I.T. STRATEGY CONSULTING
When cost reductions of the classic kind no longer allow much potential, it makes sense to focus upon process optimisation and the role of I.T. as a supporter of business processes. An important instrument for this is the development of an I.T. strategy, which, derived from the classic corporate strategy, defines the ‘roadmap’ for I.T. i.e. which services and which programmes are to be delivered and when. It is the norm for each company and organisation to have individual structures and specific processes, it does not make sense therefore to roll out one ‘Do it all’ strategy to every company.
Recently, the product portfolio of the large I.T. system houses with their normally large ERP systems has changed considerably. Whereupon a few years ago it would have been unthinkable to store one's data in the Cloud, today Cloud Applications have greatly overtaken on-site installations.
I.T. Strategy – What Does it Mean and Why is it so Important?
Requirements for mobility, analysis of data and processes, development of new products through rapid adaptation of processes in ERP software, greater focus on I.T. Security and its availability, these are all topics that have a greater impact today than in the past.
An I.T. Strategy should establish the framework for I.T. use in the future. The requirements of users who are familiar with applications on mobile devices in the private environment, a majority of which are much more user-friendly, are increasing significantly for the use of ERP Software or company software.
What can the I.T. Strategy achieve? It helps companies, public authorities and service providers to establish a clear picture of the challenges of digitalisation and the status of their own I.T. The I.T. Strategy helps to show which programmes and which I.T. Applications are in which Life-Cycle and when a replacement or renewal is necessary.
Developing and Implementing an I.T. Strategy - What Service do You Receive?
Procedure model in three sections (3 blocks) for I.T. Strategy.
The process model we use for I.T. Strategy Development has been tested in practice and consistently delivers the desired results within a short time frame. We start with the preparation of the I.T. Strategy, which we call the ‘Ramp-Up’ phase. In this phase, the team is defined, the timeline set and various necessary project management tasks are carried out.
Above all, an important point is to identify the goal of the I.T. Strategy: Why is an I.T. Strategy being developed and what information should it provide? In this context, it is also important to distinguish what elements are not included - what is not within the content and remit of the I.T. Strategy.
We understand the development of an I.T. Strategy as analogous to a project within which a ‘Roadmap’ inclusive of Milestones and Work Packages must be defined. A rough estimate of the effort and time required by the staff involved is also drawn up at this early stage. All team members know their roles and their value contribution to this I.T. Strategy development at the start of the first stage and at Step 1.
Step 1: Status Quo
- I.T. Organisation
- I.T. Service
- Projects / Budgets
Step 2: Requirements
- Analysis of Corporate Strategy
- Status of Digitalisation
- I.T. Security
- I.T. Vision
Step 3: Application Strategy
- Applications Portfolio
- Applications Life Cycle
Step 4: Sourcing Strategy
- Sourcing - Strategy Definition
- Cloud / Hybrid / 'On Premise' Strategy
Step 5: I.T. Organisation
- Demand / Supply
- Personal / Skill Management
- I.T. Mobility
- I.T. Governance
- I.T. Security
Step 6: Roll Out
- Project Portfolio Management
- I.T. Roadmap
- I.T. Budget
Step 7: Ensure Success
- Define Objectives & Key Results (OkR)
- Define Communication
- Use Change Management
Where Are You and Your Company Today in Relation to an I.T. Strategy?
Step 1: Determining the 'Status Quo'. We work with the team to determine the maturity level of I.T. use to date. The I.T. Organisation, the I.T. Service, the I.T. Applications (mostly ERP Software), as well as the characteristics both previous and future I.T. projects are examined and presented as a result. Strengths and Weaknesses become clear very quickly and give indications of possible focal points.
Step 2: Analysis of the Corporate Strategy is used as the basis and derivation of challenges for the I.T. Strategy. The classic instruments such as ‘Porter's 5-Forces Competitive Analysis’ as well as portfolio management tools are used. In the process, the business processes and the requirements of the customers for the services as well as the expected value-added processes for the customer are examined within the specialised departments. From this, an initial vision of an I.T. strategy is developed.
Design the I.T. Strategy
Step 3: Design Application Theory. Based on the information and data collected and available, the life-cycle of individual applications is presented and completed with the help of Portfolio Management. Based on this assessment of the maturity level of an application, an evaluation is made for all applications in use. This usually includes the assessment of core programmes such as ERP Software, Associated extensions, Independent Third-Party programmes and Infrastructure programmes. From this, means and courses of action develop such as: Continue Use, Replace, Modernise (Upgrade). These options for action are given the parameters of Time and Priority and ordered in a Programme Roadmap. The result is a representation of what a future application Portfolio and Programme landscape oriented to the new challenges should look like, based upon a Status Quo analysis.
Step 4: Define Source Strategy (Cloud-Strategy) Definition. In this step, the I.T. strategy is elaborated in the context of sourcing or a possible co-operation with external partners. Fundamental questions about the use of Cloud solutions, 'Make-or-Buy' scenarios, Hybrid solutions for mixed operation in the own data centre or with external service providers, as well as necessary service level agreements are part of the outcome of the sourcing strategy.
Step 5: Requirements for the I.T. Organisation and I.T. Governance Within the Framework of an I.T. Strategy. Based on the future requirements to support the business processes, it is shown how the I.T. strategy can be implemented on the basis of the Demand/Supply model. It is taken into account that all business goals are reflected in the requirements of the I.T. strategy. Within the framework of I.T. Governance, it is checked whether the relevant requirements of the GDPR, Data Security and I.T. Security are taken into account in the development of the I.T. Strategy. The role of the head of I.T. (CIO) is also defined in this process. In companies with several locations, the question is also clarified as to which services are performed centrally and which I.T. services are performed at satellite locations. This is also examined with relation to the support of business applications (e.g. ERP software). Based on a Gap Analysis, the derived personnel strategy will show whether the employees with the right skills can make the future I.T. strategy effective.
Step 6: Implementation of the I.T. Strategy Commences ...The creation of a ‘Roadmap’ starts on the basis of the previous steps 1 through 5 and shows which measures and projects need to be in the pipeline for the next 3-5 years. Based upon this Roadmap, an approximate cost estimate is created and carefully inspected to ensure all measures are both realistic and financially feasible. With the help of Portfolio Management, an assessment and prioritisation of 'upcoming projects' is carried out. This ensures that only those projects are realised that offer the company a Competitive Advantage.
Step 7: In order to successfully implement an I.T. Strategy, it is important to define the Success Criteria, Milestones and KPIs. For this purpose, the ‘OKR methodology’ is used to define the KPIs. Communication to staff and project participants is aligned and linked to the ‘Roadmap’, both technically and in relation to anticipated time frame. Measures for supporting and accompanying the employees in change management are worked out and are thus available to the management for the decision on the adoption of the I.T. Strategy.
What do You Get from Us?
- A site assessment through I.T. Inventory in the sense of a product-life cycle for the individual software packages and solutions.
- Information on the assessment of when which system should or must be replaced for technical or functional reasons.
- You receive information about the implementation of your corporate strategy in the I.T. Strategy in order to map the customer requirements of the future.
- You will receive advice on the automation of standardisable processes and cost savings or efficiency increases of business cases with a view to digitalisation requirements.
- You will receive best practice tips for the optimisation of I.T. Structures, I.T. Cost Reduction Potentials and for I.T. Service Management. What effort is reasonable and what service level should your I.T. Strategy define for the support of both your Employees and Customers.
- You will receive a detailed report with instructions for action and an implementable action plan for an I.T. Strategy that meets the digital challenges.