Investment in business solution technology is part of how a business remains competitive. The IT department can provide advice, but ultimately the business areas need to own their technology solutions. Here are some things to think about when you are looking to make a technology investment.
When you go to the board for approval of a technology solution, the board will only want to make a single decision regarding a CAPEX, but you also need to include the OPEX for ongoing improvements and refinements. This initial project is just the one to get the momentum going. You need to keep the momentum by continuing to refine and improve.
Because it is not a one-off project you can’t have a one-off budget.
Team of Champions
Pull together a team of champions for the solution in different business areas, or in a pilot area that will go first. These will be key users of the system that can provide feedback, and understand the feedback that others provide. They will also be able to offer guidance on if a ‘problem is actually an issue, or if it can be solved by educating the user on how they can already do it in the system.
Because it is not a one-off project you need an ongoing team of champions.
Start your implementation with the out of the box solution as a minimum viable product (MVP), based on the key scenarios that the solution needs to cover. This gives the pilot team some time to become familiar with how the solution works, helping with change management. You can talk about this happening on a test system, but it is not until it goes live that the real scenarios and potential issues will start to come out so you should go live with a pilot area and team. They can provide feedback that can be recorded to a backlog. This backlog may end up with items that are there simply because it is not the same as what they had done in the past; people are adapting to a different way so these will likely fall off the list once users become more familiar with the solution. New ideas will come from the solution either because they are available or because the use of the new solution has reopened thinking regarding process changes.
Because it is not a one-off project you need to keep a backlog of scenarios / user stories. Give them a priority and a score on complexity to work out.
Leverage Technology Enhancements
Technology vendors are constantly enhancing their online solutions. Are you taking advantage of enhancements that are potentially being provided as part of your existing subscription?
Because it is not a one-off project you need to know what enhancements the vendor is providing and how they could help your business solution.
Technology solutions are part of every competitive business today. It is the business that owns the solution, not IT, so make sure you plan for an ongoing investment both in financials and resources to use that technology to help you achieve your business goals.