services. The trends I noted in an article (here) in the summer are accelerating, and fast.

A recent, excellent article in the Economist covers this well. The bifurcation is the dual-track nature of growth in IT. Services and products related to mobile and cloud are expanding, and sometimes with extraordinary growth rates. Conversely, traditional IT sectors are growing slowly or even shrinking”. The sectors under pressure include most types of hardware, traditional enterprise software, and classical IT services.

The combination of the differential growth characteristics means the IT industry overall is showing modest growth. The Economist quotes a number of 3% overall. Other commentators will give numbers even closer to zero. It is a challenging environment.

One result of this is the beginning of significant change in the corporate structures of IT suppliers. Larger companies are acquiring faster-growing companies. That is the usual cycle. More profoundly, some large companies will radically reshape themselves. As the Economist describes “HP’s recent decision to break itself up was merely the opening shot … Others will shed businesses that have become commoditised …IBM announced that it will pay Globalfoundries, a contract chipmaker, to take its semiconductor business off its hands.”

The changes in technology driving these changes in business are very real. Over the last 20 years, the relentless increase in available compute power, network bandwidth and storage capacity has moved us to a world where a wide variety of very powerful devices – not always operated by people, but increasing by other machines – can connect reliably to remote services of increasing breadth and sophistication.

And what this means is that such services can potentially take advantage of real economies of scale, and can be built and provided to the entirety of the universe of consumers and business with an ease that a generation ago would have seemed startling.

A new underlying industry architecture for software is forming. It includes a complex infrastructure layer that provides cloud services, which itself faces real change as the concepts of commoditized data centre and commoditized server becomes blurred. It includes a complex range of platform options that link humans and their devices to apps and cloud services. The architecture is crowned by applications and functional services – and it is the richness of these that will accelerate the change in IT. Importantly for established businesses, there is an explicit need to add an integration layer to the architecture – since we are on a decade-long transformation, and the interfaces with legacy systems will be key concerns. Overall, the concepts of Infrastructure-as-as-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) introduced by Gartner have served us well, but need refreshing as this form of architecture becomes dominant.

These changes in architecture also change the expectations for the delivery of software and services. New companies especially want their back-end support systems to be easily, immediately and cheaply available, and provided as elastic services that will grow with them. They do not seek uniqueness or differentiation here. Instead, they want innovation and rapid development of those services that face their customers. More generally, monolithic applications are being replaced by systems of services. This brings more architectural complexity, but it allows development to be parallelized and – if well managed – delivered in much more agile ways.

There are obvious dangers here for the providers of IT services (and you can include IT departments under this heading) who are sometimes surprisingly disinterested in the way they deliver their technology services, although this is often what clients are buying.

For example: a typical feature of large companies is operator dominance where a focus on cost becomes primary – growth in a changing world is much harder and requires fortitude. Taken to excess, the focus becomes optimization of legacy services, and too much focus on tools such as global delivery – wonderful as part of a toolkit, but most effective in combination with client-facing services that bring new technology opportunity into the heart of businesses. Indeed, the best India-based IT providers realize exactly that, and understand that conventional outsourcing now has a limited shelf life.

Another sign of dysfunctional effects are mash-ups of old and new which resemble failed experiments in genetic engineering. We all know of large projects where agile approaches have been introduced at too large a scale to deal with mad schedules, and client and suppliers try to handle this with conventional procurement approaches. Fixed-price contracts and flexible iteration can be unlikely bedfellows.

But real, sun-bright opportunity at scale also exists. An eco-system of service providers has appeared around the dynamic and fast-growing company Salesforce. Salesforce transaction volumes are in 9 figures daily, and much of these are via their platform technologies, showing people are building their own apps around its Software-as-a-Service core.

Another positive example:  I have come across one agile based company that hires the very best developers – aspiring for the top 1% – and undertakes only small projects with direct and strong business support. It seems to genuinely deliver the benefits of agile approaches, with great reliability. This emphasizes to me a coming focus on skills and expertise that can marry client need and the power of new tech. Like all times of change, smart tech-savvy people who understand clients and can integrate complexity will be at a premium.

