The importance of ‘walking the talk’

thrive on change DXC Blogs

I have only just realised that I recently passed my 30-year anniversary of working in the IT industry, making me somewhat “mature” in this world…

A lot has happened in those 30 years. Mainly, everything has gotten faster, smaller, cheaper (relatively). Or, as Daft Punk would have it, “harder, better, faster, stronger.” See, even us IT oldies can be young at heart! 

One of the most critical changes, though, has been with data (and I use that word on purpose rather than “information”). It’s not only the amount of data that is available to us but how easy it is to access, no matter where we are.  The “digital transformation” is quite clearly the phenomena of our lifetime.

In my career, I’ve seen and helped move along various degrees of transformation at different companies. However, the creation of DXC Technology is different, and it’s certainly the most significant transformation I have been involved with. I’d like to delve into why.  

It really is different…

It can be sometimes a little difficult to interest government and commercial colleagues and clients in corporate transformations. Not only are they becoming quite frequent, but it can be hard to see what the real difference is going forward.  

However, right from the start, and right from our CEO, Mike Lawrie, the underlying messaging for DXC was different. Lawrie described us as a “force multiplier” in digital transformation – aimed at helping our customers navigate their own digital transformations. Key to this is an “only the best bits” approach to merging two organisations.

As we’ve come together, it’s been interesting to see the legacy HPES and CSC capabilities that have been taken forward into the new organisation or quite unceremoniously dropped from use. These changes are not always easy to weather, but, as we know, it is the pursuit of a new operating model that is right for the time. 

The other key theme which resonates with me is how the change is being implemented. On the one hand, there is a Big Bang approach – certainly from a brand launch perspective. However, on the other hand, there is very much a measured transition to merge two organisations together without adversely affecting client delivery.

At a client level, or even at an architecture design and principle level, the company is being very sensitive to how things have been done, ensuring that any changes are positively executed.

New model, fewer offerings … It’s a good thing

The new operating model is easy to understand. Our whole organisation in now structured around three tenants: build, sell and deliver. Behind these three dimensions are our solutions simplified into 9 offering groups: 

  • Cloud and Workload
  • Security
  • Enterprise and Cloud applications
  • Workplace and mobility
  • Application services
  • Analytics
  • Consulting
  • Business Process Services
  • Industry Solutions and Services

 At this point, the total number of offerings stands at about 80 (as opposed to a combined total of 500 from the two former organisations). 

And right from the start, the company management is focused on ensuring that all information is available for DXC people to talk to their customers, suppliers and partners about the solutions we provide today.

All about the skills

From a technology capability perspective, there is no doubt that an organisation like DXC has a significant challenge to ensure the workforce is skilled correctly, across the entire solution lifecycle. 

Coupled with Technology Independence – -what I find to be one of the most important tenants of our company — DXC specifically cite World Class Talent and Clear and Confident Vision as its core differentiators in the market

Talent development has always been a personal passion of mine, both for my own career and, more importantly, to ensure the people I work with have the very best opportunities to grow. This is another area that is going to be managed, not as a Big Bang, but by working through what the two organisations can bring to the party. 

 Walking the talk…

The DXC credentials are impressive on paper: 8.5 million devices managed, 3,500 data scientists, 1000+ AWS professionals, 800+ managed cloud clients etc. etc.  However, even more important is our approach to the challenges an organisation has, in terms of managing people and managing change. 

And this is something we are doing ourselves as we navigate this new world together.

Chris Swan, VP & CTO in DXC’s Delivery organisation recently posted his perspective on this issue. In the piece, he referenced Google’s research into how successful teams are created and maintained. Some of the key characteristics include:

Psychological safety: When team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other. This is often cited as the most critical of areas, primarily because most people are quite reluctant to do things that could negatively influence how others perceive their ability. This is heightened even more when organisations are going through staff reduction exercises and cut backs. A really good working practice to promote pyschological safety is, at the beginning of each meeting, to ask team members what risks they have taken.

Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?

Structure & clarity: Are goals, roles and execution plans on our team clear?

Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?

Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?

As always, there is a high degree of “bleeding obvious” about these statements. And, as we all know, executing them can be really challenging.

But I do think the bar has been set high for all of DXC’s people in terms of “walking the talk” in our new organization. That’s why I am very excited about DXC and what it means to all of us.


Neil Fagan

Neil Fagan is CTO of the UK Government Security and Intelligence Account in Global Infrastructure Services. He is an enterprise architecture expert, leading teams of architects who work on solutions from initial concept through delivery and support.

See Neil’s full bio.

 

RELATED LINKS

Change: A challenge, an opportunity, a chance to thrive

In times of change, don’t move too fast

Thriving on change: My winding road to data science

Comments

  1. geosupergirl says:

    Great discussion. Love this part “When team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other.” This is when teams perform at their best. This is also when collaboration and innovation become naturally part of the team.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Matt Parry says:

    An insightful analysis Neil…. the “key characteristics” really rang a bell for me as it will many. The clouds have parted now that we are DXC and an optimistic view of our future stands in it’s place. As techies, an opportunity to unleash our creativity in the exciting emerging technologies has arrived. Exciting times!!!

    Like

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