IT documents and templates – why reinvent the wheel?


For many years the consulting industry has enjoyed the luxury of charging (in many cases) very high rates for material and deliverables that have been recycled from other similar client engagements and modified to meet the requirements of the new client. This allows consulting organizations to continue to maximize margins using lower skilled resources to reuse (rather than create) materials that are required as deliverables and outputs as part of the project or engagement.

Whilst reuse is not possible in all cases, there is a wealth of information that is common to many assignments. This reusable information is usually “closely guarded” by consulting organizations and so it is very difficult to obtain anywhere else apart from freelance professionals.

We strongly believe that there is a real need to provide an on-line service that delivers reusable templates, presentations, documents and tools to clients who do not wish to engage a consulting firm to achieve a business objective or wish to reduce the costs of a consulting engagement through the availability of key documents that can be tailored to your individual requirements.

The material found on this web site www.consultingcloud.org has been built up over many years of face-to-face consulting by a select group of experienced freelance professionals.

We believe that, with the pervasiveness of the internet, now is the time to use this technology to deliver quality and in-depth consulting material on-line, with substantial time and cost savings to be gained by those who use the service.

This www.consultingcloud.org website has a comprehensive range of documents to assist businesses to fast track project implementation, improve processes and save money. The template categories cover a range of business and Information Technology functions and processes.

IT Transition Plan


Save time in preparing a transition plan with our comprehensive IT Transition Plan Templates that are designed to be tailored for your specific situation. Read More….
Consulting Cloud’s library of documents, samples and templates, are available at very affordable prices, and are available to save a business time, money and stress on hiring a consulting firm. An IT Transition Plan Template example outlines activities, roles and responsibilities for a changeover of infrastructure.

An IT Transition Plan Template from Consulting Cloud will save time and stress when preparing for a changeover project. When a business needs to change its technological infrastructure for example, it can create problems, so it’s vital to ensure planning is put in place to minimise disruption.

The IT Transition Plan Template is managed as a project and planning should be structured to minimise issues and problems in this often difficult and sometime chaotic process. The IT Transition Plan Template should outline the method, and provide a clear description of the obligations of both parties, in relation to the project. The document can also provide details for briefing stakeholders, and for handing over the newly acquired services to the operational teams. Consulting Cloud is an online consulting business which, through its vast collection of templates, samples, presentation and documents can support businesses. These documents can be of assistance when a changeover is to be taking place, new goals to be set or new projects to be taken on. The pre implementation stage and planning, is often the most important step for pre-empting and minimising problems.

Consulting Cloud’s IT Transition Plan template, a comprehensive document, can assist in briefing stakeholders, and handing over newly acquired services to the operational teams. Don’t get caught up with outsourcing, or not preparing and planning adequately. Use an example, and tailor it for your circumstances.

An IT Transition Plan Template is easily tailored and will vary depending on the company, industry and individuals involved. These factors will determine whether the document will be intended for executives, or for a customer transfer. For executives, the document will discuss the proposed schedule, associated key milestones and handling arrangements. Whereas if the document is intended for a customer transfer, the IT transition Plan should outline the customer transfer time frame. In this case, updates may also be necessary to discuss the progress and any variations that may have developed over time. Browse through the comprehensive Consulting Cloud templates to find the best suited sample for your company’s situation. The viewing tool allows people to see how detailed the samples are, and to what extent the sections and guidelines will help to create the project planning document.

What is an IT Strategic Plan and what does it contain?


Developing an IT Strategic Plan will help better align your IT function with the business and also build a common understanding among stakeholders about how investments in technology will be used to support the company strategy.

Ideally the IT Strategic Plan should be based on the company strategy. However in many organizations, particularly small companies, no documented business strategy exists. If the organization hasn’t formalized such a business strategy, then IT executives can help the business managers to draw these up. Alternatively you will need to identify the de facto business objectives, priorities, and results on your own and use them to build your IT Strategic Plan.

If you are creating an IT Strategic Plan then the list below might be a useful for the content of the document. Remember that you should create your IT Strategic Plan with the assumption that anyone reading the document has no prior knowledge about the company i.e. the IT Strategic Plan should be able to standalone without reference to other company documentation.
You can find a fully detailed and expanded IT Strategic Plan by clicking here.

Executive Summary
Purpose of the ICT Strategy
Company ICT Vision
Current State Assessment
Recommendations
The Future State
Implementation Plan
Implementation Costs
Critical Success Factors
Introduction
Scope
Purpose
Approach
Interview / Workshops
Document Structure
Background
Company Overview
Company Strategic Objectives
Company Business Units
Company Capabilities and ICT Expectations
ICT Strategic Vision
ICT Strategy Vision
Guiding Principles of ICT Strategy
Current State Assessment
Current IT Environment
Previous ICT Strategy
Findings
Current Initiatives
Recommendations
Summary of Recommendations
The Future State
Critical Success Factors
Prioritization
Prioritization Process
Ranking of Company Organizational Capabilities
Capability and Initiatives
Prioritized Project List
Implementation Plan
Appendix A – Initiatives Detailed
Appendix B – Stakeholders Interviewed
Appendix C – Documents Reviewed
Appendix D – Risk and Value Rating Key
Appendix E – Trends
Appendix F – Business Cases
Appendix G – Cost Estimates
Appendix H – IT Department Structure

What are Service Level Agreements? SLAs


A service level agreement (SLA) is a formal document that defines a working relationship between parties to a service contract. The standing of the SLA depends on whether the service is being provided by an internal (In-house central department/function) or an external (Bought-in) service provider.

As well as defining key areas, a Service Level Agreement Template will specify targets and minimum levels of services that are to be provided to a customer. A SLA can be an unofficial document written in simple terms or it can be written as a formal contract.

