Toronto firm grades overall efficiency of IT shops

Toronto-based consulting and professional services company NegenIT recently released an assessment suite that determines the effectiveness and efficiency of IT departments.

“Service management is equated to more efficient IT operations, so if costs are getting high or the organization is saying, ‘We’ve got to cut back on these expenses,’ then this is an area that sees payback,” said NegenIT partner Martin Hockham.

The suite benefits medium- to large-sized IT departments, particularly those in the insurance, financial, manufacturing and retail industries, according to Hockham.

IT assessment services are in high demand right now, said Glenn O’Donnell, senior analyst at Forrester Research. “There is all this talk about ITIL and people say…where do we stand and are we doing ITIL well or are we not doing it well? And that’s what assessments are all about.”

Using propriety business models, NegenIT’s Information Technology Assessment Suite (ITAS) shows companies how to improve operational effectiveness, lower costs and increase margins by comparing current IT operations, processes and programs to industry Best Practices.

“The client benefits from an objective assessment, framed in practical language that compares the client’s ‘As Is’ state to industry Best Practices and Standards. These recommendations are specifically focused on areas where performance improvement is accompanied by cost reduction,” said NegenIT partner Arthur Pidgeon.

ITAS assesses areas such as application development and maintenance, systems management and disaster resilience. Using Benchmarks, the suite also evaluates staffing, budgeting and unit costs. “Depending on the areas examined, we provide a Status Report showing the relative strengths and weaknesses for over 1000 different assessment points, a priority ranking for areas to strengthen, and specific objectives for upgrading processes and procedures,” said Pidgeon.

According to O’Donnell, best practices and standards implementation correlates strongly with lower IT costs. “The reason they do is IT in general tends to be a pretty sloppy execution. The best practices and the standards are kind of the roadmap for some enhanced discipline, and if you have discipline, the sloppiness goes away and a lot of that wasted cost goes away.”

“We’ve come up with a solid conclusion that the better an organization is with their service management, the lower their IT costs are, mainly because they usually fund for business-as-usual. When unexpected events come along, everything gets pushed aside and they’re not geared up to respond as well. By improving their systems management skills, they can avoid some of the events that cost money,” explained Hockham.

NegenIT delivers a holistic approach by providing clients with a single report that looks at the whole IT shop as well as the application development process, said Hockham. “By going in with a small team, we can assess where the maturity of the organization is within each of these models, but relate them to each other.”

“It’s not a software package, it’s an assessment suite,” Pidgeon pointed out. “What we’ve done is we’ve taken all our services and combined them into a single suite.” Consolidating the company’s services under a single umbrella makes it easier for clients to understand and helps us deliver a concise, simple package, he explained.

NegenIT formed roughly one year ago. While the company’s brand name may still be in the “formative stages,” it has a lot of depth in experience, said Hockham.

According to Pidgeon, “We bring to the table a lot of financial experts, sales and marketing people, IT and technology people…the people that we have in our organization are all 20-plus, 30-plus year veterans from across industries.”

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