Recently, Panorama Consulting posted a piece we swear they must have written after overhearing some of the conversations we have among ourselves and with clients. Their post concerns the need for companies today to leverage the availability of outside resources and expertise – so they don’t have to ‘go it alone’ when it comes to surmounting a few key IT strategy challenges. The four they call into play include:
1. Creating an IT strategy and roadmap that fits your business. There is a bewildering array of choices in enterprise software and technology solutions. SMBs have little room for error, given their modest budgets. Thus it is critical to work with an outside consultant who can objectively assess your needs.
The best of them can present two options: what at our firm like to call biased and unbiased. An unbiased analysis will be largely software agnostic: just tell us what we need in tech and software by providing us with a roadmap, and we’ll seek out our own options. The biased approach says: You guys know the territory. Apply your own filter or bias if you think you have a solution that fits, and we’ll factor your views into our thinking.
Either way, you want to end up with a ‘roadmap’ that has been vetted by external experts to give you that extra bit of assurance that you’re on the right track.
2. Organizational adoption of new systems. Whatever decision you reach about your IT future, it’s bound to stir up some change, both direct and indirect. Never underestimate the need for organizational change management. Tech firms often spend too much time on the “tech” and not enough on things like people, strategy, and the business. Be sure you keep your eyes on the prize. Good consultants can help ensure that you’re focused on all the right business objectives, and help you manage and direct the change within your organization.
3. Alignment between new technology and your current business processes. We can’t say it too often: your technology doesn’t mean much if it is not aligned with your business processes. You need to define and chart your workflows, and work with your consultant or provider to ensure that your software and systems match that flow. Be sure you’re thinking about future processes when you do this. Focus on the pain points. A consultant with Six Sigma experience can help greatly in ensuring that your technology is well aligned with your underlying needs and processes.
4. Realizing the ROI of enterprise technology investments. New technology, as Panorama notes “may sound good in theory, but if it doesn’t deliver tangible business benefits, then it isn’t helping your organization.”