By Torben B. Sørensen
A tactics board inspired by the world of soccer has given the CIO at DSB a new approach for working strategically with IT – from the defense, over the midfield, up to the offense.
Martin Börjesson from DSB became very enthusi- astic when he opened the small package from NNIT. The package contained a video player with a personal message for him: A message from the CE of NNIT, Per Kogut, stating that the IT function is undergoing a change and that NNIT had a tool that could help him manage that very process of change.
“I felt that Per was talking directly to me. That was important. I guess I have seen the video 100 times, and I have shown it to colleagues, friends, and family,” CIO (Chief Information Officer) at DSB, Martin Börjesson, says.
As a follow-up on this video message, he received the tactics board NNIT Playmaker. This is a board that looks like the ones used by soccer coaches to plan their strategy before an important game. However, the soccer players have been replaced by IT resources.
Two NNIT consultants, who Martin Börjesson already knew from the cooperation between NNIT and DSB, came to pay him a visit. They went over the tactics board together and discussed how it could be used to visualize the current IT situation at DSB.
“The board is divided into three zones: Defense, midfield, and offense. This is a good way of organizing it. The defense includes the day-to- day IT operations, for example. This has to be in place before you go for the offense,” Martin Börjesson says.
The symbolism appealed to Martin Börjesson in particular because he has extensive experience as a soccer player. It, therefore, came naturally to him to apply the metaphors of the tactics board.
“When our meeting ended, we had drawn all over the board and placed the resources on it. I also got to tell NNIT how they should develop in the future in order to support the development that DSB is experiencing at the moment,” he says.
This development goes from IT primarily being an operations supplier to IT becoming a business partner pointing out and creating new opportunities.
“Traditionally, the CIO has focused on minimizing the costs. It was mostly a matter of money coming in and going out. Now, however, the role is more focused on developing the business and enhancing innovation through digitalization,” Martin Börjesson says.
In other words, the IT Manager moves from the defense to the offense.
“DSB is experiencing a development where an increasing part of our products and services become digitalized. This is both in relation to our customers, the internal business processes and the cooperation with our partners. With regard to IT, we look for instance at how we can help make our customers apply even more self-service,” Martin Börjesson says.
However, any such approach in the offensive zone is only possible if the defense is in place. In this connection, he believes that an outsourcing supplier such as NNIT may play an important role:
“If we are to deliver a digitalized product, the underlying architecture, operation, and security must be in place. Here, NNIT can support our innovation by helping with the operation so that the IT function can move up the field and concen- trate on delivering more business value,” he says.
He sees the Playmaker initiative as a sign of NNIT wishing to care for their customer relations at a deeper level. This is further emphasized by the fact that the tactics board is customized for DSB: There are DSB and NNIT billboards on the sides and the board has 11 focus areas printed on it for DSB to focus on.
“The board is a great help and reminder – it makes sure that we get all the way around and that we do not only focus on one element at the expense of the others,” he says.
Martin Börjesson explains that the overall challenges at DSB in 2015 look a lot like the ones that his IT function is facing, for instance the build-up of new skills where the organization will become better at managing tender procedures and contracts with several suppliers.
“On the IT side, we will need more cloud integra- tion. This will require a new set of skills on our part – but also with NNIT as our supplier,” he says. He expects that the future has more systems in store that will be built as a combination of cloud services and local IT.
The tactics board has made him more aware of a particular element: IT security is a component of the defense.
“We put an increasing amount of operations- critical functionality into our IT systems. It is, therefore, even more important that we are able to manage our access control and encryption. This is also relevant to the cloud – we must remember to include security when we consider the cloud,” Martin Börjesson says.
NNIT has provided many other CIOs with Playmaker tactics boards. The aim is to demon- strate how NNIT has a holistic view of the business with a consulting approach.
Martin Börjesson calls the Playmaker a “super initiative”.
“It establishes another kind of relation between me as a client and NNIT as a sparring partner,” he says.