The idea for this post was born out of an informal conversation with a client while waiting for a meeting to begin. We were discussing the concept of an Advisory engagement to which the client revealed all the IT projects undertaken internally are tactical (reactionary). After a brief pause, I asked the following question of the client,
“How do you know if this tactical project gets you closer to where you want to be, if you don’t know where this is?” Perhaps surprisingly, this client, as well as most others Insentra have delivered Advisory engagements for, have all been in similar positions of delivering internal projects without really understanding how this contributes to the overall vision of the business.
KNOW YOUR WHY
Answering the question of where the business wants to be, is where understanding the vision of the executive stakeholders, directors and board members becomes vitally important to achieving successful outcomes. This ultimately comes down to the fact that each individual stakeholder has different requirements important to their role within the business. Each of these requirements needs to be considered holistically to develop a strategy which aligns with the agreed vision of all stakeholders.
This is the reason the first workshop of every Advisory engagement conducted with our clients and Partners, begins with understanding the following about their business:
- Who is client x? (tell us, in your words, about your business)
- What are the current priorities and drivers for client x?
- What are the business requirements? (from all executive stakeholders to inform the overall strategy)
- Where do your current challenges exist?
- What are your regulatory and compliance obligations which need to be considered?
- What would make this a successful engagement for client x (a focus statement to map to)
You may notice there are no technical questions in the list, and this is by design. This workshop is all about understanding the vision of the business, from all angles. Once this is clearly understood, technical workshops can be subsequently conducted to map solutions to achieve the client’s vision.
THE ADVISORY ROADMAP
The purpose of an Advisory engagement is to provide clients with a roadmap to achieve their vision (a strategy to success if you like). Each phase of the roadmap is specifically tailored to meet the client’s overall vision, by delivering solutions (both technical and non-technical) in stages, which either solve existing challenges, or deliver on the agreed business requirements.
The order of the phases in the roadmap takes into consideration factors regarding the client’s priorities as well as regulatory compliance requirements to ensure critical timelines and obligations are met throughout the entire roadmap. The below image shows a graphical representation of the phases continually working towards the clients’ vision.
The below screenshot provides a high-level overview of Insentra’s approach to Advisory Services.
In summary, by first understanding the vision of our clients’ (I now know where I want to be), a tailored roadmap can be developed which both meets those requirements and delivers on the vision for the business as agreed by the stakeholders.