Lean IT promises to identify and eradicate waste that otherwise contributes to poor customer service, lost business, higher than necessary business costs, and lost employee productivity. To these ends, Lean IT targets eight elements within IT operations that add no value to the finished product or service or to the parent organization (see Table 1).
|Waste Element||Examples||Business Outcome|
||Poor customer service, increased costs.|
||Business and IT misalignment, Increased costs and overheads: energy, data center space, maintenance.|
||Lost revenue, poor customer service, reduced productivity.|
|Non-Value Added Processing||
||Higher capital and operational expenses.|
||Increased costs: data center, energy; lost productivity.|
|Employee Knowledge (Unused)||
||Talent leakage, low job satisfaction, increased support and maintenance costs.|
Whereas each element in the table can be a significant source of waste in itself, linkages between elements sometimes create a cascade of waste (the so-called domino effect). For example, a faulty load balancer (waste element: Defects) that increases web server response time may cause a lengthy wait for users of a web application (waste element: Waiting), resulting in excessive demand on the customer support call center (waste element: Excess Motion) and, potentially, subsequent visits by account representatives to key customers’ sites to quell concerns about the service availability (waste element: Transportation). In the meantime, the company’s most likely responses to this problem — for example, introducing additional server capacity and/or redundant load balancing software), and hiring extra customer support agents — may contribute yet more waste elements (Overprovisioning and Excess Inventory).^ 1 Waterhouse, Peter. “Improving IT Economics: Thinking Lean& rdquo;. CA White Paper. November 2008.