15 insights for 15 years

11th May 2021

When Finyx was set up 15 years ago we knew that we wanted to provide a unique blend of Insight, Experience and Execution. To celebrate our 15th birthday, we asked our people to provide 15 insights covering each our our service offerings: Digital Strategy, Digital Transformation and Delivery, Strategic Sourcing, Next-Generation Operating Model and Enterprise Service Management. Additionally we asked our people what makes us different from other consultancies, and this is what they said:

1. Strategic Sourcing – I can see clearly now

During the process of many technology procurements, its likey that at some point in the process in two very similar rooms two very similar conversations will happen.  

One: The supplier’s bid team (sales, technical, commercial, finance) will declare “they don’t know what they want”

Two: The client’s team will review the supplier’s response and disgustedly announce “why haven’t they done what we asked?”

Breaking this disjoin is hard, but quite possible – and in our view comes down to two things. Firstly clarity. Claritfy not only of requirements, but clarity of how the competition will be run, evaluated, awarded – and clarity of how the contract will be run. Secondly dialogue. Failure to introduce any dialogue into the procurement of anything but the extreme commodity is a receipe for disaster. We have helped many clients successfully procure billions of pounds worth of solutions and services. Why not see if our insights could help you?

2. Strategic Sourcing – Turn the tables on suppliers

Consider turning the tables on your suppliers – by being as analytical about your relationship as they are with you. We promote the concept of supplier playbooks which capture the supplier’s strategic goals, your spend with them, options for breakpoints and renegotiation, behaviours and more. Lining up multiple supplier playbooks helps you develop a comprehensive supplier strategy, aligned to you IT and business objectives. Fortunately we’ve people, a methodology and templates which can guide you through this process. 

3. Strategic Sourcing – Use Enterprise Architecture techniques to design and implement your supply chain

Buying services in an adhoc manner is akin to building systems without an Enterprise Architecture. We advocate similar principles to Architecture for your supply chain, for example:

  • Commonality of core requirements (e.g. adherence to ITIL/Service Management processes)
  • Requirements are written cognisant of other supplier agreements (i.e. dependencies are explicit and a handshake across contracts established)
  • That requirements and service definitions are written in the same format and structure
  • SLAs are written in a common format with a differentiation between Shared, Common and Unique SLAs.
  • That your accompanying schedules around Change, Charges, HR etc have consistency

To support this we have built a toolset called the Solution Requirements Framework – and have successfully used this on multiple engagements where there is a complex interdependent supply chain. Clients and Legal Teams we’ve worked with have universally approve of this approach – eliminating low value activity, improving quality of outcome and saving the client’s budget.

4. Digital Strategy – Lazy Cloud Adoption Risks Repeating Past Failures

The old adage in Finance is that the next crisis always happens when the last person to survive the previous calamity retires. Technology moves somewhat faster – but those old enough and grey enough know much of what is “new” today is a simply a marketeers rebranding of what has come before.  

 The dawn of “distributed computing” in the 1990s meant cheap servers, easy to use development tools and an unquenched demand particularly in the rapidly advancing, finance, web and ecommerce spaces. To cut a long story short – the growth was phenomenal – but left a legacy for those in IT Infrastructure who spent at least the next 10 years cleaning up the mess. Doesn’t sound that dissimilar to badly adopted Cloud services today? So we suggest that without careful control and management of cloud environments we’re heading for a similar result. The advantages of public cloud must be carefully harnessed – control and speed are not mutually exclusive … How long before we see Cloud Rationalisation and Consolidation projects?

5. Digital Strategy – Sticking an “e” in front of your existing Products doesn’t make them Digital

The pandemic has accelerated the world’s appetite for digitally enabled products and services. However, competing in the digital marketplace demands a change of mindset and vision. Its no longer relevant or appropriate to “digitise” existing products and services – a rethink of your entire offering in a digital context is needed. As an example from the past – the successful challengers to BlockBuster didn’t just make rental available online – they reimagined the service into Streaming services, with a change in emphasis to Box Sets and invested in content production as well as delivery

6. Digital Strategy – Embrace Shadow/Grey IT

There is a general perception that Shadow or Grey IT is a bad thing … and in many situations it is far from optimal (for example multiple different versions of the same SaaS product – no exploitation of scale for both commercial negotiation and integration / data sharing). However, its worth examining the positive reasons why a business might go-it-alone: Speed, Agility, Business Control and Focus. Doesn’t sound dissimilar from Agile practises: Fast development, with intimate business involvement, incrementally enhanced in near real time to meet changing needs. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater… work with your business to encourage the good (influence, control, sense of ownership) whilst working on the bad stuff (lack of integration, lack of DR, lack of controls etc)

7. Next Generation Operating Model – Think Service Not Technical Solution!

Service Owners and Product Managers are often too focussed on engineering and technical solutions and miss the fact they should be providing a service (covering financials, commercials and service performance levels). Sometimes the solution to clients issues lie in the management of technology, not in the code, tin or wires (e.g. provision of self help, better service desk support etc). A clear operating model defines all elements of delivery including build, run and operate at a feature, availability and financial level – and is backed by well-defined roles, responsibilities and reporting.

