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Execution – the Last of the Es: Having skilled personnel and management, including governance, in place is another foundational element of picking consolidation targets. Budget constraints, investment scrutiny and customer satisfaction concerns necessitate investigation of this final and likely the most expensive criterion.
The consolidation roadmap requires that personnel demands of proposed systems be supplied internally or externally within a reasonable timeframe. Appropriate governance, tools and processes should also be in place or planned to allow the initiative to succeed.
Some managers erroneously apply Gertrude Stein’s advice – “a rose is a rose is a rose” – to personnel staffing, probably as a result of successful marketing by staff augmentation companies. They forget that people come with different skills and strengths. For example, a superstar technical manager may not be an effective project manager and vice-versa. Even those with the same skills have different levels of expertise that need to be assessed before considering them interchangeable.
It’s not important to have IT personnel but it’s vital to have the right IT personnel who are empowered with the right tools. Another common oversight while evaluating viability is to derive direct time costs without accounting for the time personnel will spend in meetings, over the phone and other sundry tasks.
Effective IT governance is absolutely critical to successful execution of consolidation projects. The governance management structure must have representatives from all stakeholders with decision-making authority. Many projects fail without an effective governance initiative. According to "Creating an Effective IT Governance Process" by Gartner's Michael Gerrard , “To avoid the most common causes of failure in IT governance initiatives, design governance as a set of end-to-end processes to define roles and responsibilities, and create a practical and action-oriented governance mechanism tailored to your enterprise's decision-making style and management culture.”
In addition, metrics must be a fundamental element of the governance structure to enable clear visibility into the status of projects and value to the business. A tool to capture end-to-end view of all investments and business results to validate the business case will provide the decision makers with facts to reassess decisions and shape future decisions.
Ravi Bansal is a project executive and a strategist at IBM Global Business Services. He is a proven business leader with experience proposing, leading and delivering multimillion-dollar business solutions. In addition, Mr. Bansal is a strategist for IBM federal’s cloud computing and smarter government initiatives. He authored 5E framework for targeted IT consolidation and the strategic framework for cloud alliances. He is passionate about cloud computing, cleantech, next generation business strategies and most importantly, helping clients articulate vision for their business.
Mr. Bansal is one of IBM Americas’ top consultants and has also been inducted in IBM’s delivery excellence circle. Over years he has been honored with numerous awards for outstanding business performance and exceptional client service. Outside of direct work responsibilities, he is involved in an eclectic collection of giveback activities. Among other things, he was an officer of the Executive Committee of Metropolitan Washington Mensa, canvasser for IBM employee charitable contributions campaign and a guest speaker at business schools. Mr. Bansal is a graduate of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with majors in Finance and Strategy.