IT companies and IT providers use a Service Level Agreement for their customers to clearly have an outline of what it is the company is providing the customer, and at what levels the services will be provided. Consulting Cloud is an online consulting business that allows a business to purchase a template of a document, or a sample of a presentation, that they may require for a particular situation. A SLA is a document needed in many cases to outline to both the customers, and the company providing the services, what the standards are, and what the services provided actually are. IT companies often use a SLA to clearly outline, for example the performance of the services. A service level agreement template from Consulting Cloud will ensure the correct information is presented in the most appropriate document.

What is an IT Service Catalog?


A service catalog is a very useful tool for communicating the value of an IT department and what this brings to a business. Consulting cloud offers a template of this document to allow businesses to simply tailor the example for their specific company.

A key function of a Service Catalog template is to provide a basis for discussion of the services offered, and the constant assessment and improvement techniques of these services. If new services are added or amended, this information will go in the document. Consulting Cloud’s library of varying examples of templates, help to ensure every company and situation can be catered for. Browse through the list of samples, and find the correct document. It’s then a matter of tailoring this template with your company’s services, and making the document a true representation of your company’s services on offer.

A Service Catalog is a very valuable document, an inventory of all the services offered, with information on deliverables, costs and contacts. Once the document is created, it should be implemented and monitored by the Information Technology department.

For examples of IT Service Catalogs go to: http://www.consultingcloud.org/service_catalog_template

What’s in an Outsourcing Contract?


Outsourcing Contracts document the Terms and Conditions usually between a Customer and an external Vendor. Often a Contract or Agreement is also required when a Shared Service function is established within an organization. An Outsourcing Contract can also been called a Managed Services Contract, Managed Services Agreement, Outsourcing Agreement, Master Services Agreement, MSA, or a Services Agreement.

There can be many “styles” to Vendor contracts in particular. The “style” of contract usually depends very heavily on the type of Vendor you are dealing with. Broadly speaking, our view is that
there are two profiles for Outsourcing Vendors – those that use a “Vendor orientated” Contract where services are strictly governed by the contract and – those Vendors that are reasonably flexible and see the Contract as a “partnership” between the 2 organizations. These two types of Vendor will have different ways of structuring their Outsourcing Contracts.

In this Outsourcing Contract category Consulting Cloud offers samples of a number of different types of Outsourcing Contract. The category also contains sample Contracts for Shared Service functions. These contracts can be used for either comparison against a vendor contract or can be the basis for a customer contract.

Where you are dealing with a “Vendor orientated” Contract you must ensure that everything is clearly understood, in particular you need to understand the cost of change e.g. when there is a need to do something quicker than is stated in the Contract or you need some extra work performed that is not in the Contract. This is often where people get caught out. This type of Vendor is usually more suited to large multi-national organizations.

If however you are dealing with a more flexible Outsourcing Vendor, the Contract would typically be put in the “bottom draw” only to be accessed when an extension or major change to the Outsourcing service is required. If you use one of the Outsourcing Contracts on Consulting Cloud’s website it will give you something to compare to. Also don’t be afraid to say to the Vendor that you want to use your own Contract.

An excerpt from CIO Search
Never use a vendor template when you draw up an IT outsourcing contract. “They’re inherently slanted toward the vendor, and it’s going to take a lot to modify it,” said Helen Huntley, a research vice president and IT outsourcing analyst at Gartner Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based consultancy. Instead, look to your own legal team, and don’t be afraid to turn to a third-party firm for direction.

“[IT organizations] are going head to head with masters of negotiation,” she said. “If they don’t have a team with the same capability [in] understanding maturity about negotiations, they are not going to be as strong at the table.”

Take a hard look at your own procurement department before you entrust them with your IT outsourcing negotiations. Some procurement departments are very focused on cost, but that’s not necessarily the most important aspect of an IT outsourcing deal. “In outsourcing, you could be buying something more service-related and relationship-driven — it’s different than buying printers,” Huntley said.

Enterprises should consider a few main factors from the get-go, said Tom Lang, a partner and managing director at TPI, a global sourcing advisory firm based in Houston.
“We always say, there are three legs on a stool: price, productivity factor and SLAs,” Lang said, calling pricing “the most complicated area of these deals.” Pricing algorithms, for example, are quite complex, and can be based on the number of quality, full-time employees devoted to a deal; the workload output; or other factors. As for productivity, it’s important to measure your own organization’s productivity levels before both parties can agree on the service levels the outsourcer is expected to maintain.

Samples of Outsourcing and other Service Contracts can be found at : http://www.consultingcloud.org/service_contract

What is a Risk Management Process?


A Risk Management Process is a method by which risks to the project (e.g. to the scope, deliverables, timescales or resources) are formally identified, quantified and managed during the execution of the project. The process entails completing a number of actions to reduce the likelihood of occurrence and the severity of impact of each risk. A Risk Management Plan is one of the outputs from this process. A Risk Management PlanTemplate is one of the documents you would use.

A Risk Management Plan template is used to ensure that every risk is formally: • Identified • Quantified • Monitored • Avoided, transferred or mitigated.

Although the Risk Management Plan Process is undertaken during the ‘Execution’ phase of the project (i.e. the phase within which the deliverables are produced), project risks may be identified at any stage of the project lifecycle. In theory, any risk identified during the life of the project will need to be formally managed as part of the Risk Management Process. Without a formal Risk Management Process in place the objective of delivering a solution within ‘time, cost and quality’ may be compromised. The Risk Management Process is terminated only when the Execution phase of the project is completed (i.e. just prior to Project Closure). A Risk Management Plan Template to assist with the development of a Risk Management Process for your project can be found at the Consulting Cloud website.

There are many different types of Risk Management available including Risk Log and Risk Management Plans

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