And the growth rates of many larger consultancies are respectable, or simply plain good – reflecting client needs for advice and support in their transformations.

So, as always I end very optimistically. There are new opportunities for those technology service providers who can develop architectures and architects for the new world, and who can create app and tech services that can be reused across their clients. Good companies of the future will get to grips with better, more nimble ways of integrating, assembling and crafting solutions for clients as systems of services. They will invest in building the new skills and high-end expertise for 21st century delivery – both close to clients and in their global centres. They will create new types of career, and new types of personal opportunity.

I will be writing about these positive trends in future articles. Stay tuned.

Keith Haviland is a business and technology leader, with a special focus on how to combine big vision and practical execution at the very largest scale, and how new technologies will reshape tech services.
He is a Former Partner and Global Senior Managing Director at Accenture, and founder of Accenture’s Global Delivery Network.
Published author and active film producer, including Last Man on the Moon. Advisor/investor for web and cloud-based start-ups.

Masters of Delivery, Episode 2 : Ten Commandments for Successful Program Delivery

This article provides guidance for those leading or working in a large program. Its original name was WB and the Tablets of Stone until I went for something more directly informative. We’ll see why in a moment.

Let’s introduce WB first.

WB is another Master of Delivery I am privileged to know – a natural results-driven program manager, who can instinctively drive the largest projects and programs to completion. He has a flair for action, for handling scale and a gritty humour. He is a kind of Indiana Jones or Hans Solo of program management. So, in a galaxy a not so long time ago …


We faced two years of hard work on a major program across much innovative software development, and data conversion of records covering the activities of millions of people. This would be followed by re-casting business processes from customer billing to how a set of large call centres operated. As many will know, a large call centre quickly goes off the rails with any system problem. Even with good fallback procedures, work queues can build rapidly and customers will hang on the phone for what seems like interminable periods.

In short, the new system would drive almost the entirety of our client’s business. It was high risk. And to create and deploy it, we would assemble a large team – around 400 at peak – across technologists, business people, operations and executives. It was a team of teams.

Defining Goals, Culture and Behaviour

WB and I wanted a simple way of defining and communicating our goals, and the culture and behaviours we wanted. As WB would put it, ‘the job of leadership is to create an environment in which people can succeed’, and the ten commandments became one of the major vehicles for achieving this.

This is a common management pattern. Many projects summarize their approach in ten bullet points. Indeed, I once informed a very capable member of a Quality Team that there was a typo in the ten commandments of Quality they had just published – there were just nine. That document was republished fast.

Good Ideas Get Reused

Our “commandments” were to strike an unusual chord with the team, who liked them, and bought into the aspiration they represented.. They are distinctive in their focus on team behaviour. They push control and issue resolution into the team (although ultimate accountability must still reside with program leadership).There is nothing on method, process or technique, although these were important in the background. In essence, these commandments were about creating a mission, a team and a driven culture of success, at scale.

As is often the case with things that work, our ten commandments become viral across a wide community. They have been used, with scant modification, on many projects. They are still being used.

And the reason for the sub-title of WB and the Tablets of Stone is that we came very close to having them engraved on real stone tablets. We had got our mad scheme costed, and we had chosen the shape of the tablets. We thought this little bit of theatre would help get the message across. In the end, we decided we were getting a little too impressed with ourselves, and went for a more portable presentation.

The Ten Commandments

These were the ten commandments:

  1. Meet Your Promises
  2. Act as One Team.
  3. Aim to be Exceptional, Exceed Targets
  4. Understand and Report True Status
  5. Finished Means Finished – Never Leave Problems Unresolved
  6. Take Full Ownership. Ask, Escalate, Push
  7. Be Ready for Change
  8. Learn
  9. Take Pride. Have Fun. Celebrate Success.
  10. Meet Your Promises

Let’s look at each one in detail.

