How good is your ICT service?
Does your ICT service deliver value for money? Does it enable and support change in the organisation? Is it efficiently run? Is it pro-active in seeking out the most appropriate technical solutions to meet business needs? And how can you tell?
- Overview review (the quickest and least expensive)
Standard review (the level that most councils require)
- Fitness for purpose review (the most detailed review that really gets down to the detail of whether your ICT is a cost or a long term benefit)
Socitm Consultants will interview a small group (8 or less) senior managers at Director and HoS level and will undertake desk-based research as well. From this we will develop a high-level assessment of the ICT service’s strengths and weakness across four key areas:
- fitness-for-purpose of the technical infrastructure
- capacity and capability of the IT staff
- the extent to which there is an IT strategy that clearly underpins the Council’s wider corporate plan and objectives
- The extent to which the ICT service enables and supported change in the organisation
We will feed the outcomes of this assessment to a workshop among the senior managers. In the workshop we will assist the Council to come to terms with current strengths and weaknesses and the direction-of-travel. This will position the Council to reach conclusions, frame recommendations, and take them forward with confidence.
We will produce a report that presents the outcomes of this assessment in a non-technical language. As well as summarising where the Council is now, the report will identify where improvements are required and a high-level strategic approach for delivering them.
This takes the form of an itial review followed by an analysis of the way forward. The initial review consists of:
- Interviews with key stakeholders in the council at senior management level (the view of what’s good and bad about the current IT)
- Interviews with the ICT staff
- Review of the ICT service and infrastructure, covering:
- Governance and management
- Structure and skills
- ICT service, service desk
- Standards and procedures
- Alignment with corporate plans
- Review of current documentation
- ICT strategy
- Customer service strategy (if available)
- Corporate plan
- Any information provided to staff on the planned changes
- Any performance information for ICT – user satisfaction surveys, unit costs, performance against SLAs or equivalent etc
- Web strategy
- Comms strategy
- Information management strategy (if available)
In parallel with this we formulate with you a set of potential views of the council for the future – trying to anticipate what will come out of any current deliberations or what is already in place as a programme of work.
These give us a picture of the ICT requirements for the future, and of the current ICT service. We map these against each other to highlight gaps, and build a strategic approach for filling them, in a way that minimises the investment needed, maximises the benefit, and minimises the disruption.
Fitness for purpose review
Our fitness for purpose assessment review comprises a number of strands:
- The strategic framework – the direction of travel of the Council, its aspirations for change, the vision of what the council will look like to the outside world in 2-5 years time (as a backdrop to what follows);
- The scope of the ICT service – where does it sit in the organisation, what are its functions – is it technical/operational, strategic, does it embrace information management as well as the technology, does it embrace customer service; how does this relate to best practice;
- Management and governance – how the service is managed and what governance is in place; skills profile of the management team for ICT; robustness of the governance arrangements;
- Organisational structure and skills – how is the ICT service structured organisationally and how does this compare to best practice; are there gaps and how can they be filled; what is the skill base of the ICT staff, how is this maintained and developed; how is it measured; are there skills missing and what can be done to fill the shortfall;
- Customer satisfaction – how satisfied is the council with the work of the ICT service – at an operational level (via customer satisfaction surveys) and at a business/strategic level; is it seen as a cost or a benefit to the organisation; is it an integral part of any plans for transformational change;
- Pro-activeness – how proactive is the service in promoting new technologies that will support the business; how are these ideas tested and taken forward; is the service seen as a fruitful source of ideas, or a reluctant responder to suggestions from the business;
- Applications – are they fit for purpose individually and how do they fit together to meet the overall business and corporate needs; to what extent are the applications driven by the information management strategy – how does the architecture relate to the business needs (are techniques such as Service Oriented Architecture already in use?); what overlaps in functionality and information content exist; how can these be reduced;
- Network and communications infrastructure – how well does the infrastructure meet the needs of the council today, and how easily can it be developed to meet the needs of tomorrow; what are the unit costs of the current infrastructure and how do these compare with other organisations; is the infrastructure the result of piecemeal development or an underlying strategy; how does it compare with the recognised best technical practice (eg are the most appropriate infrastructure management tools being used, how good is the value for money;
- Desktop infrastructure – how well is the desktop infrastructure managed; how does the cost per desktop compare with other organisations (a key measure of how well managed it is); balance of thin/thick client, desktop virtualisation, readiness for cloud computing;
- Overall fit – taking account of all the above, how well does the ICT service fit the future needs of the Council?
The review is normally carried out by a small team of consultants to assess the current ICT service and to report back to senior management on the ICT service’s capacity, capability and maturity.
If the Council wishes, this work can be developed later at a more detailed level using Socitm Consulting’s range of trusted and expert services such as:
- Socitm benchmarking for a detailed analysis of the Council’s KPIs for IT;
- Socitm SFIA/Aspire services to provide a structured assessment of the Council’s IT staff and its mix if skills and aptitudes;
- Socitm’s Better Connected assessments of the Council’s website and associated communications technology -- and the extent to which it is being used successfully as a channel for customers;
- Stakeholder engagement leading to a detailed and innovative IT strategy;
- Assessment of technical options for developing the IT infrastructure examining options such as outsource delivery, the Cloud, and the use of mobile and smart technologies;
- Toolkits for customer satisfaction surveys and other baseline information.
For more information, contact Di Priday or Doug Maclean email@example.com,uk
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