28 September, 2015
Often, technology overwhelms us: instead of making life easier, it makes it more complicated. It happens when we try to adapt ourselves to the technology instead of doing the other way round. It seems easy to give free rein to our imagination. The need to bring technology into companies is being repeated like a mantra, but if this idea is not accompanied by a preliminary analysis enabling to understand which purposes are pursued, efforts will be useless, wasting money and time. Frequently, this approach is related to creativity and innovation, but it is only a bad habit. Defining objectives before any technological implementation is crucial, but usually it is not trivial, because they must be specific to each company.
If you are a supplier of any innovative technology you will probably have to help your clients in this preliminary process, which is basically related to process analysis, in order to provide a high quality product or service. By not doing so, the following is likely to happen:
– The implementation is over-dimensioned (either by incorporating extra functionalities which will never be used or by involving departments or users use that will never use the tool), with its corresponding over-costs.
– The project is shut down because the client doesn’t see a clear relation between efforts and benefits.
The projects ends up being like The Way of the Cross with constant changes, last-minute suggestions and endless schedules which will certainly make that supplier and client get mad at each other.
As in many different areas, and as Agile methodology lovers point out, we can see here the Pareto principle, maybe not literally but as an approximation: 80% of users uses 20% of features of an application. Therefore, before any technological implementation, it’s crucial to understand what client needs in order to offer something really useful. When we talk specifically about information technologies, this means the following:
– Understand which benefits have to be provided by the application and in case of more than one, prioritize them. It seems obvious, but actually it becomes hard specially when several departments are involved.
– Specify which features and indicators will be most crucial in the short term.
– Define how to visualize this indicators.
When it comes to implement the application, it is important doing it step by step, prioritizing what is crucial and keeping continuous feedback with the client (Agile methodology).