  1. Meet Your Promises

We wanted a huge focus on what the client needed, what would make them successful and what had been agreed. Our promises were therefore the target scope, the schedule and the cost budget. We wanted that to be in the thoughts of our team, every minute of every hour of every hard-working day.

I think this is fundamental. It is the foundation principle for all good delivery.

Scope, schedule and budget eventually become commitments, and not eternal items of negotiation. Indeed base-lining is a key management skill. Program leaders will always have to handle change, but must keep the baseline in mind. And they should instill that can do mentality in their teams. That attitude builds client or business trust, and so makes easier the hard times when tough decisions are necessary. In fact, we shared the ten commandments with our clients. We wanted them to be part of the mission.

As part of this, all programs need a purpose that is easy to understand and communicate. Every individual team-member should understand the promises they are supporting. At one level a Concorde is hundreds of thousands of precision components. The simple goal however was to fly passengers supersonically and safely. Any worthwhile program should be easily summarizable. The fine details should also be communicated. Understanding scope, and the basics of any contract, should be a goal for each individual.

  1. Act as One Team.

A team of teams automatically means boundaries. These boundaries can be complex – within a software development team, between the dev team and the business, between a business and its suppliers, between a team and services operated in a cloud, or simply between physical locations.

The challenges that result include: simple blame games, high politics, schoolchild howler style misunderstandings, Everest-sized integration issues, subtle cultural problems and more.

One of my great insights was running a leadership team that consisted of good individuals – actually great individuals – who simply did not function as a team. Boundaries became patrolled borders. With enormous reluctance, I had to change things.

We will look at some of these situations in later articles. Things that will bind a team together include:

  • A simple set of goals (like the ten commandments!)
  • A decent scope definition
  • A good architect who understands links between teams
  • A plan that may be hard, but is believable
  • Good management
  • Good connections with the business
  • Dealing with personality and ego issues, especially in leadership roles
  • Creating a community, and celebrating success

Above all, the aim should be for a culture that encourages the building of trust. It always has to be earned via praxis, but must always be expected.

  1. Aim to be Exceptional, Exceed Targets

 We wanted people to aim high for themselves, and for the team. We especially wanted to avoid the kind of foggy ennui you can find on large programs.

Part of premise is this. Setting specific goals generates higher levels of performance than general goals, and the higher the target the more a person will do to reach that target [this comes from the research of Edwin Locke at the University of Maryland.]

One of my best personal examples of this comes from elsewhere, from my experiences in creating large delivery centres in India. It took our team eighteen months to grow to 500 people. Then potential demand started to increase exponentially. We could have gotten away with continued moderate growth, but I asked the team to aim very high and recruit the next 500 people in the next five weeks. Importantly, I let them go away to think about it.

They went for it. They worked almost 24×7 for five weeks, with a short break for an important cricket match.

By the end of the period they had made 526 offers to good candidates. They had made their own piece of history. And after that, the team knew what they were capable of, and created one of the best large-scale recruiting engines in India. We will return to this example in a future article.

  1. Understand and Report True Status

To this, we added the text:

Good News = +2 points

Bad News = -1 point

Wrong News = – 1 billion points

 This usually raises a smile. It is meant to. Gentle humour is one of the best ways of communicating. But the point it makes is deeply serious. In any team of teams, responsibility and control should be distributed. That is the most effective approach, and it requires transparency and trust.

Good progress is always good. But bad news is useful because something can be done about a known problem. Bad news will also often uncover systematic issues – in the design, the development process, or similar. As we saw in Episode 1 of Masters of Delivery, all programs are about forming a plan and then managing the issues.

 It is wrong news that is poisonous to a large program, and wrong news can be generated by a good team, proud of what they are doing, who want to fix their issues before they become visible.

The test of a team and its management is always through tough times – times I once described as when the sky is dark with the wings of headless chickens coming home to roost.

So, WB and I spent time building this culture of No Surprises, and creating a sense of accountability for knowing status, being transparent and feeling able to report trouble. Above all we wanted people to have the courage to ask for help.

