With the election over, China’s financials improving as a result of policy changes by their government a few months ago, and global markets returning to growth, it’s time to shift thinking in your business to finding solutions for your IT issues.
Have you been ‘putting up’ with things for too long due to weak business conditions?
Do you have creaking infrastructure, under-skilled or overly distracted technical support or a lack of accountability around IT issues in your business?
If you have, chances are you are in a great position to do some strategic planning. Please don’t make the common mistake of running out and buying technology to solve a poorly defined problem.
Stop, do some business planning and figure out what your business strategy is and where your technology problems lie.
Then you will be in a position to assess the work required leading to the ability to get sensible proposals for the work and systems needed. You can then select technology and resources in a manner more likely to lead to a successful outcome in a realistic timeframe.
I heard a great analogy today in a pre-planning meeting with a client. If you were to stand in a field and call for a house to be built by a bunch of inexperienced people with nothing but the local resources at hand they wold start by scraping together the local sand mud and clay. If you were lucky they would come up with a design for a brick that they could build your house out of. They would then start building using that custom-built brick and only as they progressed would they discover what was wrong with the brick and then what was wrong with the house.
Once, I helped my brother-in-law Tony build a light earth house. I only did a couple of days’ wall-building to be fair. It was an experimental activity with a design and a lose delivery methodology based on his previous experience with a mud brick construction and some reading he had done. It ended well but there were a few walls built that either fell down or had to be pulled down and rebuilt as different methods were tried and failed. The house is a stunning success but there were many failures along the way.
IT works much the same way. You need to start with a business strategy then call on IT architects to design the right solution to house your data problem. Just buying obvious components of a solution will not get the best structure built in the most efficient way.
The people maintaining your current system may be part of the problem here because they can see a technology up solution to updating what you have. They may not see a business strategy down solution that will drive better productivity or open new opportunities for your organisation. They also may only have an experimental approach to building the finished product.
With new technology emerging faster than ever before, there is no chance that your SME service providers or internal IT staff know about all of options out there. There are new ways to do everything, from cloud solutions to integrated apps and mobility solutions to reporting and business intelligence tools.
Ensuring privacy and security is maintained across whatever platforms you are using adds to the pile of solutions to be considered.
This only strengthens the argument for getting clarity on the business problem you are trying to resolve before looking to the tools available. This kind of clarity on the required solution lets you seek specific tools or tools with specific capabilities. There are specialist consultants who can help you maximise the success of these design stages both from an application point of view and a platform point of view.
Strategic planning should start without technology or budget constraints. It should be about creating the solution that services the business goals as defined in the plan. Of course it needs to get real before it gets built, but by starting with an open mindset you have the chance to innovate and possibly find breakthrough ideas for your business.
The solution you settle on needs to include delivering on the desired outcome and delivering value back to the business. If you can see a path to achieving this then finding the budget for the stuff you need to buy and do will be a simpler proposition.
Of course the thinking that got you to here is not the thinking that will get you to where you need to be, so if you are not sure what problem you need to solve, find an analyst who can help you determine the key influences on your success. If you need more options around solutions to the problem you have, find an architect.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.