8. Next Generation Operating Model – IT and Business Need To Partner on New Solution Development

It’s important that technology delivery projects are defined and measured in terms of outcomes for the end users or business units. The IT Operating model doesn’t stop at the organisational boundary of the IT function – A strong partnership with the business units is essential to drive the adoption and realise the value of new technology services. The IT function has a pro-active leadership role to play in using its industry knowledge to identify technologies that can bring about real business advantages.

9. Next Generation Operating Model – Effective Legacy Management Can Be An Enabler … 

Its natural that businesses leaders tend to focus on investing in new services and functionality. They see business opportunities and want to exploit them. However, they are often unaware of the the bulging and complex Legacy IT estate that sits underneath their future investments. IT leaders need to inform and educate business partners on the need address legacy – its costs, its risks and its inflexibility in many cases. It is essential that IT Leadership take time to provide transparency of this issue and present solutions to Business Owners. Every aspect of designing your operating model needs to take account of the continual investment and management of legacy technologies. Remember if you don’t manage this space effectively – today’s new technologies rapidly become tomorrows legacy.

 10. Enterprise Service Management – Scream Now or Forever Hold Your Silence!

Despite all the positive benefits from cloud, agile and dev ops – we see a worrying trend in clients that the use of these technologies and methods are making their configuration records even more incomplete. Along with cloud environments it’s not uncommon to see clients who have servers, apps and other devices in their estate which they know next to nothing about. Who owns it? Where is it? What’s its purpose? A lot of these questions will raise muddled responses or, perhaps more worryingly, no response at all. Not only are these servers are a real security and compliance risk to your organisation but they prevent effective support and service delivery. We’ve found screams tests to be a painful yet effective remedy – the threat alone is sometimes enough to help jog people’s memories… 

11. Enterprise Service Management – Service Management Is The Natural Home for Workforce Automation

Workforce Automation promises to have one of the most revolutionary impacts on productivity of all time. But where to start…?  We think that using the skills and tools found in most service management teams is a good place to build your centre of excellence. These teams usually have years, sometimes decades, of experience in mapping processes; they often have analysts who are adept at bridging the real world and that of config and code; and, they already are intimately familiar with workflow tooling. We also suggest that IT is the ideal proving ground for these techniques ….

12. Enterprise Service Management – When will Social Value and Sustainability Make Their Way From Brochure to Reality?

Almost every client of ours (particularly in the public sector) desire their suppliers to be ethical, progressive and add value outside of their core product/service. To this end, they write tenders with evaluation weightings for diversity, apprenticeships, localization, carbon footprint offsets and paying the Living Wage – but beyond the preferred supplier stage, how much of this ever gets measured? We think using techniques similar to those used in traditional Service Management (such as availability, capacity, response time) and the underpinning tool – can ensure that these important requirements are tracked (and ultimately delivered) through the delivery phase of a contract…

 13. Digital Delivery and Transformation – Digital Orwellism

“Digital” Delivery is an overused term (yes I see the irony given the subject of these insights). It is used as a euphemism for anything from Agile and Dev Ops through to Cloud Technologies and more. Its literal meaning relates to your fingers or toes (digits) and caps out at the number 10. Orwell suggests “If one gets rid of these habits [inaccurate use of words] one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration [… or possibly more successful delivery]. My point: more specificity in the language we use improves other’s understanding of what we mean, what we want to achieve and how we plan to execute. Not least it helps cut through marketing hype and keeps the focus on practical, pragmatic outcomes. 

14. Digital Delivery and Transformation – Quick Fixes Nothing

The key to digital transformation is understanding what your organisation needs and being realistic about how it quickly it can be achieved. Successful delivery of transformation requires a clear strategy and an approach to get there, which may be incremental rather than immediate. The ambition to deliver digital solutions to improve business outcomes must be matched by the organisation’s capability and its budget. Recognising constraints within either area will dramatically improve the likelihood of success.

15. Digital Delivery and Transformation – Projects fail for one of four reasons – why aren’t they measured?

Countless IT (and other) Projects fail due to predictable reasons – yet these often aren’t addressed through programme controls and governance. The Standard Risk, Assumptions, Issues and Dependencies Log is often flawed because it is too reactive, relies on honesty and competence, requires regular updates and misses trends and issues happening at a Programme, Portfolio and Enterprise Level. We think most failing projects suffer from one or more fundamental issues: Unclear Purpose, Poor Planning, Lack of The Right Resources and/or Lack of Business Readiness. These simple but important measures are something that your team, project managers, users and steerco will instinctively be aware of. Regular “polling” of sentiment in these areas will provide a greater insight into project helath than many “standard” dashboards. Fortunately Finyx has a tool “Continuous Confidence Measurement” that can help. 

For more information on any of our service offerings please contact: admin@finyx.com

Phil Stewart
Article by
Phil Stewart
CEO and Managing Director

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