Diligent Consultancy provides IT due diligence and Virtual Chief Technology Officer services to the private equity industry and SMEs, supporting companies to align IT to their business objectives, drive economies of scale and maximise return on investment at exit. With over 10 years’ experience in IT due diligence, the company has worked with some of the leading PE companies in Europe including HIG Capital, Primary Europe and Beach Tree Private Equity. Here Managing Director of Diligent Consultancy, David Rogers talks to Finance Monthly about the current state of IT due diligence and his company’s industry position.
How do you approach the due diligence process?
Through our experience in business and support services, IT, media and communications, consumer, healthcare and manufacturing sectors, we have been able to develop a series of comprehensive tools and templates to undertake the due diligence assessment. These are adapted to specific industries and their different approach to delivering IT, from in-house on premise to a fully hosted and outsourced model. These tools underpin the due diligence process, which includes business risk, impact assessment and gap analysis, based on people, process, products and partnerships. The due diligence assessment leads into a recommended 100-day plan, which sets out a resource plan and strategy to address the identified weaknesses and opportunities, risks and cost saving initiatives. It is presented in layman’s terms, avoiding technical jargon.
Diligent Consultancy provides monthly IT metrics to measure the quality of service – how is this done?
At Diligent Consultancy we work in partnership with the investment company throughout the life cycle of their investment. As part of the partnership, we drive the implementation of the recommended 100-day plan. To ensure that the Board can monitor the implementation of the 100-day plan, metrics are used to monitor the tasks, budgets and timescales. These metrics form the basis of IT Reporting Packs, which are included in Board packs, helping to ensure visibility and the delivery of the required outcomes.
Do you think that more companies will be employing a Chief Technology Officer as technology progresses?
In today’s environment critical business functions are not only underpinned by technology, but technology is increasingly the ‘differentiator’, driving change and growth in business. The ever evolving IT landscape creates innovative solutions for current and future operating models. It presumes increased IT resource demands, but outsourcing and cloud based technology for example can actually reduce the need for dedicated in-house IT resource. A CTO can be a prohibitively expensive resource for SMEs, a virtual CTO function provides an on-demand, cost-effective, and responsive model.
How do you overcome resistance and issues with strategy implementation?
When we construct a new partnership, we always support an introductory workshop with the key business and IT stakeholders. This creates an environment to listen to colleagues, understand the business objectives and the critical business functions. This ensures that we can build a robust justification for the required change. Effective, two-way communication throughout maintains motivation levels and has a direct effect on whether the change process is effective. The process demands shared ownership of the solutions. For this reason, when setting out the strategy plan, two to three options are provided, allowing key stakeholders to draw consensus and agreement on the most appropriate strategy, which recognises the expertise of colleagues. Shared ownership reduces the likelihood of resistance and forges commitment to the implementation of the strategy, including early identification of obstacles and remedial strategies. The monthly metrics ensure effective project management and that the change process is being adequately resourced. It also creates opportunities to celebrate shared successes.
How else does Diligent Consultancy support companies to manage IT costs?
As a result of trusted relationship with key vendors, Diligent Consultancy has a track record driving ‘economies of scale’ across IT procurement, guaranteeing significant cost savings. For example, a client in the retail sector secured a 30% reduction in operational costs as a result of the telecom services contract we were able to leverage as a result of our service provider partnerships. We have service provider partnerships with telecom, outsourcing and IT security vendors.