The IT Strategy Monograph:  Evolving Strategically with IT Shared Services

Top CIOs have come to understand the need to materially contribute to shareholder value.  As this role continues to evolve IT services from “parity function status” to “strategic enterprise partner”, even greater attention has been placed on security issues and staying current with hot technologies.

Beyond the ‘hot-button’ topics of mobility, analytics and big data, as well as the various cloud platforms available, what is often overlooked is the potential for the technology function to drive strategic advantage through IT shared services programs.  Accomplishing this requires thoughtful planning and execution at every step of the shared services life cycle, including:

  • Completing a feasibility study
  • Constructing a business case
  • Designing an operating model
  • Gaining leadership consensus and approval
  • Sizing the team and developing talent acquisition
  • Selecting a location
  • Managing property decisions, i.e., constructing new facilities; leasing existing ones; divesting unwanted ones
  • Designing service management
  • Recruiting, hiring, launching
  • Conducting knowledge transfer and change management
  • Operating and maintaining service levels
  • Conducting continuous improvement

Following is some guidance on how to drive strategic advantage in a few of these phases:

Feasibility Study, including Business Case:  Most IT shared services business cases revolve around typical SLA measures including service levels, security, availability, and cost.  Instead, consider emphasizing the strategic factors in your business case.   Speed to Market – showing IT as a change agent for end-to-end process improvement.  Regulatory Compliance – with IT leading related Centers of Excellence (e.g. HIPAA).  Product Excellence and Quality – impacting concept to offer processes by introducing tangible product innovation.

Operating Model Design:  Consider elevating from “shared services operations” to “enterprise technology service brokerage.”  Lead the effort at forging collaborative relationships with Partners and third party technology vendors impacting product innovation and enhanced security of corporate digital assets.  If occupying this role is not feasible in your current situation, consider representing this point of view forcefully in the planning process or developing closer ties with and impact on Procurement or Partner Development Management functions.

Gaining Executive Approvals:  Going for approvals?  Proposing cost and service benefits is table stakes.  To raise the level, understand and clearly articulate the strategic factors in your business case, citing specific qualitative benefits.  Demonstrate their magnitude and impact as well as define how and when you will deliver them.  Show that qualitative benefits are a reasonable and likely outcome of your roadmap and plans.  Illustrate that these benefits map to specific milestones and deliverables.  Include a post implementation review step in your plans, and follow through with it, gaining credibility for future phases.

Location Selection:  Locate work spaces – owned, partnered, or contracted, near your talent!  Identify best locations for sourcing candidates with skills and talent meeting your priority requirements, both current and emerging.  Utilize public information to gain visibility to your competition’s current and future location plans.  Evaluate the capacity within the markets you choose to provide adequate resourcing.  While talent availability is just one of many location selection criteria, make sure it’s a highly weighted factor in your decision models.

Transition Management:  Over-deliver on knowledge transfer and change management activities.  Be the smartest place to work!  Accommodate talent with exceptional tools, innovative workspace, exceptional career development, and an energizing work lifestyle. Train your team by supporting certifications and continuous learning.  Plan for and encourage rapid advancement.  Provide time in your onboarding plan to welcome new and transferred team members, offering them useful information about the area.  Introduce them to facility features as well as tools and equipment.

Understand and support the need for fun.  Sponsor spontaneous team events.  Plan ice-breaker introductions to encourage communication between peers and leadership.  Make work enjoyable right from the start!

Depending on where you are on the transformation journey, you can take advantage of these opportunities to materially impact business results.

Jon Hunt  |  Senior Consultant  |  TayganPoint Consulting Group  |  jhunt@tayganpoint.com

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