Some of the questions we've been asked countless times over the years are worth sharing....
This question comes up in almost every transformation design stage. The IT side of the organisation may have a strategic imperative to move towards a certain IT landscape, deals may even have been done for licenses, yet you might not have defined your benefits yet. Does this matter?
The short answer is, potentially yes. The degree to which your ambitions leverage specific value levers (e.g. I want to reduce procurement costs, and will improve the value lever of sourcing to achieve this), may drive you down certain architectural decisions.
These may include the big picture decisions:
You get the idea - it's not a simple question of writing down your requirements at the same time as defining your benefits and going into design any more. Some pretty big, business driven aspirations around benefits need to be defined early on in your transformation which may fundamentally change your technology architecture.
To make these decisions, you need the right expertise from a team who understand how to take a high level boardroom aspiration and break that down into value levers and ultimately process and technology implications.
Very few companies are familiar with, let alone expert in large transformation programmes. It's not uncommon to feel in unfamiliar ground and with so many horror stories out there of programmes that spun out of control, you wouldn't be alone in trying to compartmentalise the risk for your organisation.
However, here's a cold hard fact worth knowing from the outset: your organisation cannot insulate itself from the risks of the programme failing to deliver, from programme over-spend or from a lack of benefits realisation. That's why the advice you get and the decisions you make need to be spot-on.
Too many consultancies will sell a fixed-price delivery and assure you that your organisation has now 'outsourced the risk'. But the reality is quite different - all you've achieved is being able to cap spend in laboratory type conditions. When the scope, risks, issues and dependencies change, so will your 'fixed' price.
Real business transformation requires an experienced, transparent and collaborative partner to help you navigate through these tricky, complex programmes. And it also requires strong sponsorship and 'skin in the game' from the business.
Oh, and lot's of coffee...