Companies Need to Change How They Change

After a slight delay, I’m continuing my blog series on why Enterprise IT is too slow for business today and how we solve this problem. The real business challenge in this, the second decade of the 21st century, is moving quickly without hurrying, and without making significant mistakes. That’s a key theme of this second post in my series.

The new IT will fail if companies execute faster and more poorly.

So, in a world that is changing more than ever, we clearly need to change how we change.


Because the state of change management accuracy is a mess. Research conducted by Chef / Forrester shows that more than half the IT organizations surveyed (52%) exhibit unacceptable change success, and only 12% can be considered good.

When changes are made poorly, service quality suffers – and so does the reputation of IT.

Adding to the complexity of the problem, measuring change success is hard. The Chef / Forrester research indicates that 31% of the organizations surveyed don’t know the full impact of the changes being made – a dangerous position.

The reason most organizations are afraid to change is because of this poor track record. Changes have proven painful, so they avoid them, or put them off until some future time.

But business leaders and other technology consumers can’t wait weeks for a change. They need it now.

The two factors that govern change speed are the time in the change pipeline and the execution intervals.

Process improvements, process automation, and a better balance of discipline can help reduce the pipeline time.

The issue of intervals requires different thinking and more trust in change execution. These are big goals that require major cultural change. CIOs need to transition from spending lots of time and resources on infrastructure management to delivering quality software at hyper-speed.

But if IT organizations can’t make small changes successfully, how can they possibly make the sea change required to move at the speed of customer demand in today’s economy?

By automating everything and instilling DevOps principles across the organization. We’ve seen this work time and again, at more traditional organizations like GE and Nordstrom, to forward-leaning Big Web leaders like Facebook.

The next post will look deeper into the business transformation that has to take place in order to move faster and smarter.

Barry Crist

Barry Crist has more than 20 years of experience in driving enterprise customer success with open source and DevOps software solutions and is a recognized leader in driving a culture of innovation. Barry joined Chef as CEO in 2013 and has been a leading force behind the company’s business operations, culture and technology innovation.