Managing a transition – key steps for success

Managing transition is very important as it sets-up the start of a new partnership, and many customers approach transition with trepidation. However, if managed correctly, it is an opportunity to set the pace of the business relationship, better align IT systems to the needs of the business, and protect any existing IT investments.

We have found that by following a repeatable, successful transition process, it can be completed in a risk-free manner that provides significant benefits to customers.

Our process is outlined as follows;

1. Understand the IT environment

This first stage is an initial audit and investigation. This mainly involves reviewing the hardware, software and systems currently used and better understanding the architecture of the IT infrastructure. At sites where up-to-date documentation currently exists this is a relatively quick process, but where there is little documentation available, this represents a good opportunity to collate Intellectual Property about the systems used and update an asset register.

Core to this investigation is understanding the current policies and procedures that are in place. Typically this includes reviewing areas such as backup-up and archiving, Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity and IT security. It will also include reviewing the roles of all 3rd parties that might be involved in the maintenance of specialist systems and telecommunications, and understanding any specialist applications that are used by the business.

Once the environment is fully understood, it can be analysed effectively, and recommendations for any remedial work can be put forward.

2. Understand the business expectations & culture

It is important to understand the business expectation level for support. The targets in the Service Level Agreement are important, but if the senior management team have a different expectation level for support, this could lead to potential difficulties in the future.

We believe in defining the roles for VIP IT users from the outset, as understanding their preferred method of interaction with IT is essential for a successful relationship. For example, a Chief Executive might raise any IT queries with their personal assistant, rather than calling the ServiceDesk directly. If that’s the case, then it’s fair to assume that the assistant becomes equivalent to a VIP user to ensure that any support instances are managed to the highest possible fix time.

Our experience is that companies interact with IT support differently – most are happy for any remedial work to be carried out remotely, but some customers prefer an on-site team available to work in a more personable way and to have dedicated resources.

3. Refining the service catalogue & SLA

The Service Level Agreement is essential as a means of managing supplier performance. It includes the service catalogue and the response and fix times that are required by the business.

Typically this will include detailed definition of the supplier services, roles and responsibilities, prioritisation and targets. It will also provide detail on how performance will be reviewed, the frequency of review meetings and exactly what will be covered during the meetings.

 4. Transition Plan

Planning is required to break down the tasks and manage three main elements;

  • The people involved in the process – both the customer and the new service providers
  • The technology and the systems used today and how they might need to change to make them more reliable or compliant.
  • The processes involved in the transition, and how the various stages can be measured as completed successfully.

A detailed transition plan is essential to the success of the project.  Typically this will include;

  • Implementation of Improvements and efficiencies
  • Determine the appropriate system management tools
  • Planning of any infrastructure changes
  • Management of knowledge transfer
  • Ensuring that the appropriate skills are in place
  • A communication plan
  • Defined roles and responsibilities
  • Due diligence activities
  • Managing TUPE undertakings
  • Sign-off criteria and quality plan

Benefits of transition management

Our experience is that if transition is managed in this process driven way, it can deliver a wealth of business benefits;

  • It de-risks the change in service provider
  • It puts the customer in better control of IT and aligns systems to the business requirements
  • Provides an opportunity to maximise existing IT investments
  • Provides a means of measuring the performance of IT to the business
  • Provides predictable budget management for IT

For more information about the Syntax transition planning process please contact askanexpert@syntax.co.uk or call 020 7307 5011.