The IT Advantage Program
Transform IT from a Pain to a Competitive Advantage
You’re responsible for delivering new business capabilities developed in IT. And you must not fail to deliver, because the success of the business depends on the new capabilities.
As a leader in finance, operations or marketing, you’ve been burned before, and you want to get results without squandering time, resources and money like you’ve seen happen on previous projects.
If you’re like most companies spending over $1 million per year on IT, as much as 40% of IT spending is waste – things that don’t contribute to the top line or bottom line in your business. Maintaining legacy systems, stopping and restarting projects, and lack of IT alignment to your business objectives contribute to this waste.
Beyond wasting resources, IT is difficult for you to manage – IT people don’t speak your language, they have their own agendas, and they don’t make it clear to you what’s happening and why.
Here are three key problems affecting business managers sponsoring new capabilities in IT:
- Programs don’t get launched promptly because IT is overwhelmed with demands, so your strategic initiatives don’t get high priority. As a result, the business misses opportunities to jump ahead of the competition with innovative capabilities and products.
- You cancel projects after spending a lot of money and time because they are not making sufficient progress. Then you have to put up with existing, less-than-adequate systems and products because you have no alternatives. Now you hesitate to launch major new projects because you don’t trust that you’ll get what you want.
- When you listen to people in IT, they’re unsatisfied with their work and with their management. IT managers are not treating technology experts with the respect they deserve. Some of the best IT people quit, lowering your confidence in IT even more.
Here’s what you really want instead:
You believe that IT holds the key to innovation and the future growth of the company. If you could develop new facilities and products faster and better than your top competitors, you would be able to grow your business faster, expand into new areas of business, and become the leader in your industry.
To do this, you want to:
- Get rid of waste in your IT budget, so you can put more attention on key innovative initiatives while keeping the total spending down.
- Stimulate productive development work in IT so that key projects get completed quickly with a consistent high priority.
- Create an attractive place for top IT people and business analysts to work so you can recruit and retain the best minds in the business.
- Understand and be understood by your IT counterparts so that business outcomes are delivered the way you truly need them.
- Observe steady progress towards your IT-based goals, demonstrated at least monthly, so you gain confidence that key programs are going to be delivered on time and with high value – using your own metrics, not someone else’s.
- Enable collaboration between your business analysts and IT, replacing the conflict that has pervaded their interactions up to now.
- Have confidence in IT to propose ways to excel at your business goals, with the proposals expressed in the language of business, not of technology.
These objectives can be achieved step-by-step with results visible to you within 3 to 6 months.
John Levy Consulting’s IT Advantage Program delivers business results you can measure. This program identifies the location and nature of conflict and waste in IT, and immediately starts reducing wasted effort and budget.
The IT Advantage Program works across your business, finance, operations and IT activities to align objectives, enhance communications, and revamp development methods and tools to deliver the savings. The program starts with an assessment of current capabilities, teams and management, and goes on to start implementation of needed changes to deliver the results you need.
What makes the IT Advantage Program unique?
The IT Advantage Program is based on a three-pronged approach to removing the painful aspects of IT.
First, aligning objectives – We help you translate your business objectives and IT priorities into a common vision that can be understood by both IT and business managers.
Second, creating a collaborative team – We bring together key people responsible for development and implementation of new business processes or products and facilitate their becoming a team.
Third, analyzing and reworking IT’s methods and tools – We ensure that IT is taking advantage of the current state of the art, including how to organize and manage development teams.
The IT Advantage Program is based on John Levy’s 30 years of managing high-tech development, together with his ability to articulate business and IT objectives in common language. With a Ph.D. in Computer Science and deep experience of both management and development, John Levy knows what technologists and technology managers need. He also has long experience as a business consultant, so he understands what contributes to the bottom line – and what doesn’t.
Beyond Agile Development
Many organizations are adopting “Agile” processes. But imposing Agile methods in IT without integrating a new way of interacting with Finance and Operations sponsors will fail to produce the results you need. You will benefit most from a program that quickly identifies where there is lack of alignment and creates an action plan that leads to immediate results.
The IT Advantage Program defines initial steps for knocking out waste within the first month of the program. Then we help you create metrics that track progress as key programs advance toward completion.
You get immediate relief from the feeling that you don’t know what’s going on in IT. As soon as key metrics are defined, you begin to gain confidence in successful delivery of the next innovative IT capability. Even while IT is struggling with trade-offs between “cloud” vs. “in-house”, we define incremental program steps that give you business results no matter which way IT decides.
If you’ve already launched “Agile” you can begin to integrate iterative methods with your business processes to make the whole company more agile in responding to competitive challenges.
What you get with the IT Advantage Program:
Define Business Priorities
The program begins with a session with you and your key leaders to define business priorities that can be furthered by IT projects. We translate these into lucid statements of outcomes desired in the business.
Identify Main Inputs and Costs
Next we get key IT people together with your business leaders to identify the main inputs and costs of development programs leading to the business outcomes you want. They set priorities on the programs and do an initial analysis of the resources needed. They also identify potential risks in the implementation.
Assessment of IT Organization
Then we do an assessment of the IT organization, including IT management. This produces a list of quick wins possible with changes in how IT development is managed. We also evaluate people processes, development tools, and how well the transition to Agile is going if it has been started.
Examine Dysfunctional Interactions
Finally, we examine dysfunctional interactions between business people and their IT counterparts. This shows where there are opportunities for interventions that remove barriers to smooth functioning of IT projects.
Identifying and Implementing Actions
During each of these steps, the IT Advantage Program identifies actions to reduce waste associated with IT-Business interactions. It also creates ways to measure improvement in the processes. Once an action plan and a set of metrics are in place, we track progress and savings with a “dashboard”. The bottom line results will be noticeable almost immediately.
At the end of a transitional 6 months, we examine the actual return on your investment – measured both by dollar savings and by your growing confidence in the ability of IT and the business to deliver innovative new capabilities and products.
More Results with Less Stress
Whether you are in the role of CFO, COO or another business role, you can have more results with less stress. Your business is Business, whether it’s delivering product from a factory, introducing outstanding new products or becoming more competitive within the same budget.
The IT Advantage Program delivers bottom line results you can measure – plus some others you feel, like lower stress and higher confidence that technology is being leveraged for bottom line results.
We tailor the program to fit your organization, whether you need services, web capabilities or more innovative products. We have worked with clients in the roles of CFO, COO, VP of Development and VP of Marketing before. You’ll find we speak your language and can deliver.
- Stop pouring dollars down the legacy-system drain, and free up resources for innovation
- Get a clear picture of how well IT is managing itself and its development projects.
- Eliminate misunderstandings and finger-pointing between your business analysts and IT, so that they both get on with the work of developing the capabilities you need.
- Get clarity on your own priorities, without having to relate them to specific technologies; then get those priorities translated into actionable development plans.
- Gain confidence that IT can and will complete the projects you are paying for.
The Next Step
If you’re ready to take the next step in learning about the IT Advantage Program, I invite you to contact me for a complimentary IT Advantage strategy session. In that session, we will explore what you need to move your business forward and what you’ve learned from past development programs.
We also look at your priorities for the future and what challenges you perceive in getting your business IT to move to the next level. The conversation will help you clarify where you want your business to go and the main issues that are holding you back.
After the conversation you’ll have new perspectives on the possibilities for the future. The strategy session will take about an hour and can be done in person or on the phone.
Click here to arrange a time to have a strategy session.
I truly look forward to talking with you.