During the summer I wrote about where an IT Service Delivery Roadmap may take you. Thanks for some great feedback especially to my conclusion ‘somewhere better than where you’re at now’.
Having addressed ‘where’ it could take you let’s take a look at ‘how’ you put together an IT Service Delivery roadmap. The following is by no means an exhaustive ‘to do’ list but it should give you a starting point and an idea of what is needed.
Remember too that you don’t have to go it alone. Creating an IT Service Delivery roadmap can be daunting. There are lots of potential pitfalls and the service delivery market is an ever expanding universe of opportunity – there’s a lot of choice – so what you choose today might not be the best solution in a year.
With that in mind, my first advice would be to start with a mindset that you are going to avoid costly lock-ins to service providers.
1 – Avoid Costly Lock-ins
The ITSD market is ‘buyer beware’ territory. It’s a sea of great vendors but there are some sharks.
The right Service Delivery Management partner can help you avoid ‘client lock-in’ from your service contracts and remove the burden of supplier-side service contract management and service reporting. Using a partner can provide measurably better value in this regard.
Right, so you have your ‘buyer beware’ head on. Let’s press on.
2 – Plan in Pieces
One of my quirkier IT colleagues calls this the ‘Chunk It Don’t Flunk It’ stage. I love that. Incremental improvements are more manageable and they add up fast. Any task is more easily achieved when sliced into individual measurable stages, the more key to your business strategy the task is the more you should go at it in this way. Your ITSD roadmap could be one of the most important investments you make this year – ‘Chunk It Don’t Flunk It’.
3 – Off The Shelf or Do It Your Self
It’s worth doing a thorough investigation of the ITSD market to see if there is a ‘plug and play’ solution to your challenges. Many ITSD roadmaps don’t meet their desired destination because it turns out that a solution exists that is better than the one that the team is toiling to develop. Why re-invent the wheel?
4 – Where Are You Now?
“Got to ask yourself the question, where are you now?”. This James Blunt lyric always pops into my head when I think of this crucial stage of the ITSD roadmap. It’s no coincidence that it’s from the song ‘Wise Men’ – plotting where are you now could be one of the wisest things to do on your ITSD roadmap journey.
Map your current IT capabilities, document pain points, identify drivers, review existing resources … really get to know the state of your IT estate. The best way to set off to where you want to go is to know where you’re starting from.
The right ITSD partner can really help here by identifying issues and opportunities that you may have become blind to. A fresh pair of eyes can make a huge difference at this stage.
5 – To Be or Not to Be. That IS the question
Once you know where you’re starting from you can interview stakeholder groups to get a firm grip on where you all want to go. Your ITSD roadmap should be closely aligned to your business strategy and everyone should be clear on the intentions. Like setting off on an actual journey, if you’re heading to London but someone in the car is expecting to get out in Newcastle they’re going to be disappointed.
You need to really pin down what the end destination of your ITSD roadmap will be, how it feel and what will have been achieved.
6 – Gap Analysis
Between where you’re at now and where you want to be is the journey that your ITSD roadmap will help you navigate. One of the biggest mistakes that teams make is that they fail to measure the gap between the two and identify how they will bridge them. This can be hard – you don’t know all the potential solutions so you could miss out on the one that is perfect for you.
The right ITSD partner will help with a knowledge of state of the art solutions and cutting edge processes.
7 – Get Cracking
“The best way out is always through,” so wrote poet Robert Frost who would have made a great ITSD manager! He’s right. The mobilisation part of the ITSD roadmap is where the magic happens. It’s the part where all your great plans come into being and where you will be tested to the limit. It is the most rewarding part of the journey and the most gruelling. You don’t have to do it alone. Don’t be afraid to seek help from seasoned ITSD professionals who will help keep you on track.
My main tip at this stage is for right at the end of the journey.
You will have been on quite a rollercoaster ride by this time. What do you do when you’ve ridden one for real? You buy the photo of you screaming with your arms in the air and you sit down in peaceful calm and reflect on the ride.
Take time at the closure of your ITSD journey to do this. Find a quiet place and review what worked and what didn’t. Celebrate how brilliant you were and sometimes weren’t (but learn how you’ll be different next time).
I get a huge buzz from helping organisations with their IT Service Delivery challenges and creating roadmaps. I appreciate that IT cartography isn’t for everyone and it doesn’t have to be. On a real life journey, you wouldn’t have to draw a map, you could reach for an Ordnance Survey map or ask for directions. And so it is with your ITSD roadmap.
Either investing some time in a road map or (if you need to) a little money partnering with a pro will deliver a more comfortable journey and a greater ROI from your ITSD.