Written By

John Vancil



Written By

John Vancil



Stay up-to-date with OST blog posts.

March 16, 2015

(As promised during my FY16 Kickoff Presentation, I have packaged up my remarks as a blog entry for The Kitchen.)

At kickoff this year, Meredith talked about the train analogy.  How are we going to keep the train running, lay the track ahead and plan the route to get to California, all at the same time?  I am going to talk a lot about planning the route and laying the track.  But it is important that we all understand that everything out in front of us is built upon what we are doing today already…. Our future is evolutionary, not revolutionary!

In my life, and in yours there have been many disruptive events and technologies.  9/11 was an extremely disruptive event.  Columbine and Sandy Hook were both hugely disruptive as well.  The Challenger disaster… Oil and other petrochemical volatility…  We have seen geopolitical disruptions, national disruptions and local disruptions.  Big and small.  But I am going to use technical disruption to make my point, as it is near and dear to all of us.  Without doubt there have been more disruptions spurred by amazing advances in technology than many of us ever might have believed in our youth.

Here is my theory – unburdened by research…  The most disruptive technology in my life to date is the smart phone.  Actually, the smart phone combined with the internet to be more precise.  Just think about a few of the things it has disrupted…


Remember the old television with the hand crank dial to change the channel?  So that you could watch any of three (3!) channels?  (Four if you lived where you could pick up PBS over UHF!) The heights of technology in their day.  Actually that was my first job – Remote control.  My dad would say “Boy… get you butt over there and change that thing to channel 13”.  Television was delivered over the air until the mid-seventies – and then it transitioned to cable.  And now you had oodles of channels (although you could still only watch one at a time) and the picture was better!  But it did not stop there.  We don’t even need the TV anymore because we can do it all on our smart phone or tablet.  And the technology practically killed the rental DVD industry… and now we have streaming video that we can get anywhere we have the bandwidth.


Here’s another one.  Do you remember vinyl record albums?  This is how music used to be distributed… for over a hundred years in various forms.  Then we had eight track tapes… cassette tapes, compact disks… then MP3… and MP3 led us to the iPod and the Shuffle and walking around with earphones permanently attached to our ears.

Getting run over by buses…

Then a huge disruption… you could listen to music other people had bought for free on Napster!  You did not have to pay for the music and there was SO MUCH OF IT!  Until Law enforcement got involved.  And Apple gave us iTunes so we could easily buy and play our music… no physical media.  And now we have Spotify and Google Music and a host of new offerings…

Printed Books

One more example… books.  The combination of the internet and then the evolution to smart phones/tablets were hugely disruptive to the brick and mortar book stores.  I walk around today with a kindle which currently has 110 books on it.  If those were all hardbacks that would be 196 pounds of books… think about that!  And I can read any of them on my smartphone or my tablet as well, whenever I want!

So… the smart phone and the internet – evolutionary disruption to the existing and through them revolutionary disruption to our social world!  Just think of Facebook and Twitter and the myriad number of ways we can connect and communicate today.  And there is more disruption ongoing and ahead.

So… why all the discussion of disruption?  Because it is going on today everywhere within the business world, and it is happening faster and faster and we need to recognize that and be proactive in our approach to the change… because disruption that changes our clients will of necessity change OST.  HP calls it the “New Style of IT”; Gartner calls it the same.  We need to understand how this change is affecting our clients and through them us.

So what are we talking about?  What is this change and what does it mean to the client?  I have some notes here so that I make sure I get this right…

  • Instant Connection to Information – Anytime Anywhere
  • Spending pressures paired with higher expectations – Outcomes
  • Security – Security is everything and everywhere.
  • Converged everything – structured and unstructured – distributed and centralized – it is a new definition of Converged.  We are talking about the capability to gather together disparate structured and unstructured data and build a story that could not previously have been understood – in real time.
  • The need for solutions which are Cross functional / Cross platform / Seamless using commodity parts and pieces

And the business disrupts their IT organization.  Now business is requiring the following from IT:

