Driving Technology Projects The Right Way

Sometimes people get stuck in the weeds when evaluating technology projects by focusing on key features and product capabilities and not on solving business challenges. Although gathering both business and technical requirements are essential to any successful technology project, projects should start from a business perspective and based on a business pain being experienced. A common one might be lack of visibility into what is happening across the organization. Or not meeting yearly targets but missing some key information to find out why. In some cases, organizations launch initiatives based on business challenges being experienced, while in others, BI or analytics is an initiative on its own. Although there are potential positive outcomes, there are also greater risks of failure due to scope creep or the inability to design solutions that help business people gain insight into what they require for better decision making.

To implement a solution successfully, there needs to be a balance between both – the need to address business challenges on the one hand, and the development of a supportive infrastructure on the other hand. Sometimes, however, there are time crunches or unrealistic time constraints placed on the selection process. The outcome tends to be technical resources looking at which solutions are the best technical fit and then fitting that to how solutions should be developed for end users. This differs from a traditional evaluation whereby organizations take the time to engage their stakeholders and ensure that business needs and daily processes are taken into account. Although time consuming, this phase helps with the software selection process, development of solutions that meet the needs of business users, metrics identification, and potential scalability challenges. In most cases, taking the time for diligence leads to solutions that help organizations solve the business pains being faced.

For SMBs specifically, time and budgetary constraints may cause organizations to take shortcuts by evaluating product capabilities without taking the time to gather business requirements and understand the needs of the various stakeholders within the organization. The reality is that IT related projects should be connected directly to solving business challenges. As an extension of this, organizations need to start by focusing on the needs of business units and understanding how technology can address and help solve business challenges and not the other way around.

This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM’s Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.