World Class IT Methodology

Methodology Overview

Metis Strategy’s World Class IT Assessment is designed to provide a comprehensive, 360-degree view of IT’s performance and to help evaluate where the greatest sources of value and the greatest exposure to risk lie. We have implemented this methodology at a wide range of leading IT departments within Fortune 500 companies, and we are proud to say that our clients have literally painted the collateral of our methodology on their walls, created awards to align with it, and made it a starting point for the IT strategic planning process.

“Working with Metis Strategy was a tremendous experience. Their approach to achieving ‘World Class IT’ is practical, intuitive and effective. Our organization has embraced the World Class IT framework as our foundational measurement tool for moving our organization forward. I give Metis Strategy my highest recommendation.”

Jay Levine, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota

The value of this methodology comes from recognizing how each principle builds on the one before it. Even great IT departments sometimes focus on one or several of these areas perhaps to the detriment of others.

Select a principle above for more detail on each principle and its sub-principles.

The Five Principles of World Class IT

  • Principle one is People, and it is really the foundational principle. Without the right people doing the right jobs at the right time, it will be nearly impossible to achieve excellent performance.
  • The second principle is Infrastructure. We like to say that this is the principle that separates proactive organizations from reactive ones. If infrastructure is not reliably performing its tasks, the IT organization will become stuck in reactive mode, constantly fighting fires. If systems and hardware work reliably, then a larger portion of the organization can think about the future.
  • The third principle is Project & Portfolio Management. This is the engine through which new capabilities can be brought to bear on behalf of the company. It is important to ensure that projects are delivered on-time, on- budget, and on target, and that the portfolio collectively supports the objectives of the business.
  • The fourth principle is IT & Business Partnerships. It is important that first and foremost, the different parts of IT from business analysis to development and QA through to support and all other aspects of the IT department communicate effectively and efficiently. It is equally important then that IT develop a partnering relationship with the business. If the three prior principles are done well, then IT should earn a place at the strategy setting table, driving different parts of the business strategy.
  • The fifth and last principle is External Partnerships. Outsourcing is becoming crucial to corporations, and managing these relationships to ensure that value is achieved is critical. In the fourth principle, the organization has learned and contributed to the discussion about what is strategic and what is not. Once that is clear, then it will be easier to determine which aspects of IT might be better managed by external partners or vendors.

World Class IT Assessment Process

Over the course of just a few weeks of work, our team can help you evaluate how your team is performing not only in these five areas, but also 33 sub-principles. We traditionally work with members of IT, the business, and even vendors to get the full perspective. Our deliverables typically include the following:

  • A grade for each principle and sub-principle
  • Detailed recommendations for the near and long term for all principles and sub-principles
  • Comments on which principles and sub-principles are solely within IT’s ability to influence, and which require changes on the part of the business, for instance, in order to reach the highest performance levels
  • External best practices related to those areas that are in greatest need (An overview of this is the second page of the attachment, but we provide detailed descriptions of the people, processes, tools, and metrics employed by the best organizations in line with the best practice research provided)
  • Metrics to use for each of the principles and sub-principles to ensure that progress can be tracked on a regular basis
  • Quotes from the various participants (unattributed to maintain anonymity), providing ideas of what the various types of participants had to say as they participated in this process

Additional Methodology Resources

In December of 2009, Jossey-Bass, a division of Wiley Press, published a book called World Class IT: Why Businesses Succeed When IT Triumphs, which covers in great detail the entire World Class IT Methodology.

To learn more about our IT Organizational and Performance Improvement practice area, of which the World Class IT Assessment is a fundamental pillar, please click here.

For case examples on this practice area, please click here.

To listen to our Forum on World Class IT podcast series, in which our President, Peter High, explores the topics of World Class IT with IT industry thought leaders, please click here.