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People Process Technology

People, process and technology – why is it important to consider all 3?

Popularised back in the late 90s by American cryptographer, computer security & privacy specialist and writer, Bruce Schneier, the concept of “people, process & technology” has been around for quite some time. In fact, it has been the cornerstone of ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) since its very early days.

It has also been referred to as the “golden triangle”, the 3 keys to successful project implementations and organisational change, and a back-to-basics approach to solving complex business problems.

The reason for this triangular focus comes down to one very important fact: Operational efficiency requires an approach that optimises the relationships between people, process & technology.

By focusing on only one or two areas, an imbalance is created. Take a new technology for example, many companies believe that by installing a new tool, all of their problems will go away. But what they’re not seeing is that technology is only as good as the processes that are implemented around it, and processes are only as good as the people who execute them. Therefore technology can not be seen as the silver bullet.

But how do you get the balance just right?

  • Always start with the people
    – Identify your key role players & understand what each of them bring to the table.
    – Confirm that you have senior management buy-in (right from the start), because without it you will fail.
    – Ensure that your team consists of the right people with the right skills, experience and attitude to help you solve this problem.
  • Once your people are committed to the cause, consider the process
    – A process is defined as a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. So with that in mind, ask the question: What processes do we need in order to solve this business problem?
    – A good place to start is by identifying the big, key steps. Once those are in place you can then focus on a more detailed level by looking at process variations, exceptions, interdependencies and supporting processes.
    – Now review these processes with your stakeholders. Ensure that they’re aware of what’s expected from them and let them guide you with regards to possible gaps and issues.
  • Finally select the technology
    – With your people and processes in place, you can now look at technologies which will support them.
    – It’s never a good idea to force a technology and then attempt to retrofit the people and processes around it.
    – Technology should always be the final consideration once the problem is clearly understood and the solution requirements have been clearly defined.

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Leave a comment

  1. A very simple and effective introduction to the People, Processes and Technology transformation strategy.

    Thank you.

  2. What a terrific post! You really know how to pack it in. Thank you Cathy.

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