If you’re currently considering – or in the process of – moving providers, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s an uphill struggle. The procurement side of things is really just the beginning, as once you’ve selected your new partner, that’s when the rubber really hits the road…
ImprovIT client Julian Hickson of Wales & West Utilities has just come to the end of his 12 month journey moving infrastructure partners for Service Desk and End-user support, and he’s kindly agreed to share his key learnings and advice for other IT leaders embarking on major transition projects. He’s boiled them down to these seven areas:
Moving providers is not a side project; it’s a complex and time-consuming enterprise. As IT leaders, we must acknowledge the effort required and allocate appropriate resources to the project. If necessary, consider taking team members offline to focus entirely on the transition, and ensure you backfill their roles to maintain critical ongoing operations.
A watertight procurement and contract process sets the foundation for a successful partnership with the new provider. It must stand up to scrutiny from a procurement legislation perspective, but also attract the best calibre and quality of response from the market.
3. Stakeholder management
Keep all your stakeholders informed at regular intervals, involve them in the decision-making process, and address their concerns as soon as they come up. I had great support from our Executive team because I kept them informed throughout and they had the opportunity to challenge and question what we were doing. That meant that later down the line, when we bumped into a few obstacles, they knew what we were doing and why.
Develop a robust plan for the transition and establish strong governance to oversee its implementation. This governance structure will help ensure that the project stays on track and that any issues are addressed in good time.
5. Question everything
Be really thorough in your examination of decisions, challenges, and opportunities throughout the transition. Avoid making assumptions and always delve into the details of how and when things will be done. Don’t take anything on trust –from new or existing suppliers.
6. Independent assurance and validation
Seek independent assurance and validation of your transition plan. These external assessments can provide valuable insights; identifying weak areas and obstacles and showing you opportunities for improvement. This can be a game-changer, but only if you take due notice of the findings of those assurance steps (which if they’re done at the right time should give you enough runway to do something about them!).
7. End-user focus
When you face difficult choices, considering the needs and operations of your end users – your colleagues and customers – is a great way to guide your decision-making. We’re a gas distribution company, and as such are part of critical national infrastructure. That made delaying our live date by a short time the right thing to do, because we can never jeopardise operations out in the field. Whilst your organisation will be very different to mine, always returning to the short and long term needs of your end users won’t fail to give you the best perspective.
ImprovIT have worked with Wales & West Utilities on a number of projects recently. In addition to the assurance project referred to here, we also worked on:
1. Procurement Support – ImprovIT oversaw and supported the tender process during the PQQ and ITT stages, also evaluating and reviewing each of the proposals submitted by the suppliers.
2. Target Operating Model – What roles and functions do they need for their Internal IT team to manage the service and suppliers? This helped them build a case to increase FTEs in the department.
3. Root cause analysis – What are the common causes of high severity incidents and what can be done to reduce the numbers and further improve overall service?