The Feld Framework For IT Leadership (Introduction / Part 1)
February 18, 2010
In the next few posts I will provide a review of The Feld Framework for IT Leadership.

Summary The success of any business organization in a fast growing, customer-centric global economy relies on the ability of that organization to leverage its IT strategy. In the past two decades, many case studies have been done that show companies that failed to leverage and implement an agile IT strategy were overtaken by their competitors. The implementation of an agile and efficient IT is certainly dependent on the right business and IT leadership. The Feld Framework for IT Leadership presents a principle-based, highly successful framework that has been tested across technology eras and various industry sectors.

Introduction In most business organizations, the business leaders are knowledgeable and skilled at most operational and functional areas of the business, such as finance, products and litigation. These leaders are so adept at probing and pushing the workforce and at communicating their point of view with zeal that an executive team meeting seems very productive and communicative. However, when the discussion goes into the realm of IT implementation and strategy, most of these business leaders rely on the IT consultants and technical subordinates. Their eyes glaze over with confusion and they only hope the IT function gets the operational aspect of business right. The business leaders consider IT as a relative black box and a complex functional area. In fact, IT is a blind spot for most business executives.

However, IT should be no more difficult than marketing, operations, finances, sales or any other broad operations disciples. Because IT is essentially about information flow, work-flows, and reflecting business rules for technology to drive greater efficiency, it should enable all other functions to operate seamlessly and integrate, leading to a well run business.

In this fast moving, customer centric, global economy, IT plays a critical role in enabling, or disabling, an enterprise; however, it remains a blind spot for most business executives and a costly inhibitor of speed and agility.  In terms of Porter’s Five Forces Model, IT plays a significant role in all Five Forces—competition within the industry, barrier to new entry, supplier power, buyer power, and the threat of substitute products.

The Feld Framework for IT leadership unveils the mystery surrounding the IT blind spot. The Feld Framework is a simple and solid approach for demystifying technology for non-technical business leaders.  It provides a path to successfully fight global competition and adapt those as the competition changes with time and new technology. It provides a framework for business executive to be as fluent in IT’s role as they are in other disciplines of business operations, and enables them to leverage IT for complete business transformation in order to successfully compete in the global economy.

The complete journey for business transformation requires the four planks for change and the five time-bound phases, as shown below in Figure 1. All four planks of changes are important in each phases of the business transformation journey. The journey starts with a 90 day strategy engagement in which one answers the following questions for each of the planks.

  • WHY – Why do anything?
  • WHAT – What we will do?
  • HOW – How will we do it?
  • WHO –Who will lead and manage the change?
4Planks of Change The Journey (2 years)
Time bound phases (The first three are 90 days long)
Strategy The Turn Up & Running Hitting Stride Self-Sufficiency
Failure State & Scenario Planning Plan Detail & Repositioning the Organization Delivering the New Way Acceleration Industrialization
Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Phase 5

The Feld Framework has been developed over two decades by a very experienced team of IT leaders. Its implementation in different industries has allowed this framework to grow into a simple, principle based, framework which can be easily deployed to any organization.

The origin of the Feld framework can be traced to the work of Charlie Feld in 1984, when he led the business transformation at Frito-Lay. Since then, a team of IT leaders have employed his method in major companies such as Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, Pepsi-Co, Coca-Cola, First Data, FedEx, Home Depot, Payless Shoe Source, Washington Homes and Burlington Northern Railroad.

The technological changes taking place globally require business leaders to develop a reasonable foundation for using systems and technology as they come into the marketplace while avoiding fads.

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