In today’s uncertain economic environment, organizations are under increasing pressure to capture and demonstrate value from every investment dollar, with the IT function clearly under the microscope. Similar to any business area, IT must demonstrate the attributes to be a worthy steward of the broader organization's resources through financial and operational discipline.
To deliver on these expectations, the IT function must have a clearly defined and communicated strategy (that the business can understand) and provide a construct to guide all IT activities. This strategy must also align the IT function with the business strategy by taking into account the business drivers (short and long-term), current capabilities, and trends in the industry (organization and technology).
Eurosis Consulting helps clients close the gap between the significant investment a company makes in IT resources and a business’s general inability to realize the benefit from that investment.
In recent years, IT has become more a strategic weapon than a mere functional unit supporting the business. This shift not only offers a new set of strategic options but also poses new questions for corporate leaders:
- By broadening the role of IT to exploit technology trends, how can we help deliver sustainable competitive advantage?
- How can we make IT a significant driver of innovation while maximizing the benefits of business innovation?
At the same time, some traditional questions remain critical:
- How do we align IT and business while ensuring that the IT strategy is flexible enough to adapt if necessary?
- How can we focus the IT project portfolio to ensure optimal resource allocation and alignment of IT investment with business needs?
Few companies are realizing the full potential from their IT investments and activities. The gap between value realized and full potential is evident from the number of stalled and canceled systems initiatives, those failing to deliver a fraction of the expected benefits and the high level of executive dissatisfaction. For example:
- 79 percent of business leaders feel their ERP efforts were not fully effective
- 70 percent of CRM projects yield no measurable benefit; 60 percent fail
- 35 percent of today's supply chain planning projects will be re-implemented; half will use a new vendor
Our experience suggests that not having a coherent IT Strategy results in several challenges and constrains the value IT can deliver to the business (and vice versa). These challenges include, but are not limited to:
- Low business satisfaction – driven by limited flexibility and slower speed to market
- Lack of innovation – as a result of over correction on cost containment instead of building strategic capabilities
- Higher cost solutions – driven primarily by lack of a cohesive strategy, leading to siloed, stove-piped solutions and misaligned priorities
A clearly defined strategy can transform the IT function into a “high-performing business” that offers long-term strategic value. Developing the strategy requires a holistic and proven approach to help identify a set of future-state capabilities that can position IT to be an equal and trusted partner with the Business.
The changing demands on IT strategy are the primary focus of Eurosis Consulting’s IT strategy segment, which is organized around four major topics:
- Eurosis Consulting helps clients understand and develop strategies with respect to truly important technology trends those that have the potential to transform an entire industry. Industry changes can be quite dramatic. For instance, e-books and tablets are fundamentally reshaping the publishing industry’s business model.
- Eurosis Consulting works with clients to develop technology-enabled innovation environments and systematic processes to successfully identify, incubate, and commercialize IT-driven innovations.
- We help clients develop enterprise architectures, which provide blueprints for future business processes, applications, data warehouses, development environments, and technology infrastructures, all based on business strategy and requirements. In addition, our approach helps improve business agility, reduces IT and process complexity, and helps organizations better govern their IT investments.
- Implementing a continuous IT-portfolio-management process guarantees a value-based and business-related IT landscape in the long run.
Defining IT Strategy
Our extensive experience provides proven methodologies and capabilities to ensure a practical IT strategy that provides a high-level assessment of the current IT function, identifies the key strategic elements over an exhaustive set of capabilities and defines a current and future state position across each of those dimensions.
Each of these positions is data-driven and supported by evidence gathered through interviews with key stakeholders, as well as our experience with dozens of clients, in the business and IT, and as such, provides evidence for broader buy-in. The result is a set of distinct, realistic initiatives that should be implemented to achieve the key benefits of the strategy definition. These benefits include:
- Sharpened focus of IT spend to deliver the right set of capabilities for the business, and maximize value delivery through IT
- A common understanding of the IT agenda across the broader organization (business and IT)
- Enhanced visibility into the IT function, resulting in a greater trust by the business
- Partnership with the Business to effectively engage IT (and vice versa) by clarity into roles, emphasis on accountability, and expectations setting
- Effective and informed decision making and trade-off evaluation by establishing and socializing a set of guiding principles
Our phased approach to IT Strategy definition results in a set of tangible deliverables: Current state and future state positioning across the capability areas along with the rationale and benefits, a set of initiatives required to achieve the future state, a road map, required changes in behaviors from business and IT to execute the strategy, and key risks and proposed mitigation.