  • Business Outcomes – not plumbing – not lights. A partner to deliver business value and help drive competitive advantage.
  • An Innovative client experience – User centered design – to be engaged stakeholders
  • Architecture changes which extend top to bottom and end to end of the stack. The cloud is just the beginning.
  • Changing the IT service provided to a business focus – Availability (Cloud), Security, Big Data / Data Analytics and whenever wherever access and display. It is not just a matter of servers and storage, more a matter of outcomes.
  • It used to be that IT was tasked with running the business… now it is being asked to help the business deliver… to impact and drive outcomes. That is a big difference, and it is disruptive to IT… and it is disruptive to business and therefore it is disruptive to OST.
  • Enterprise IT needs to be driving up into the business and WE NEED TO GET THERE FIRST… and maybe we need to help enterprise IT get there!

Regardless of how it feels, this is not revolutionary it is evolutionary.  As with the disruption discussed before most of it is transformative.  Everything builds upon the past…

So, let’s focus a bit – what does this all really mean?  Here is the deal… according to Gartner, in 2014 54% of IT spend happened in the line of business… so that means that 46% happened in IT.  In 2020 they estimate that 90% of the spend will happen in the Line of Business.

90% in 2020

In 2020, 90% of the IT spend will happen in the Line of Business.

What does this mean for OST?

  • It means that the audience for the OST message is changing.
  • It means that we need to be talking to the line of business and providing business value.
  • And the Line of Business expects us to know about their business and their vertical.

And it is important to realize that the Line of Business looks to OST to add high level consultative value focused on business outcomes. 

What do I mean when I say Line of Business?  Essentially these are the sub organizations and departments (and their leaders) outside of IT.  So, the CFO and Finance team… the Director of Manufacturing and the manufacturing team… the CMO and Marketing team… the Executive Vice President of Sales and his team etc.

90% in 2020

In 2020, 90% of the IT spend will happen in the Line of Business.

The brain of the average CIO these days is a jumbled up mess.  IT is full of catchphrases and technical directions and marketing terms and all the stuff that Gartner and Forrester and Accenture tells him he should be thinking about.  Imagine that if it is this jumbled p in the CIO’s head how it must look for the line of business leader?  What if we could take the jumbled up mess here and figuratively press a link and make it all make sense?  Provide our clients with a path through this mess?  Does that provide real business value?  You bet it does!

We can do this… we can do this.  And in order to do this OST is already;

  • Changing our habits. Being disruptive to ourselves.
  • Learning to work together – the team must prevail – the individual practitioner becomes less relevant
  • And learning to work across traditional boundaries. We must combine our smart, motivate people into cohesive, cross functional teams – At some point in the future I believe it is possible that we will not have an “App Dev practice”, and a “DCS practice…” each with their own focus and methodology.  Instead we will have Centers of Excellence – quite possibly vertically aligned – who cross and morph and come together and separate and flow to focus on solutions and outcomes for our clients.

Okay great (I hear you asking) but what does this mean for me?  Where am I going?  What do I need to do to get there?  What is OST going to look like?  We need to continue evolve to pull this off. Let me describe what I believe it will look like…

  • Our OST technical leaders will be able to cross teams and disciplines and provide consultative direction to our clients which covers the breadth of the services we can bring to bear. They will know how to help to develop and grow consultants who fit the needs of our clients.
  • Consultants will understand business better and know how to communicate with clients at a different level in the business while maintaining the ability to talk feeds and speeds and database structure with the IT team. This means different skills and knowledge.  It means effective listening skills – and design thinking – and a knowledge of business practices and measures.
  • Our Solutions architects, TAMS and Managing Consultants will be able to speak effectively to the business needs; to help to structure sales and solution design efforts to focus on Outcomes and to know how to imagine combined OST and partner capabilities being aimed at our client’s business needs.
  • Our Sales team will be able to speak effectively to the business needs; to structure sales efforts to focus on Outcomes and to be able to work closely with the consulting and practices teams to imagine combined OST capabilities being aimed at our client’s business needs. Our sales team will learn to be even more effective at getting to the business leaders and decision makers.  Our sales team will be highly effective at managing the sales endeavor across client, partner, team and geographic boundaries. Our sales team will continue to be entrepreneurial and will lead the combined, client, partner and OST dance with excellence.
  • Our operations team will be faster and extremely flexible and nimble. Able to quickly and accurately pivot to serve the needs of the sales team, delivery team, client and OST.  The operations team will grow their capability to be an enabler for the entire OST ecosystem and will learn to look at the data which describes our business and derive real, actionable and effective improvement at all levels.
  • We will all learn to see things from a customer centric approach… to design and think with design at the forefront
  • We will all understand the OST business better too… What we do in App Dev, and DCS, and Managed Services and ERP and Data Analytics – and how those disciplines support, complement and enhance each other.

