Identify Core Differentiators and Capitalize on Them

In his article appearing in, Ken LeBlanc, CIO of Iron Mountain, stresses the importance of focussing on what truly sets a company apart in the eyes of customers and competitors and how to build and develop a partnership with business stakeholders.

To this end, Ken proposes that enterprises should follow Iron Mountain in its “core to the core” approach. This approach seeks to identify processes and technologies that differentiate companies in the eyes of their competition and customers. To bring this to fruition, he says that it’s necessary to develop a partnership with recognized business executives and stakeholders. Thereby, all stakeholders and partners must engage in rich dialogue to arrive at precisely what sets the company apart and then use this knowledge to their advantage.

Building a Capability Map

A capability map can help facilitate discussion. Here, the IT service owner and the business stakeholders use the map to identify the major steps or process areas relative to those foundational end-to-end processes. This method helps uncover tech and processes that are being used or enable a certain step, as well as the points of integration across that end-to-end business process.

Now, once the company has an agreement with the stakeholders, health-checks on technologies and capabilities should be carried out. A simple color code can be used to denote the relative health and maturity of these solutions.

Besides helping identify differentiators, this method also helps the IT leadership team identify risks, which informs their multi-year roadmap from staffing, skillset, budget, and technology perspectives.

Lessons for the Future

Ken recommends that identifying differentiators must be carried out as early as possible – this can inform the determination of IT’s strategic partners and core platforms. Furthermore, dialogue and discussion with business stakeholders on what’s really “core to the core”, and then suitably using these insights to align staffing and operating models that best meet the highest priority areas based on risk or strategic capability gaps is absolutely crucial.

The “core to the core” approach reiterates IT’s role and signifies that it is more than just a mere deliverer of tech. Significantly also, it can ensure that business stakeholders and the enterprise are on the same page as regards business process, business capabilities, and business values.

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Sapna Hiremath

Sapna S Hiremath is currently working as a Content Specialist Lead for CAI Info India. With experiences of having worked for newspapers after pursuing a Master's in Mass Communication and Journalism, she has worked in the thriving fields of Search Engine Marketing, online shopping and healthcare. Being an avid traveler, she likes being in the serene landscapes of nature, but also likes being around friends.

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