One of the most common IT sourcing challenges our clients’ face is how to optimally align sourcing objectives with operational and technical objectives, and vice versa. That’s not to suggest that it can’t be done is is insurmountably difficult, or that expectations need to be low. The root of the problem with making changes in an IT environment financially and operationally efficient is a lack of information.
Increasingly, what we’ve traditionally called “IT” has pervaded enterprises with little or no oversight or insight by the traditional IT gatekeepers. Further, the nature of what we call “IT” today has become a more complex web of inter-dependencies than ever before. To make matters worse, it’s not just the infrastructure and applications running in the enterprise, but the suppliers and the relationships and contracts with them that need to be considered as well. Even minor changes can be just the first domino to fall in a series of otherwise “unpredictable” concerns downstream. Unpredictable, that is, without the right information and analysis.
The intuitive solution to a lack of information would be to close that gap. To gather the needed information, analyze it, and plan for it. But in most organizations, that’s not practical, due largely to time and resource constraints. Instead, the ambiguity is accounted for with ambiguous planning. Timelines are setup around stage gates based on specific points in time. While it could be worse, there’s a lot that happens between each gate that’s largely unaccounted for in a plan, which means room for unnecessary risk and cost.
Instead, a good plan will factor current state and planned changes usually starting with the technical/operational priorities, and then factoring current, new, and changing costs and other constraints into the equation. The latter being where the information gap typically lies. However, investing the time and effort into uncovering and planning for these factors yields a significant return. In doing so, often plans can be adjusted and prioritized with minimal or no operational impact. In other cases, compromises may be made on the operational side to realize substantial financial benefits. And what’s more: more information allows for increases specificity. This means that all of the time between stage gates can be meticulously accounted or and planned around. Often, the timing of those stages may even shift as diligence reveals opportunities to begin certain activities sooner, or to hold off on others to shed unnecessary cost along the way.