In my last blog entry I was discussing how to include an understanding of your suppliers into your strategy. A key tool to assess effectiveness of systems and the services around them is to construct a service scorecard to rank IT priorities.
Start by getting your top IT objectives together and extract those of the most critical priority; make sure these align to the wider business objectives. For example if your firm has an objective “Reach more international customers” as a top priority, maybe critical service objectives aligned to this could be: “Strong multilingual support services” or “24 hour global support availability”. If your organisation is promoting product development and new products as a high priority then service adaptability and ability to adjust to new markets might be important.
Whatever you select make sure it is clear what represents good and bad, so having some form of measure in place is vital. I would try and target a top 7 to 10 objectives – too many will lose focus.
Armed with an effective list of objectives overall you can then canvas the opinions of both provider and consumers for each systems and or service to asses how effective the service (or system) is in meeting the targets. Simple rankings from good to bad are all that is needed to start to get a comparative story of where problems, and therefore opportunities, exist. Mapping out the results and comparing to how the landscape is faring on cost and or overall business alignment will then highlight areas of major concern.
Using the results can define the focus areas for management attention whether through change or by addressing issues to service providers and vendors. It is worth building clear service objectives into contracts and SLAs whenever there is a chance to adjust them or renew them. Finally by repeating the assessment on a periodic basis it is possible to see how the targets are being met, or not, with further adjustment to the strategy over time to ensure best possible results.