Earlier this month, Fordway brought together a group of top IT executives from leading organisations of excellence across different industries for an offsite strategic planning workshop and lunch at Glaziers Hall, London Bridge.
Fordway’s CEO Richard Blanford, designed and facilitated the one-day workshop that enabled delegates to identify common challenges in a peer-led workshop that captured shared insights and solutions from the senior leaders in attendance.
Learning from peers outside the company
Held under Chatham House rules, the strategy workshop exercises took participants in a dive into the core issues that are current or could prevent their team from ensuring future success with their cloud transformation strategies.
All participants said they found the workshop format extremely useful and that they would attend similar Fordway events in the future and would recommend the event to colleagues. All found it a valuable way of having an independent sounding board for new ideas, as well as getting experienced input on particularly tricky IT issues by having the opportunity to learn from how other senior leaders approach similar issues.
All delegates agreed that defining an IT strategy to meet current and future organisational requirements when there is no direction from the business was a key challenge.
This led to a fruitful discussion around the issues this causes and potential remedies to apply, such as forging stronger peer-to-peer relationships with the Chief Executive, CFO, COO and other CXOs within their organisations to understand their priorities and business focus to piece the puzzle together.
Most agreed that getting the best value out of their current licenses was a key priority and how to apply a ‘do more with less’ approach with their existing Microsoft licenses, plus ensure that they had effective licence management in place to ensure their organisations weren’t over-licensed and paying for resources they didn’t use.
Another issue discussed was the challenge of being tied into long-term contracts with their current IT providers where the contract was not delivering effectively and the delegates had not been party to the contract.
This led to a discussion on how to apply security and governance for hybrid cloud environments, especially as many of the delegates came from organisations that are not cloud intensive businesses.
All agreed that having the capability in house to develop and drive a strategy with the skills needed for vendor analysis was their main focus, and that independent advice from a cloud MSP or other partner rather than relying on the vendor sales team was invaluable.
The most important part of an IT strategy workshop is what happens next…
They say knowledge is power, but it’s the application of the knowledge that is the true power. To follow through with ideas after the event each delegate was given the opportunity to follow up with one of Fordway’s cloud specialists to get impartial advice and guidance on what support they might need to develop an actionable cloud strategy, one that would enable discussions with internal stakeholders.
One delegate said ‘This kind of intimate event makes a big difference. It’s really useful to actually talk to people and get unbiased, practical views from other IT professionals who are striving to remain ahead of the curve on a range of complex issues.’ ‘It’s good to know you’re not alone’, said another.
Ashley Denness, New Business Executive at Fordway said,
‘It’s great way to bring IT leaders together in one room to think about shared experiences and common IT challenges faced in their organisations. Often IT leaders think that the issues they face are unique and pertinent to their business, but they are often common issues that most leaders have to grapple with, regardless of the industry they work in.
I think this has been reflected in the issues that delegates raised. Getting a new perspective on these challenges and how other’s resolve them is great opportunity for delegates to learn and share experiences with each other and I firmly believe enabled each delegate to leave the event with useful ideas they can begin to apply and new contacts to help them deliver their organisations strategy.’
It shows you that stepping out of the office to work on your IT strategy is always a morning well spent!