This is the year. Your business needs to implement a digital transformation initiative. If you want to grow and reach new levels of productivity and profits, it’s the only path forward. Trends like remote work and cloud computing are only increasing. And you must adapt to stay competitive and attract top talent. So how do you get started?
You’re probably curious as to how the digital transformation process works. What’s involved? How do you ensure it’s delivered on time and budget? What kind of new technology will your business need? The best way to answer these questions is to take you through exactly how digital transformation delivery is provided to our clients.
To implement digital transformation, Leverage IT uses a four phase approach: advisory assessment, solution selection, portfolio management, and ongoing advisory sessions. We’d like to pull back the curtain on how the process works and walk you through it as if you were a new client. Let’s get started.
Phase 1: Advisory Assessment
The Advisory Assessment phase consists of two stages that evaluate your current technology and provide a path forward. This phase serves as the foundation of your digital transformation delivery. Here’s how it works.
Test Your Technology Against Our 231 Best Practices
The goal of your digital transformation implementation is to create a new technology environment that’s more efficient, agile, and secure. To ensure the success of this new environment, following best practices is critical. That’s why the first step in our advisory assessment is to assign your organization a business technology Best Practice Alignment Engineer and Business Technology Consultant Advisor. That Engineer is responsible for assessing and reporting on your technology environment by testing it against our 231 best practices. The Business Technology Consultant Advisor helps prioritize and educates you about these best practice findings. How were these developed?
Our best practices are based on the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) standards, our vendor partners standards, and our company’s 22+ years of experience providing technology services to clients. They are focused in four service areas—team member and company effectiveness and efficiency, cybersecurity, data protection, and infrastructure foundation.
Once your technology environment has been tested against our best practices, you’re assigned a rating based on your alignment with each of these best practices. You’ll receive one of three ratings: 100% alignment, marginally in alignment, or critically out of alignment. Knowing this rating is important because it helps us determine how your current technology impacts your business.
Report on Your Results and Advise on The Path Forward
Your best practice rating is revealed in a report designed to help plan your digital transformation delivery. In this report are recommendations for non-impacting (small) and impacting (big) changes to your technology environment, which your Best Practice Alignment Engineer will discuss with you.
If you’re an existing client, your Business Technology Consultant Advisor will review your Best Practice Alignment Engineer’s findings report along with dashboards and metrics from your current services, tickets submitted, and KPI reports. All this information is added into advisory documents that provide an overview of your IT, which your middle and executive management team will then use to decide on future technology changes.
For both new and existing clients, your advisor creates an agenda and recommendations report from your Best Practice Alignment Engineer’s findings. In this report is a discussion of client-facing technology projects. These include projects that may be led by your internal staff, Leverage IT Project Managers, or a third party vendor (more on this in the Portfolio Management phase). We then review this report with you, along with a report of your current technology assets.
Phase 2: Solution Selection and Implementation
The advisory phase above sets the stage for the next phase in your digital transformation delivery: solution selection and implementation. As we review the agenda and recommendations report, we identify the people, processes and tools that impact your ability to achieve your strategic goals. We then devise a plan to resolve issues or implement improvement opportunities. Below are some of the questions we ask to determine which, if any, area may be a problem:
- People: Do you have the right teams and team members delivering the work required to meet your strategic goals?
- Process: Do you have processes in place to effectively manage your teams and team members? Do your processes need revisions? Do your team members need more training on your processes?
- Tools: Are you using the right technology or entirety of a technology solution to reach your business goals? If not, which technologies need to be replaced or added?
Once we determine which of these areas is impacting your ability to reach your strategic goals, we then recommend projects to address them. For a more detailed explanation of the solution selection process, check out our Business software selection article. It provides a step-by-step guide on how a solution is selected and implemented.
Phase 3: Business Improvement Project Portfolio Management
If you’re like most business executives or operation managers, you’ve experienced the frustration of unfinished projects. The story is always the same. You developed a plan, the project started off well, but then it stalled somewhere down the line—only to be forgotten. Projects like these eat into your business’s profits. The Portfolio Management phase of your digital transformation delivery helps address abandoned projects and ensure all new initiatives move forward.
As mentioned earlier, business technology advice and planning is done in your advisory assessment sessions. In addition to these regular advisory recommendations, there are strategic projects that are determined in your annual Navigate Digital Transformation Business Improvement strategic planning session.
Project Management Customized to Your Unique Needs
In the Project Portfolio Management phase of your digital transformation delivery, we can help manage all the project efforts in one comprehensive project portfolio process. We can oversee internal projects (whether spearheaded by your employees or Leverage IT staff), those managed by external vendors, or any projects you may already have underway. Also, there are times when we are the sole firm involved in implementing a solution. We are a full service IT firm afterall. So we can fill in your gaps where needed—whether portfolio management, project management, or single project implementation.
Phase 4: Annual and Ongoing Advisory Sessions
With your advisory assessment, solution selection, and portfolio management phases behind you, now we return to the advisory stage. But this time, the purpose is different. Instead of building the foundation for your digital transformation delivery, now the sessions are ongoing and designed to ensure the continued success of your new technology environment. On an ongoing basis, we provide you three types of advisory sessions.
