IT branding is the process of building and improving the IT brand identity. This identity is shared by employees and groups that control the way they interact with each other, with stakeholders and with internal customers. It is a powerful tool in transforming the IT group into people who perform calculated, yet seemingly spontaneous, service delivery in the best interests of its internal customers.
This is part four of my series on IT branding. We have covered several perspectives on IT branding in the first three articles of this series. Part 1 talked about branding in general and how IT branding is linked to the Process Culture Maturity. In part two, the concept of IT branding was defined and how it was related to IT team culture. Part three talked about high quality IT service delivery as the best brand identity.
This post will delve more into the subject of IT branding, understand its key components and examine how it shapes the IT organization. The four key components of the IT brand, the four Ps — Promise, Practice, People and Performance, will be defined. These can be seen in the diagram below:
One establishes the IT brand by building trust in a promise about what the company does, what it stands for, what its vision is, and what added business value it can provide the internal customers and stakeholders. This is represented through the established IT vision and mission statement, customer value proposition and service offers. This promise must be developed by IT top management and its sponsors through extensive analysis of internal and external environment, interviews, and research. The Promise component of the IT branding process is achieved through vital scoping, visioning and strategic planning.
After writing the organization’s promise, the next step is to build the engine that will enable service delivery. This is the IT Practice – comprised of IT operating model, mode of service delivery and various other methodologies. It ensures that IT teams achieve optimum results and performance. It will define the discipline in which IT systems, operations, projects and evolution will be managed. However, this discipline should not be constrained to a particular use of a vendor’s product; rather, it should focus on providing a framework to structure IT related activities and the interaction of IT personnel with business customers and users.
The most important element of the IT brand is the People component. Everyone in IT must be in sync. For new team members, this is achieved through an adequate on-boarding process. For existing employees, ongoing organizational development and engagement initiatives will work. Communication is critical in this aspect. Top management must fully engage employees. It starts by communicating the Promise (IT mission and vision, strategy) and Practice (IT operating model and methodologies). Each team member must know his role and value in the overall service delivery system. It is important to note that the internal perception of the IT brand are affected by the IT team members’ behavior, and that one must therefore shape the IT team culture in ways that encourage IT brand-committed actions on the part of all IT employees.
As discussed in part three of my articles on IT branding—what is central to IT branding is the relentless pursuit of quality IT services. Organizations build its IT brand by living up to its promise. IT teams strengthen its IT brand by relentlessly improving its IT brand promise. The surest way to do this is improving performance. IT managers must define key performance indicators to monitor performance against objectives. Measuring the success of IT branding initiatives is challenging; however, it is essential that every effort be made to measure results versus targets set forth.
A Final Note:
One’s perception of the IT service is often reduced to a phone conversation with a helpdesk service agent. IT branding depends on each and every individual working in the IT organization—the “People”—from the top, the CIO to middle IT managers then to the frontline helpdesk service agents. It is important that all IT personnel are in sync because the service brand is all about them. It is strengthened by the established “Promise” and “Practices” that enables IT organization to deliver with high “Performance”.
5 thoughts on “Promise, Practice, People and Performance- Four Key Components of IT Branding (Branding IT Organizations Part 4)”
the relationship of the four dimension seems to be like this – people create the performance that delivers the promise to improve the practice. yun. meanwhile, on an aside… i have never seen a fully functional and hitch free hr information system! yun. also, i have yet to meet an hr professional who says otherwise. we all suffer with bad hris! yun. does that help your article? is it even remotely related? hehe.
I think it is interesting that you give IT a more non-generic dimension. Most of us who are not in the IT business tend to think of our “IT experience” as no more than the department that provides us with Internet connection and makes sure that our systems are in order. Your article, more broadly — your series on IT branding, makes me see that this view is very very flawed. Your articles always provide people like me a new appreciation for IT. Thanks.
I also reiterate my previous comment that I think your perspectives on IT branding can be applied not only to IT but also other organizations in Marketing services, Human Resources, etc.
I agree with Rambling. This is a topic about any kind of organization and not only IT. However what maybe makes so attractive this idea for IT Managers is the fact that in most of the cases their image is well down below their expectations. Then it is a great challenge for all the professional like us.
Paco, first of all thanks for comments. It has been awhile. Hope everything is good. Thanks!
I think branding (for internal customers) not only applies to IT but may apply to other areas in the company as well — finance, human resources, marketing, etc. These service departments can make use of IT methodologies to implement improvements in their processes and services.