The 7 Core Principles of a Continuous Value Office (CVO)

In our previous blog post we provided an overview of a digital services delivery model we refer to as the Continuous Value Office (CVO). A CVO is a next-generation approach to providing consistent, standardized delivery of as-a-service offerings. In this blog, we dive deeper into the principles of how a CVO can facilitate federal digital services delivery outcomes.

The CVO: Responding quickly and reliably to changing business needs

Federal CIOs are focused on helping their organization embrace the idea of the digital enterprise. They are taking bold steps toward emerging tech and championing institutional change. Creating and communicating the vision of digital transformation includes evolving legacy products and services and merging new technologies to achieve mission goals. A CVO ensures that IT can quickly and reliably respond to the changing needs of the business with optimized yet highly standardized solutions.

Consider a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). The SDDC approach allows elasticity and on-demand infrastructure services such as storage, network, and compute. The CVO is the centralized organizational unit that generates the policies, blueprints, and other support assets that ensure the SDDC services are planned, delivered, monitored, and measured in an effective and transparent way.

Everything that goes into the design of an SDDC is directed from the CVO, but the SDDC is just one example of the service portfolio managed out of the CVO. The CVO manages the flow of services from inception to retirement so that technology solutions can be deployed as needed, when needed, and billed only for what is used. A CVO is the strategic enabler of the IT services that map to business requirements.

7 core principles of any CVO

Several factors drive the success of any CVO, including a need for strong leadership, a well-defined change management strategy, a way to redefine and standardize IT, and a strategic plan aligned to the mission or business. A CVO is the internal services provider for the enterprise regardless of whether applications and services are built in-house or outsourced. The following are seven core principles of any CVO.

Principle #1: A CVO institutionalizes service management

Effective structured service management is relatively rare in federal IT environments for many reasons and that makes it difficult to institutionalize. For example, IT is generally viewed as a cost center, and changing that perception to a valued strategic partner is a complex exercise in change management – something that federal agencies typically struggle with. But it’s not just an unwillingness to change, it’s also the fact that federal IT shops are usually mixed groups of contractors integrated with federal staff and leadership, all potentially understanding IT service delivery slightly differently. A CVO is the service delivery model that institutionalizes a common service management approach across the enterprise.

Principle #2: A CVO evolves and automates X-as-a-Service Catalogs

Service management requires standardized approaches to the design, delivery, and sustainment of all services – delivered in a consistent way. That consistency is what creates sustainability. Consider the analogy of an orchestra. No matter what music is played, the orchestra must read from the same sheet of music and each instrument plays a unique part in delivering a masterpiece.

In this analogy, our instruments are senior-level executive support and leadership, aligned roles and organizational structure, KPIs focused on service outcomes, an Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), and IT Service Management (ITSM). Each “instrument” is aligned to mission outcomes as well as business practices, procedures, metrics, tools, and a governance framework that supports all services in the catalog. A CVO is the service delivery model that evolves and automates a standardized approach to X-as-a-Service.

Principle #3: A CVO focuses IT on customer experience

Customer experience can make or break a business or technical service. No matter how impressive a piece of technology, if the customer experience is poor, the technology investment will not achieve its intended objective.

ACT-IAC’s October 2020 release of Agenda 2021 – Building Outcomes, Building Trust says it well:

“Learning what users need and how well the government is meeting these needs is not a one-time or annual effort. Feedback must be captured continually, in real-time at the point of service, and it must be actionable – teams must be structured for flexibility and responsiveness. If data is collected only sporadically, it can’t be used to understand how to quickly pivot and meet emerging needs, or what investments are required to address shortcoming in service delivery.”

Customer experience is a cornerstone of any IT strategy.  A key role of any CVO is to establish mechanism for successful interaction with a variety of service user groups to shape service improvement and delivery.

Principle #4: A CVO generates financial transparency

The Technology Business Management (TBM) framework is central to the CVO model. The TBM Council describes financial transparency as the revelation of cost and cost drivers of services. Transparency applies to IT resources, benefits, cost, and choices. The CVO delivers value management that spans supply and demand to enable the fact-based tradeoff decisions needed to optimize spending and accelerate change. Transparency leads to better decision making and the CVO is the service delivery model that generates financial transparency for value creation.

Principle #5: A CVO balances risk/security posture

Balancing IT risk requires that CIOs, CTOs, and other senior IT executives must have a deeper understanding of how technology touches employees, partners, customers, and other stakeholders. Achieving success in the context of security posture requires a clear strategy and ongoing attention to strategic as well as tactical elements of IT architecture. Agile, DevSecOps, and actionable, real time enterprise architecture are fundamental to the CVO model, and those established mechanisms provide the means to architect systems that reduce exposure and balance risk.

Principle #6: A CVO ensures stability and adaptability of mission systems

Getting in front of demand allows CIOs to plan for and adapt to change. This results in better alignment between the demand and the supply of IT and business services. By embracing the mission, supply of services can be better focused on value. A CVO manages the stability and adaptability of mission systems by getting in front of demand for services.

Principle #7: A CVO enables mission innovation

Delivering IT services starts with understanding business needs and a CVO absorbs those needs with building blocks that can be combined and deployed to meet mission requirements, quickly and accurately. Through a loosely coupled but tightly integrated mesh of internally designed, developed and/or brokered mission-focused services allows for the integration of innovative emerging technologies. A CVO drives innovation, leverages emerging technology, and achieves mission goals by engaging the business of mission to shape technology supply.


Making the leap to a digital services delivery model is tremendously beneficial to organizations, but change is complicated. Agility, flexibility, disruption, and transformation are paramount for all things digital, and for organizations where risk aversion is second nature, approach matters.

In summary, the principles of a CVO are the following:

  1. Institutionalizes service management
  2. Evolves and automates X-as-a-Service Catalogs
  3. Focuses IT on customer experience
  4. Generates financial transparency
  5. Balances risk/security posture
  6. Ensures stability and adaptability of mission systems
  7. Enables mission innovation