It seems that IT people are becoming more concerned about lean concepts.
That’s my conclusion after hearing the results of a survey by AMR Research, described in a recent Industry Week webcast. The survey was conducted in September of about 200 corporate executives. (I believe they were IT executives, though the AMR presentation was not precise on that point.)
The presentation never mentioned lean. But the results were striking in describing what the executives cited as key concerns – and how those concerns have changed.
The executives were asked what business initiative was most important to them in terms of the impact it would have on IT investment decisions over the next 12 months.
The top issue, mentioned by 19 percent of those responding, was organizational transformation. That’s up from a figure of 9 percent a year ago.
Transformation, of course, may have everything or nothing to do with lean. More interesting to me were the next three issues on the list, each cited as the top issue by 11 percent of those responding.
One was more effective new product development and launch. The percentage of people mentioning that issue hasn’t changed much in the past year.
But consider the two other issues tied for second place: Focus employees on more value-added/strategic activities (up from 0 percent a year ago), and manufacturing and operational process improvements (up from 2 percent a year ago).
Lean is fundamental to both of these areas. And if IT executives are more concerned about these areas, they are more concerned about lean.
By the way, two other issues stood out for the drop in the percentages of executives who cited either as the top issue. One was improving business and IT alignment through better IT governance, which fell from 12 percent to 4 percent. The other was complying with government rules and regulations, down from 12 percent to 1 percent. On that last point, the drop is at least partly because “Sarbanes-Oxley has played itself out,” according to the presenter, AMR SVP Kevin O’Marah.