(Part Two of Two)
After 30 years in IT Leadership positions in traditional IT shops, I “crossed over to the other side” and joined an SAP consulting company. Just like the majority of CIOs, I used consultants for staff augmentation, with the goal to keep internal staff to a minimum and use external consultants to flex for peaks in demand. Now that I am exposed to different models of leveraging consulting companies, I realize I could have greatly shortened time to value.
In my last post, I covered the value of Pre-Built Applications, Rapid Deployment Solutions, Leveraging Experience and Introducing More Formal Disciplines. Additional concepts that “best practice” customers should leverage include:
Maximizing Employee / Partner Utilization
The in-house application teams I managed consisted of key analysts in each major function. But I inevitably found that if I had one financial analyst, I really needed 1.5 and conversely, if I had 2 manufacturing analysts, I only needed 1.5. By reducing my headcount by 1 Full Time Equivalent, in this case, and purchasing hours from a consulting firm for application support, there are multiple benefits:
- Company demands change across the application landscape, leveraging a consulting firm to ebb and flow across multiple disciplines better utilities in house resources and speeds up projects/ enhancements by having the right resource for the job.
- Having access to a team of deep specialists speeds up resolutions vs an in-house resource needing time to research areas outside their specific expertise.
- Aligning with a consulting company that has resources fully on boarded and familiar with your firm’s application nuances allows a company to burst capacity quicker.
Deep and Broad Partnerships
Partnerships often go beyond the original contract. Leveraging expertise in the consulting company broader than the original contract happens frequently, especially when customers are in need of jump starting their knowledge in new functions or innovative technologies. CIOs rely on itelligence to gain practical insights, watch outs and learnings from others who are further along in addressing new technologies. It is difficult for a CIO to cut thru the software vendor’s hype, alignment with a trusted partner can save a lot of time and reduce risks.
No doubt, if I were to take another CIO role, I would achieve faster time to value by establishing a key relationship with a System Integrator. It doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of in-house staff. On the contrary, it greatly improves the overall delivery of IT services. I look forward to your feedback and any questions on the concepts I’ve outlined, and I encourage you to share your own experiences.