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. What I would consider “best practice” customers, leverage the following:
Intellectual Property – itelligence has a catalogue full of functionality developed and deployed across multiple customers. The business problems solved by these apps are common across many customers, so why pay for development when you can get a solution for a fraction of the cost?
Rapid Deployment Solutions
OK, but there are times development is needed and a pre-built app does not suffice. Where can you find speed with that? itelligence finds with each implementation, a vast majority of the configuration is consistent from one customer to the other. (Especially in areas of security and compliance where requirements are mostly defined by the government) A Rapid Deployment Solution, implements a pre-configured solution with the goal of only having to modify 20% to suit the specific requirements of the client. This saves a tremendous amount of time and virtually skips over the Blueprint and Design phases by starting with a pre-configured conference room pilot.
It stands to reason that if technical resources perform similar projects many times per year, they will be more proficient than an IT shop that has never implemented the project. The best example we find is for software upgrades. Leveraging a team that has an experienced project plan, execution, documentation and training can greatly reduce the project timeline and lower project risks.
Introduce more formal disciplines
itelligence works with a formal methodology for both projects and support. Formalizing the way work is performed has many benefits:
- When a Statement of Work is being processed thru your company, all those involved understand the commitment needed to perform the project. The notion of “internal IT resources are free” can get in the way of project focus. When expending external dollars, distracting priorities in demand for project resources are minimized.
- For projects, the consulting firm can manage the triple constraints of the projects scope, budget and schedule, thus minimizing risks. They serve on steering teams and help your business understand their role in projects success.
- For support, formal ITIL processes with disciplined Problem Management to address habitual problems will reduce incidents and free up your support team to perform more value-added tasks.
Stay tuned next week for Part Two, where I will touch on my experiences with in-house application teams and partnerships.