That also requires a certain generosity in management who equally need to view bad news as useful. I would go further: the primary job of management in execution is to help their team with issues

  1. Finished Means Finished – Never Leave Problems Unresolved.

Any team-based process, and certainly any large program, is a series of queues as work moves through the hands and minds of team members. So, any hold-ups have knock on effects. The trick to managing schedule is to get issues resolved fast, so work moves through the system as planned.

A team I once adopted on another project had been stuck in functional design for more than a year. Everything was work in progress. As so often is the case, the team was good. The issue was that there was no systematic connection with the users or key business sponsors, and rather than fix that, every time a design got stuck, new work was started. To resolve the issue, we built bridges and followed a systematic closedown plan in a defined sequence. It worked.

Another well-known aspect is phase containment. Larger projects will almost always consist of releases divided into phases – such as design, build, and test. Problems and gaps in design or requirements will be ruthlessly punished in later testing.

The essence of all of this is to avoid the 90% complete syndrome. The implied remaining 10% is most often the hard, expensive stuff to fix. To quote a British advertising slogan, “Finished” should mean “what it says on the tin.”. Finished should mean finished, completed, done.

Fixing hard problems when they are discovered is almost always the fastest and cheapest tactic.

  1. Take Full Ownership. Ask, Escalate, Push

 With the sub-text: Email alone does not count

 WB and I faced a tough schedule. Our plans were achievable, but they were also hard. We needed a dynamic culture, and a positive buzz in our team. In particular, we wanted people to:

  • Feel they owned their own work fully, and were responsible for completing it
  • Have a sense of reasonable urgency, not to be passive or overly patient in an ‘awaiting’ status.

We especially wanted to avoid seeing the sending of an email as a significant action, or as introducing an allowable delay. We also wanted people to feel free to use management when a decision was needed, – without that seeming an issue between peers. Debate and differences are not conflict, but part of any large team.

This an important topic in a globalizing world where sub-teams will be routinely located in different places, shifted by many time zones. Each sub-team has to take direct responsibility for its own work – but also work hard on interacting effectively with other teams in other locations.

  1. Be Ready for Change

 Change is universal – we cannot escape the second law of thermodynamics. Larger programs are prone to being impacted by change, because they will run for months and years. Change can include:

  • Passionate support for new requirements
  • Unexpected changes in the business, which can result in new work, reduced budgets or cancellation
  • Regulation changes
  • Sponsors getting replaced with people with different ideas

There is much modern thinking around Agile development, which embraces change, and creates cross-functional teams that work in short iterations. This suits certain types of problem, at a certain scale, but there will always be larger projects with a different rhythm.

The key message in this commandment is be ready. It is a job of a project manager or program leader to handle issues and change well, and not let change become mindless, infinite churn. Projects can plan for change via contingency and specific change windows in projects with multiple releases.

The level of engineering of any approach to handle change depends on project scale, but the following will always be required.

  • An anchor – a baseline – from which the impact of change can be judged
  • Adaptability and resilience in program leadership
  • Contingency and change windows
  • A process for tracking and making decisions about change understood by business sponsors
  • An architect or architect team who can assess impacts across a whole system
  1. Learn

 What did we mean by this? One part was personal. We wanted team members, and the client people we worked with to be successful, and to learn from the experience.

Again, the team dimension was critical. WB and I had three releases ahead of us. We needed the team to learn as a whole so we could:

  • Apply insights to improve business functionally
  • Innovate around tools and environments
  • Understand and avoid the first time through issues with Release 1
  • Gather actual metrics against estimates to improve future planning and set productivity and quality improvement targets.

Learning also gives the chance for senior members of the team to demonstrate stewardship by coaching, and handing on their own experience and insights.

The phrase Continuous Improvement captures some of this, but it is dry, implying process improvement. I prefer the more human notion of a learning team, learning collectively and at individual level.

  1. Take Pride. Have Fun. Celebrate Success

 Any team becomes a community. Any large team is likely to be a young community, given the way such teams are built-up, capable of great energy and commitment.

Building a team “brand” around the purpose of a program, and its attitude and results is one step in accessing that energy. Communication of clear goals, and creating that sense of making history will help here.