And we will do so while maintaining and enhancing the value that the OST culture brings to each and every one of us.

90% of IT spend will come from the line of business in 2020

Why do we think we can do this?  Our People.  We believe that when we hire the best, most motivated people and set them loose they can do anything!  Our culture aligns directly to us being nimble, creative, responsive and proactive.

But our culture isn’t just an OST to everyone thing… it doesn’t just flow from Meredith or Jim or John to the organization.  It must come from everyone to everyone.  Serve with Humility… these are not just words.  What can I do to help someone else to be successful?

Examples of where we do this today:

  • Chris sends an email on a Saturday requesting assistance and gets 23 responses.
  • Glenn’s wife falls and badly breaks her leg and the Managed Services team rallies to their needs.
  • Recent example – DRT Data protector licensing issue… Dianna started it… but had to leave so Sara picked it up. Licenses arrived but didn’t work for Bhaskar.  New licenses show up but Bhaskar is on another client and then vacation so Craig jumps in.  Craig has never done it before so Aaron jumps in to help him out.  Amy is coordinating for Greg and Adam.  Brent is providing support and encouragement.  Huge team effort to do something seemingly so simple.
  • Matt Pince invites the Menkveld’s over for Thanksgiving because they were new in town.
  • Stephen Dykson volunteering to build cabinets (like six of them) for Lisa
  • (Names changed… true story) Fred is going on vacation and wants to unplug. But there are some big things going down that might happen while he is gone.  So Fred talks to Ethel and says “here is my wife’s cell phone number… if that stuff starts going down call her and she will get me”.  So Fred serves others by making sure that he can be available if the big stuff goes down… and Ethel serves Fred by making sure he isn’t disturbed for anything less.
  • Dan Kilpatrick stopping whatever he is doing to help Lisa Myers unload her car. At all hours of the day.
  • Huge meeting with Volkswagen gets rescheduled by the client, conflicting with another meeting with one of Dan’s customers. Dan steps up and reschedules his meeting to accommodate the Volkswagen meeting.
  • Serving each other with humility. Serving each other.  This is a huge part of the OST Culture.

 What Guides Our Behavior? – Simple;

  • Honor or people and their families first, clients second, and the rest will fall into place.
  • Delight our Clients
  • Serve with Humility
  • Embrace entrepreneurship and innovation

We all need to embody these values – not just “the company”.

Call to action:

So… we know where we are today and what we are doing well – and we need to keep doing that well!  And we know where we are going to be in 2020… and at least somewhat what we need to look like when we get there.  Now we need to figure out how we are going to lay that track.


Our world is being disrupted.  Our client’s worlds are being disrupted.  We see what is coming so I will ask you all to think about these three questions:

  1. What are you doing to prepare yourself?
  2. What are you doing to prepare others?
  3. What are you doing to prepare OST?

Make it Happen – Make it Matter

90% in 2020

Thanks!  John V.



Stay up-to-date with OST blog posts.

About the Author

John Vancil, OST’s Director of Enterprise Services, has been with OST since 2009. He oversees a wide cross-section of teams here and leverages his leadership, business knowledge and technical expertise to drive sales and key enterprise projects. John’s academic achievements include gaining a BS in computer science and MS in information systems management, and he has served in a variety of leadership capacities at organizations ranging from Electronic Data Systems (EDS) to Nucraft Furniture. When he’s not accelerating projects at OST or contributing on the MISTEM Network Advisory Council, John enjoys fly fishing, composing and recording original music and traveling with his family.