The Winchester Services Group

Consultants to Management for Information Technology

Assessing IT Strengths and Weaknesses
Developing an IT Strategy and Plan
Establishing the IT Project Office
Turning Around an Ineffective IT Function
Measuring and Managing IT Performance
Providing  Interim CIO  Services
Creating the CIO Dashboard
Establishing the IT Marketing Function
Ensuring Effective IT Governance
Deriving value from contracting and Outsourcing

Winning IS Management Techniques



  Seminar Description:

No functional area in organizations changes faster or more often than Information Systems (IS).  Not only is IS responsible for exploring and exploiting the latest emerging technologies available to the organization, as the newest functional area in business, it continues to discover, evolve and improve upon its management practices at a rapid rate.  Managers of IS, those to whom IS reports, and those organizational areas that depend on IS for services are constantly challenged to stay abreast of the latest techniques in order to ensure quality, realize benefits and gain advantages.  To be distracted in this pursuit risks obsolescence, financial loss, competitive disadvantage and customer dissatisfaction.

“Winning IS Management Practices” investigates advanced approaches being used or considered by leading-edge IS organizations in search of excellence.  Four such practices are presented in half-day sessions over the course of the two-day seminar.  They are:


The establishment of an IS Marketing function:  If IS is a business within the business as many have claimed, where is the marketing function in IS?  The processes of selling, pricing, customer care, promotions and PR are seldom found on the IS organization chart, but offer tremendous potential to improve the performance and image of IS in the organization.  The module explores the advantages of recognizing a Marketing function in IS, and how it can be implemented in organizations of varying size and mission.


The role of IS in Mergers and Acquisitions:  Mergers and Acquisitions are frequent occurrences in both the public and private sectors.  When IS’s parent organization decides to acquire, combine, consolidate or merge, the announcement can be a surprise and challenge to IS.  Yet other IS departments have prepared and are ready, still others accept acquisitions as a routine occurrence and have established processes and procedures for absorbing the new organization’s IS department.  Keys to success are IS’s early involvement in due diligence studies and processes.  Developing IS strategies and techniques that support the acquisition strategy of the parent are explored in the module.


The use of Activity-Based Costing in IS:  Activity-based Costing (ABC) has been shown to be a useful cost accounting method when applied to many areas of the organization.  Yet to date, little effort has been made to extend the use of ABC as an analytic technique to the IS function.  The module explores the benefits of using ABC at the strategic and tactical level in IS.  Conventional IS financial analytic techniques are also discussed.  Use of ABC as a budgeting and forecasting tool in IS are presented, and an exercise is performed by attendees to ensure understanding.


Techniques for managing IS during periods of rapid organizational growth:  The schism in time perspectives between IS and its parent organization that is exacerbated in rapidly growing concerns can create business risks ranging from misstatement of financial results to limitations of continued growth to insolvency of the firm.  Initiatives exist which can alleviate these risks and their cause and extend the life expectancy of the CIO.  The module explores techniques that can minimize risks and allow IS to enable, rather than hinder growth of the organization. 


Attendees learn what these advanced techniques are, when and why they should consider employing them, what risks and benefits are involved in their pursuit, and what options and alternatives to full implementation exist for organizations of various sizes and circumstances.  Methods and approaches used in pursuing the techniques are presented, discussed and practiced in practical exercises.  Where immediate application of a technique is considered premature by an organization, attendees learn how to prepare for the day when a conditions might require the urgent implementation of the technique.

In addition to lectures and discussions, the seminar features hands-on exercises and case studies where attendee can practice what has been presented to ensure their understanding and discuss results achieved by early adopters.  In this way, attendees struggle with the issues that confronted real-life organizations, learn how challenges were met and resolved, and practice implementation techniques that may be applied in their organizations.

  Who Should Attend:

IS Managers, Directors and CIOs, their direct reports, and IS staff members currently challenged by the strategic issues of how to effectively market IS, absorb an acquisition, analyze IS expenditures, or deal with the challenges of organizational growth.

Ø Senior managers in organization who foresee the strategic challenges or opportunities presented by any or all of the four techniques.
Ø Senior managers in organization who foresee the strategic challenges or opportunities presented by any or all of the four techniques.
Ø Attendees should have a basic understanding of the nature and components of business and IT and the issues of  management, structure, control and planning in the IS department.  

Attendees should be comfortable working and participating in small groups on tasks and in subsequently preparing and presenting the results of small group or individual analysis to larger audiences.


Attendees with experience in implementing one or more of the techniques being presented in their organization are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to attend in order to share their experience with others and learn what others have done to fully exploit the potentials available from the techniques.

  However, methodologies are seldom an entirely right fit for your circumstances.  Our Principals all have years of experience in applying the methods we use in various client situations.  The Winchester Group  consultants are all “Grey Beards,” i.e. they have twenty plus years of experience in consulting on the topic of interest to you and have usually had a hand in building and refining the methodology to be employed.  To them, the methodology is but a basic starting point from which to build and tailor the approach that is right for you.  
  Seminar Outline:  
  I. Introduction and Course Overview  
    a. Seminar approach and agenda  
    b. Overview of the four seminar topics  
    c. Introduction of participants' needs and objectives
  II. Establishing the IS Marketing Function  
    a. IS Marketing -- the forgotten function  
    b. Enhancing IS's image
    c. Public relations in IS for increased awareness  
    d. Selling the IS product line
    e. Making pricing of IS services a tool for change
    f. Making customer care job #1 in IS
    g. Promoting underutilized IS services
    h. Attracting new customers with promotions
    i. Becoming the complete business-within-the-business
  III. The Role of IS in Mergers and Acquisitions
    a. Introduction to common acquisition scenarios
    b. The role of mergers and acquisitions in organizations today
    c. Surviving the surprise acquisition
    d. Conducting the IS due diligence survey
    e. Role playing exercise
    f. Establishing the IS acquisition process
  IV. The Use of Activity-Based Costing in IS
    a. Overview and description of activity-based costing (ABC)
    b. Exercise -- pro-forma budgeting in IS using ABC
    c. Tactical uses of activity-based costing
    d. Implementation considerations
  V. Techniques for Managing IS during Periods of Rapid Organizational Growth
a. Stages of organizational growth
b. The importance of adopting Agile methods in rapid growth situations
c. Getting IS involved in organizational planning in high growth organizations
d. Realigning IS objectives to support growth
e. Adopting scenario-based planning practices in IS to handle growth
f. Case study
  VI. Seminar Summary and Close

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