A healthy level of having fun, of good social interaction also helps make a good team, and although it doesn’t have to be managed, it needs to be recognized as important and supported. It is particularly necessary in today’s global teams, and I would recommend starting any distributed relationship with physical meetings where people can get to know each other, and allow time for social events.

The third element in this commandment is about recognition. Those familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs will remember than esteem and recognition rank highly. People thrive on doing good work, which is noticed and celebrated.

Celebration can be real time. Testing management requires a unique approach, and one talented leader I know used a bell to mark when a test pass had been successful. As a result, applause rippled through his team several times a day. On the last day of testing, the final ring of the bell generated a standing ovation – including from our clients.

Celebration can be personal – public and deserved notes of praise or thanks go a long way. It can be a formal event to mark a major team success.

Create the right spirit, and the rewards are long-term – team-members will work with each other again and again. Such self-sustaining communities, especially if they are open, are powerful, and valuable.

10. Meet Your Promises

 We end where we started. Any program is about a set of promises: to your client or business users, your own team if you have one, and your own management. Great delivery is about meeting all these promises, and learning a little something yourself.

 Get something done, and make a little history, today.



Keith Haviland is a business and technology leader, with a special focus on how to combine big vision and practical execution at the very largest scale, and how new technologies will reshape tech services.
He is a Former Partner and Global Senior Managing Director at Accenture, and founder of Accenture’s Global Delivery Network.
Published author and active film producer, including Last Man on the Moon. Advisor/investor for web and cloud-based start-ups.

New Dangers, Opportunities: mobile, cloud and changing client expectations will deconstruct and reshape IT services.

As in the Chinese proverb, we inhabit interesting times. Disruptive changes in client expectations and the accelerating evolution of technology are remaking the IT services industry. It is a time of long change, bringing challenge and possibility and opportunity. Let’s see why.

Results of the Quarter: Mixed Performance in Outsourcing, New Growth in Consulting

Most of my career has been spent in providing tech services, so I watched the cycle of summer 2014 earnings announcements from the big IT services companies with much interest.

One stand out set of results came from the giant India-based outsourcer TCS. It managed quarter on quarter revenue growth that almost matched the annual growth of some of its major competitors. A headline from the India Business Standard said “TCS Q1 results prove elephants can dance”.

But overall the mood across the sector was muted as the multi-national and major Indian players reported. Other providers did not do so well. There was greater variability in results than in previous quarters. Total cost of ownership and pricing remained major factors for clients of big IT and BPO services. It is a tough market.

Conversely, the feedback I get from speaking to leaders of classic consultancy firms is straightforwardly positive. Many of the traditional players have seen annual consulting growth around 10%, and some upstart new entrants are doing much better than that. There is demand for classic, high-end systems integration skills coupled with new digital capability. There is new energy in onshore recruiting markets and raw competition for the most modern skills.

Given that consulting and system integration have often been seen as traditional and declining business areas, what’s happening? Let’s start by looking at outsourcing and Application Development and Management (ADM) services.

Outsourcing Under Pressure

Classic outsourcing –primarily a global delivery/offshore business these days – remains a huge market. It is also one under considerable pressure, and long-term pressure at that. This partly originates from clients. In recent conversations with board members of client organisations, I have been told often of dissatisfaction with the true value of much of modern outsourcing.

As a result, the market is deconstructing and transforming the offerings it wants from suppliers. Many clients want more control and more value. So, many contracts continue to become smaller and shorter. Other clients seek the ultimate cost solution. There are now a small number of very large, broad and long-term engagements – covering infrastructure, applications, BPO and consultancy, where suppliers are offering intensely competitive rates, and simultaneously buying the client’s assets, or paying a price for the existing IT department.

A Cycle of Renewals and a Battle for Market Share

Importantly, the outsourcing sales cycle is now one largely based on renewals, where clients put out existing contracts for rebid. The result is a ruthless battle for market share – red in tooth and claw. It is a classic commodity market. There will be winners, but the likely long-term outcome is a smaller number of larger players.

