LNS works with the client to create a portrait showing the complete IT utilization and spend. This portrait will be a roadmap for what follows:
Understanding the current landscape of assets, actual utilization, history, vendor relationships and political realities is critical to developing an assessment of which resources, programs and have potential to yield significant improvements in operations.
In the Foundation phase, the consultant will gain a complete understanding of the IT utilization and spend as it practiced in the organization today. To do that, the consultant will work with the client to assemble a portrait that shows:
- Current support fees by vendor/program/year.
- Review and document existing license grants and benchmark against actual deployment and utilization.
- Review customer satisfaction for all vendors currently in use and document findings.
- Review and document internal help desk findings, showing which capabilities are requiring the most support (either by internal staff or from the vendor itself).
- Document federated operations and/or expenditures along with the other metrics to gain a true enterprise view of the utilization across the organization.
No organization is ever static. New mandates, objectives and personnel will lead organizations to allocate new budgets to the acquisition of new capabilities. Additionally, the realities of the marketplace hold that legacy vendors will not always continue to deliver capabilities to address emerging objectives. This will lead to the growth in the vendor pool with its associated increase in complexity.
New IT resources can be developed by current staff, contractors that are led by internal programmers or completely outsourced to either a consulting organization or purchased from a COTS vendor will have a clear impact on the team going forward. In addition to understand the requirements so the best technology solution can be developed, concurrently an expenditure plan needs to be created to minimize the impact to both capitol and operating budgets.
Actions the consultant will perform to achieve that level of understand will include:
- Reviewing the existing IT strategic plan and the budget priorities for the next fiscal year.
- Document the IT requirements the organization is committed to introducing and then developing a matrix that aligns them with its current stable of vendors.
- Highlight those vendors current revenues, their satisfaction ratings, external assessments (Gartner, Forrester)
In this phase the consultant will integrate the information collected during the Foundation and Resources discussions. Correlations will be created highlighting opportunities and threats most of interest to the client. The key objective at this point is to provide the client insight into what avenues for improvement are most readily accessible and where their organization is at the highest risk.
Once the client has chosen the vendor(s) that they intend to address, the consultant will assist in developing the negotiation objectives, deal creation strategy and success criteria for the software company’s utilization.
The vendor assessment is the key deliverable for this phase. For each vendor investigated, the assessment will include:
- Inventory of licensed assets and review of customer deployment
- Notes on usage to sourced from internal help desk system and for technical products, customer’s reported vendor tickets
- Comparison of license terms, fees and program end dates, in the case of multiple agreements with the same vendor
- Narrative highlighting budgeted programs that this vendor can provide
- Recap from Gartner and other market sources reviewing the vendor and licensed product(s) in use within the client
- Recommended customer actions
Should the client elect to negotiate any changes to current agreements with the selected vendor, LNS will work with the client to create a negotiating strategy document. This document will include the client’s preferred outcome and due date, with a process map detailing who, when and how those objectives are to be achieved. LNS will participate in client meetings should it be invited to do so.
Once the initial savings and operating improvements are achieved, it will be critical to put in place a process to monitor usage going forward, assess changes in the IT landscape and develop new targets to deliver improved results. Incorporating these approaches into the cadence of the organization instills “creative destruction” into the DNA of the operation. Avoiding complacency encourages the staff to drive for better outcomes while educating vendors to bring their best solutions and offers to the table initially, rather than late in the game.
To support this approaches adoption, the consultant will:
- Work with the appropriate client leaders to establish periodic benchmarking sessions. We suggest that these be held no less than quarterly.
- Review deltas in vendors’ costs/year to ensure that any increases are driven by user adoption of new resources or other boosts in productivity. Also, audits should continue to ensure that previous investments are utilized at the levels anticipated to address end user satisfaction, previously established ROI objectives or compliance with other mandates.
- Document ongoing increases in access to resources as a result of implementing the 4RM process and the new capabilities the organization has been able to obtain through that internally generated funding.
- Investigate opportunities to leverage existing IT assets to address latent end user or stakeholder objectives. Any resulting improvements should also be included in the periodic report documenting their contributions to improved results.
- LNS will charge the client a single fixed fee for the period of the agreement. Any research, travel or material costs incurred by LNS will be its’ alone and not subject to reimbursement by the client.
- LNS’ program fee will be due in full net 30 from the last day of the program period.
- The client will provide all required materials no later than 30 days from the date of contract initiation. Those materials will include, but aren’t limited to:
- Current vendor contracts (maintenance or support)
- Initial software purchase contracts
- Budgeted requirements for the current FY (capabilities & amount allocated)
- Help desk reports for end user tools included in the vendor assessment
- Vendor supplied support logs (including resolution status) for all assets under assessment
- Access to clients’ Gartner (or Forrester) current analyst report for selected vendor
- Client will follow up on LNS requests for information or feedback within 3 business days of requests
- Client and LNS will execute a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The NDA will direct that LNS will not share with any third party any information about the client’s budget, usage, and technology direction or vendor preferences with any third party. Client will agree not to share the LNS methodology or work products with any third party. In no way will the NDA’s terms conflict with the client’s “sunshine” laws.