Straight Talk on Project Management

IT service delivery roadmap

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Where will an IT Service Delivery Roadmap take you?

All IT Organisations should have an IT Service Delivery roadmap, and with the increased digitisation of most industries meaning that pretty soon every business will BE an IT Organisation – now might be a good time to consider yours.

Charities, for example, would probably not consider themselves to be IT Organisations. We recently had the privilege of working with Action For Children (AfC), a UK-based children’s charity providing services such as adoption, schools, residential homes, fostering, education and children’s centres, to more than 300,000 children, families, and young people. Not an IT organisation?

It’s essential that IT service improvements deliver real value when you are delivering such crucial services.

The headline benefit following the introduction of AfC’s IT SD roadmap was up to £800,000 reinvested back into their core operations over five years and a potential saving of 10% in operational costs.

Now, these are the kind of numbers that should make most C-suites sit up and take notice.

Creating and developing an IT Service Delivery roadmap will help you identify how to align strategic business goals with IT Projects, it will measure your current capabilities against those that will be needed and give you an effective forecast of IT needs during the lifecycle of the map.

You will emerge better – if you get it right.

So how do you make sure that you do?

The first thing I would say is that while creating and following an IT Service Deliver roadmap could be one of the most important strategic things you do this year, it should not be stressful, it should be joyful. When contemplating a roadmap, the end destination should lift your heart and inspire you.

Take time to visualise how good it will feel to get there, imagine the positive impact that such a change will bring to your business and how much better things will be. If you can’t get excited about the destination, then you have to question whether the journey is worth undertaking.

It should feel like you’re planning a jaunt to the South of France – think how easily you could get excited about that. Sure there’d be hold ups and delays and diversions along the way but they would be worth it because of ‘how good it will be when you get there’. In contrast, now visualise planning a trip to the dentist and imagine the same hold-ups and delays and diversions – a little harder to get excited about this trip, right?

If your IT roadmap feels like you’re planning a trip to the dentist – rethink your destination.

Sometimes, the destination doesn’t excite you but still it is of such key strategic importance that you have to undertake the journey. There are options available when this happens. The right Service Delivery Management provider, for example, can deliver quality service management, supplier management, contracts and negotiation, quality control and reporting. Guaranteed by KPIs and SLAs, using ITIL best practice service frameworks … you can still achieve maximum return when the roadmap fails to thoroughly ignite your passion.

Secondly, don’t do this alone. “Let’s Do This!” could be the most powerful mantra for your mission.

In my experience, many of the roadmaps I’ve had to rescue tend to be planned by one person without input from everyone involved.

Your IT Service Delivery roadmap should be developed using input from every area of your business that will be impacted by it. To get 100% stakeholder buy-in – first, make sure that you listen to their separate needs and concerns. Everyone, in every department, is there to achieve organisational objectives – if your mission even fractionally impedes the ability of one department to do this you will encounter resistance that could be fatal to your plan.

Thirdly, have a realistic time frame. Realistic in two ways;

i) What you want to achieve is possible within the time you have allocated.

ii) You don’t commit to a tech future that will be obsolete by the time you get to your destination.

I remember just a few years back many IT organisations would have a five-year roadmap, then many favoured three years, now a year is not uncommon. With the speed at which technology changes now, you may find that there is benefit to shorter term roadmaps … you should at least review longer plans annually.

Fourth, be specific and take time to really think about what the actual problem/opportunity is. The clearer the outcome, the easier it is to achieve.

For instance, you may still be running Windows XP on desktop PCs that take 15 minutes to boot up and sometimes longer to settle into an acceptable performance level. The obvious destination for your roadmap might be to migrate to a newer operating system or replace the PCs with Macs.

However, when you drill deeper into the issue you may find that end user frustration starts with the slow bootup but is amplified by being desk bound. When you interview staff, you may find that end users would like to access IT remotely – at the point where they are dealing with customers, for example. Just by peeling back one layer you expose the fact that desktop PCs, even ones with a fast boot up may be slowing down your operation and costing you in time and efficiency. Cloud-based software and tablets would be more suitable.

The best way to get this insight is to interview stakeholders but you can also try reframing your problem – re-stating it a number of times from different points of view – how your customer would describe your problem, for example, may be different to how back office staff inputting data would see it.

The clearer you are about what your destination will look like the clearer your roadmap will be to follow.

Creating an IT Service Delivery roadmap can be daunting. There are lots of pitfalls, potential for costly lock-ins to service providers that become obsolete and the service delivery market is an ever expanding universe of opportunity – there’s a lot of choice.

The right Service Delivery Management partner can help you create your map and help reduce costs. They can help you avoid ‘client lock-in’ from your service contracts and remove the burden of supplier-side service contract management and service reporting. You may find using a partner provides measurably better value.

In conclusion, and in response to the question “Where Will An IT Service Delivery Roadmap Take You?” the answer is ‘somewhere better than where you’re at now’.

It’s somewhere you will probably have to go to remain current and competitive – but the good news is you don’t have to go it alone.

Contact us to Find out more about how your business could benefit from a Service Delivery Assessment.

Find out more about Service Delivery Assessments from Stoneseed