I’ve led teams that built market leading cost structures, and that introduced global delivery and productivity innovation at large scale, But any company with strong interests in this market will need to continuously and radically hone its on and offshore cost base, and seek new innovation to drive productivity. There will be times when capital will need to be used boldly to win deals.

Acceleration in Technology

The new activity in consulting on the other hand is part fuelled by shifts and disruption in technology, and the creation of new business model possibilities.

The code word for this is “Digital” of course. It works well as shorthand, and all the major global players have a digital strategy and vision, looking for new growth in what a constrained total services market.

But any supply-side player or CIO also needs to make sure they aren’t simply painting speed stripes on the side of their 10-year old SUV and then stenciling a large ‘D’ on the hood. Digital shouldn’t just be a re-branding of old e-Commerce models. We need to be much more specific about the disruptions, opportunities and challenges.

Mobile-first, Cloud-first

One of the simplest and best visions of the new world comes from Microsoft, and was summarised in CEO Satya Nadella’s recent email to all his employees. He talks of a mobile-first and cloud-first world, made up of billions of PCs, tablets, mobile devices and sensors that run “cloud service-based apps spanning work and life”. The implication is that we should see this world, and its opportunities, as based on the integration of mobile, cloud and applications. The recent tie-up between Apple and IBM also underlines this pattern. Other digital definitions include data, analytics and social tech – vital disciplines – but for me “mobile-first/cloud-first” is the essence of the current tech wave.

Mobile usage already dominates Internet access in some parts of the world. It will everywhere. Cloud moves increasingly to mainstream use. One simple example: There are still teams that take 3 months to provision development and production environments, sometimes because of market regulation. One UK based start-up team I know automatically create their dev environments under Amazon Web Services every morning and shut them down every evening to avoid paying overnight costs. That is a vast difference in productivity.

Indeed, one of the reasons that there is so much enthusiastic start-up activity is the ease of creating the environments to build and run apps. Young entrepreneurs assume the cloud – in fact they live and breathe the cloud. It gives them instant potential reach, and instant visibility,

Software as a Service and the Changing World of Applications

As a concept, cloud starts with reasonably cost competitive and elastic access to infrastructure and platforms. It is also increasingly about access to a rich and developing market of apps and services, under the banner of SaaS or Software as a ServiceIt is this that will make cloud of fundamental importance. Indeed, the fastest growing skill needs I’ve seen over the last two years are precisely around the configuration of SaaS apps like Salesforce and similar.

And the use of SaaS gets bolder, larger and more complex. High-end system integration skills are increasingly needed for cloud integration.

Early in the Life-Cycle and the Growth Curve

Another key insight is that we are early in the life cycle of our mobile-first and cloud-first world. Given the histories of Nokia and Blackberry, mobile is a market subject to fast learning and fast change. We should not assume a world dominated by Samsung and Apple devices. For example, high spec, lower cost devices from China are making rapid progress in domestic and international markets. Other examples of evolution in progress include the current vast human experiment with form-factors, or the large number of emerging technologies for handling mobile payments on the hoof.

Many Platforms, Many Choices

Here’s another important symptom of an immature market: the CTO of a significant, world-class B2C company has complained to me of the increasing differences between mobile universes – iOS, Android, Windows – and the effort required to deploy consistent, high-quality apps across them. It eats too much of his dev budget.

We have simultaneously made it easier to run software, and harder to write it.

We all have folk memories of a simpler world of the 1990s and early 21 century. There was a roughly standard market architecture based around Windows PCs, the Web, a limited number of server types and a small number of dev and database choices of significance.

Now is a time much more reminiscent of the 1970s and 80s. There are major choices to be made: iOS, Android, various incarnations of Windows, Google, Amazon Web Services, Tizen, many choices of language and database, and decisions to be made between classic enterprise software and cloud-served enterprise upstarts. Public cloud services can be relatively expensive for some domains – which means careful thinking and prototyping is important – and billing of cloud services can be complex.

