Valuable Tripods

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
Ernest Hemingway

Throughout this blog, I talk of linchpins, the people within an organisation that make most of the connections and add most of the value to their organisation. These individuals are usually quite rare in an OSS organisation and it is the responsibility of the organisation to cultivate growing numbers of linchpins.

I also refer to these people as tripods because they generally have three key characteristics, whereas their counterparts tend to have only one or maybe two of the three. A tripod has a deep enough understanding of all of the following to be able to make valuable connections across these domains:

  1. IT / Technology / Systems – Databases, servers, high-availability architectures, programming, SDLC, application integrations, etc
  2. Operations – network technologies/topologies, operational processes, CSP organisation structures
  3. Business Value – building assets that add value to the organisation, that bring competitive advantages, that strengthen the organisation’s brand

It is common for individuals to have skills in item 1 or 2. It is quite rare for technical staff to have a solid understanding of both. But it is rarer still for the technically proficient to also be able to consider the technical merits of an OSS but in terms of how they are adding value to the business.

If you are installing an OSS that costs $100M for example or $10M or even $1M, that’s a lot of new customer services or efficiency gains that must be produced to justify the expenditure.

In the past, OSS could be justified as being an insurance policy, preventing the risk of damage to the CSP’s brand. This is still the case, but there also appears to be an industry-wide trend of having to demonstrate tangible business benefits as well.

Are you a tripod? What are you doing to help develop more tripods in your organisation?

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