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IT Strategy, Vendor Selection, and Alignment
The Changing Role of the IT Organization
Gone are the days when companies merely relied on their Information Technology (IT) organizations for data management and cost savings. In today’s world, companies are looking to their IT organizations for innovative solutions to help drive business decisions and bridge the gap between business processes and technology. IT executives must collaborate across business functions and find ways to anticipate the needs of the business and generate value. IT organizations must now ensure alignment with and support to the corporate strategy.
Clarkston Consulting helps clients evaluate and re-define their existing information technology and information management organization, and aids in making strategic decisions to align these structures with business needs. With the aid of thorough assessments, clients are encouraged to take part in understanding what can be improved in their current processes. With the knowledge gained during the assessment process, Clarkston builds a customized roadmap for its clients, ensuring that each area of improvement found during the assessment is properly addressed. The core objective is to guarantee that the IT organization and its strategy are holistically aligned to enable and support an overarching corporate strategy.
There are a few key elements to defining and executing a successful IT Strategy:
- Holistic Approach: Using the Holistic Organizational Model (HOM), companies look at the entire organizational structure, not just the IT organization. Seeing the bigger picture enables companies to see their needs and relationships between people, process, technology, and organizational structure.
- 10-Foot Strategy: This approach enables the process to align strategic theories with practical solutions. It manages expectations, and sets realistic and achievable goals. It allows for an easy translation of high-level strategic plans into understandable tactics ready for execution.
- Execution Capability: An IT strategy designed based on execution is the first step towards success. Providing a feedback loop from previous IT implementations transforms a company into a learning organization and enables strategy execution.
Your IT strategy and roadmap may identify the need for new technology solutions, in which case you’ll want to use a proven vendor selection process (and partner) to ensure the success of your project. Clarkston’s vendor selection methodology allows for rapid selection of package-focused solutions. Structured while still flexible, the methodology can be tailored to the specific needs of a company or to accommodate and leverage work that has already been completed. The bottom line: This approach ensures alignment between business requirements and market offerings to ensure greatest overall value.
We find that having a structured approach to vendor selection improves adherence to timelines and milestones, improves adherence to budgets, realizes and generates benefits from established roles and deliverables, and provides for proper scoping and a wide net of potential vendors and solutions from which to choose. Casting a wide net – choosing a robust sample of vendors – provides the best information available to make the right decision and drives the best value from competing vendors. But achieving the optimal outcome depends on careful examination of vendors and alignment with selection criteria. Clarkston examines solutions across multiple dimensions – functional, technical, and vendor – to drive a complete understanding.
Clarkston’s methodology ensures that core principles, governance, and enterprise architecture are clearly identified and aligned with Corporate Strategy. Properly aligned and governed IT organizations enable the business to achieve the greatest overall value.
In response to these market challenges, Clarkston provides the following client services:
- Maturity assessment of the existing IT organization
- Definition of roadmap and alignment of core principles, governance, and enterprise architecture with corporate strategy
- Vendor selection services using the key elements of proper scoping, a refined methodology, workshops, and utilization of project lag time for process documentation to ensure the best vendor is selected
- Enterprise Destination Mapping (EDM) principles are applied to ensure alignment of the corporate vision and all functional areas. This process involves interactive strategic planning workshops, clarification sessions of the enterprise-wide mission and vision, identification of operational goals, and discovery of opportunities for improvement at the operational level.