A New Dawn for Architects

People are looking for help. One small start-up I like has created tools for enterprises to build very simple cross-platform mobile apps. They get extraordinary senior access to corporates as enterprises grapple with the new choices, and the resulting complexity.

So one great need, and for IT services companies one of the opportunities, is for informed architects – people who can shape integrated solutions across these platforms, across mobile and cloud, and then across business function, data and social tools. Such thought leaders are needed more than ever. And there is also a market premium for developers who are fluent with the new tech.

Faster and Better and Cheaper?

Businesses have also long lost patience with the cult of the large program – a long-term trend of course, but the new technology seems to offer an additional promise of greater agility, and responsiveness.

The software development model is shifting from something akin to building cathedrals to something more like town planning where a good architecture connects a network of small apps teams delivering in Agile sprints or smaller, more traditional releases.

Many companies are creating digital development hubs that are often onshore. The result is new demand for coding skills. The art of programming is fashionable again, and with web development, individual developers can make a huge business difference. It is likely that key, future IT services will be less based on process. They will be more human.

Given the integration of mobile, apps and cloud, teams are being structured around aDevOps model which infrastructure and application are treated as a connected whole. A new science of project as a service is being created.

Masters of Delivery

This will be important to get right as ambition around cloud-served systems grow. There are already a number of large-project failures that have at their core a naïve approach to Agile. So, we will need a new generation of what I call Masters of Delivery, people with leadership and project management skills able to bring and adapt their insights around scale and managing complexity to the new tech.

These new development approaches may increase speed, but at the cost of some complexity. Systems become networks of cloud services. Projects become networks of apps teams.

There is more opportunity here. Another bright start-up team I know is developing new ops tools for instrumenting and managing applications in the Cloud, They gained customers almost from the first day of business, so large is the need. More challenging will be the creation of better, re-usable architectures that are inter-operable across mobile, cloud (private/public), and enterprise/legacy platforms, but both the need and an enormous opportunity are there.

Putting It Together

To summarize and conclude:

Firstly, traditional big IT services – based on outsourcing and ADM models – remain a large market, but one that is highly commoditized, and competitive. The focus on cost will remain fundamental, driven by competition for market-share.

Opportunity – Transforming Outsourcing

But here is also a gigantic opportunity for new types of service, where human effort is replaced and augmented by automation. In fact, as clients switch to cloud-served apps, the outsourcing model as a whole will need radical overhaul. This will likely be a long journey, given the early and evolving nature of relevant technology, and the fact that building complex software to support multiple client organizations requires real investment. The big IT players have many resources. They will need to use them.

Opportunity – New Integration Services

Secondly, we are all embarked on a ten-year transition to that mobile-first and cloud-first universe. This creates new opportunity, and open space for people and new start-ups.

We will need new tools and architectures to manage and integrate networks of teams, devices, infrastructure and apps. We will need world-class architects to make big choices and work across an integrated stack that links infrastructure, application and business. We will need re-engineered and re-vitalized project management and systems integration skills that can create the project-as-a-service and agile delivery models of the future. And the process of building systems will likely be less process-driven, and more based around human-skills and good tools.

Opportunity – Reshaping the Service Model

IT services companies can themselves deliver these capabilities in reshaped ways and at reduced cost. New types of flexible relationships with employees are not only possible, but often desired. There is an opportunity for the brave to re-invent and upgrade global delivery culture around new aspirations. And course, architectural frameworks, SaaS and automation can be used directly to automate, deliver and enable such services. IBM is already providing online “digital service offerings” across social analytics, inspection of SAP and Oracle systems, and more. The possibilities for creativity are immense.

It is a time of long change, and as always that brings challenge and possibility and opportunity – for individuals, established companies and new entrants.

Keith Haviland is a business and technology leader, with a special focus on how to combine big vision and practical execution at the largest scale. 

Former Partner and Global Senior Managing Director at Accenture, and founder of Accenture’s Global Delivery Network. 

Published author and active film producer, including Last Man on the Moon. Advisor/investor for web and cloud-based start-ups.

Writings from Keith Haviland