1. Annual Budget Planning
The first type of session is dedicated to creating a business technology budget. In this annual session, we review all of your budgeted items. These include your Leverage IT fees and technology-related expenses from your accounting department, which we may not normally have visibility of.
Your advisor reviews all these expenditures and analyzes if you’re overspending. For example, perhaps you’re paying too much for ISPs, website hosting, support agreements on your copiers, etc. Because of our decades of experience in IT and knowledge of the current technology landscape, we can inform you of the market rates for these items—helping you get the best deal and effectively managing your technology spend.
2. Regular Advisory Sessions
In addition to annual budget planning, we also offer routine advisory sessions to advise clients on their technology-related best practice status, issue resolution, and change planning. There is no set number of sessions. Instead, the amount is determined by your needs, complexity of your environment, changes within your organization, and ongoing best practices testing cadence.
For example, if you’re expanding into a new building, we can help set up your networking, internet access, and devices. We’ll open up a project for the move, scope it out, and deliver it. Or on another occasion, you may need help updating your ERP software. Our best practice is that you stay on the current version or one version behind, so we’ll start a project to update you accordingly. These are the types of discussions and planning that happens in regular advisory sessions.
3. Strategic Business Improvement Advisory Sessions
The last ongoing session we provide as part of your digital transformation delivery is an annual review of your technology environment and various initiatives. It’s important that all impacted stakeholders attend this meeting. For example, if you have a goal to increase sales by 25%, it will impact your sales department, product delivery department, and inventory management. Since each of these departments plays a critical role in achieving the desired outcome, having their subject matter experts, line managers, and functional managers in attendance increases your success rate.
During the Navigate Business Improvement Planning Session, we’ll review your strategic goals through the lens we discussed in phase 2 of your digital transformation delivery: people, process, and tools. If any of your departments have a problem in one of these three areas, the issue will be identified, planned for, and resolved by adding a project to address the issue. These actions are taken so that your business can reach its strategic goals.
Digital Transformation Delivery: There Is a Proven Path Forward
While digital transformation implementation can stir up feelings of doubt and uncertainty, you can now see there’s a proven path forward. For years, Leverage IT has followed this same process with both current and new clients, helping them reach new heights of productivity, security, and profits.
If you need help with your digital transformation delivery, consider Leverage IT’s Navigate – Digital Transformation service. It enables your organization to adopt new technologies as we help you navigate the selection, implementation, and negotiation of business software and applications. Contact us today.
How do you ensure your advisory service is attuned to our business technology needs?
We follow a structured process around our best practices and standards outlined in the digital transformation delivery process above. We’re always working with vendors, best practice advisory and regulatory bodies (like NIST), and leveraging our own experience to keep our best practice standards updated on a continual basis. Then, as we perform your ongoing best practice alignment testing, we inform you of any changes to those standards that may impact your specific industry or organization.
How do you select the technology you use? (e.g. spam filtering, anti-virus, remote access)
Leverage IT has a standards committee, which is responsible for reviewing and updating our technology. Every 18 months, we review our core technologies and determine whether there’s a business, market, or functionality reason to adopt new products. Here, we follow the same product selection process we guide clients through. If we decide to replace any of our core tools, we create a project, replace the tool, educate our internal team, and ensure our clients are aware of any user experience variations before making any changes.
How do you stay current in your tools, technology, and delivery?
All of our engineers have career management plans and certification tracks that keep them current with the latest technology. Our engineers also attend conferences and training every single year, and we participate in events and public speaking in the technology industry. From all of those experiences, we determine the best solutions for our clients and own internal team.
What is your experience with cloud technology and services?
We are a Microsoft cloud provider and Microsoft Certified data center partner. Our own environment is cloud forward, and we’ve been helping clients migrate to the cloud for 15 years (since 2008) with the inception of Microsoft’s first cloud offering, Microsoft BPOS. We also follow our own advice here at Leverage IT: we extensively use Microsoft 365, have both cloud and on prem servers, as well as multiple offices and work from home abilities that are all connected via cloud technology.
We want to be cloud only. How do you support a cloud only environment?
We have best practices around work from home, cloud only clients, and we migrate clients on a regular basis from on prem servers into cloud only.
We have an old server, should we move to the cloud? Is the cloud right for us?
It depends on whether you have any on-site proprietary applications or performance needs related to your on-premise technology, as well as your cloud options. Evaluating the ROI of migrating to a cloud-only platform is also important because it has benefits and costs that may impact your decision.
How do you maintain your standards and best practices?
As mentioned in the first FAQ and detailed in the digital transformation delivery process above, we follow a process to maintain our best practices and standards. This process involves working with vendors and best practice advisory and regulatory bodies, as well as performing best practice alignment testing. The latter uses our proprietary and customized software solution to keep our clients’ standards and best practices up to date. As part of this process, we remove standards that are no longer applicable and add new standards as business and technology change.