Value Streams and IT Strategy

What is a Value Stream?

The terms Value Stream and Value Chain are often used interchangeably in many different overlapping contexts with slightly different and/or overlapping meanings. When i think and talk about Value Streams i’m thinking in terms of value streams as defined within the Business Architecture Book of Knowledge (BIZBOK),

Why are Value Streams useful when creating an IT Strategy?

Value streams are useful for a number of reasons:

  1. They provide another layer of analysis in addition to our analysis of the business context and business model e.g. through techniques like business environment modelling/PESTLE etc and Business Model Canvas
  2. Using Value streams (ideally off the back of having defined your key Value Propositions) is a great way of starting to break down your analysis of the business and focus on what truly matters, which is delivery of value to stakeholders, without getting distracted by other organisational constructs such as org structures and hierarchies. Why is that useful? because an IT Strategy should focus on maximising the value flowing through a Value Stream and not focus on serving individual organisational structures
  3. Value Streams are easy and relatively quick to create and when done well easily resonate with stakeholders
  4. Value Streams as a technique and concept tessellate very nicely with other techniques that are really useful when defining an IT Strategy, including Value Propositions, Business Capability Models and Wardley Maps
  5. Value Streams help indicate which Business Capabilities are required to deliver customer value, which then helps inform our Business Capability Model, which then helps us think strategically about how IT helps deliver those capabilities in order to help deliver the Value Stream. The diagram below provides an example of mapping a loan acquisition Value Stream and then using it to identify the key Business Capabilities that support each value stream step

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