Available does not equal best

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

No Technology in Brighton By Sammy0716 on flickr

Note: I love technology…believe me I do.  I just really liked this photo :)

I Just finished reading Implementing new technologies for the right reasons over on the Enterprise CIO Forum.  The article, written by Martin Davis of Canada’s J D Irving Ltd, provides a nice reminder in today’s technology driven world.  The post is a good one with some excellent advice and worth jumping over and reading. I’d like to highlight one very important aspect from that post.

Martin writes:

It often seems that we decide on a technology solution then start looking for an opportunity to use it, or we implement technology projects because they seem like a good idea. Possibly you feel that IT is leading the customer and worry that if IT did not propose new solutions the business would still be using pen and paper?

Now…what Martin says is really nothing new (and he even admits that)…but its worth repeating.  Actually, it seems like we have to repeat it regularly within IT because we tend to forget it.  That said, I think we in IT need to start communicating this same message out to those not in IT as well, especially given that many technology projects are now being kicked off and driven by non-IT people and groups.

What I’ve found over the last few years is that many non-IT groups have been given more control over their technology projects and/or have Shadow IT projects underway.  These projects have given their stakeholders a feel for technology projects, which leads to more technology projects…and more technology projects.

The danger here, as most of us in IT know too well, is that implementing technology for technology’s sake is a bad idea.  Just because we can implement a new ‘gee whiz’ system, doesn’t always mean we should.

Martin continues with:

The boundaries between IT and business are becoming increasingly blurred by consumer technology, however IT is still responsible for researching and making the business aware of opportunities. But, this should be one of many inputs into the business strategy process, and not the only reason to implement new technology.

Very true.  Just because a technology is available, doesn’t mean its right for the business. Keep in mind – Strategy first, Technology Second.

Image Credit: No Technology in Brighton By Sammy0716 on flickr

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

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  • elliotross

    So very, very true Eric,

    To extend on that – beyond the ‘good idea’ and then try to understand what to use a technology investment for, is another one that I have seen.

    And that is a decision along the lines of; “we need a ____” (insert CMS/CRM/ERP etc tool here)

    With little to no analysis on whether or not that is actually needed.

    Yes, perhaps that CRM system will help you, but if your largest business problem is that you ship your product correctly on time / first time only 5% of the time – Perhaps that ‘CRM’ system is a silver bullet you hope will help – when most likely it won’t.

    With no analysis of where internal “pain points” and inter-business process friction is – simply saying “we need___” is neither strategy nor even a sound ‘technology’ choice

    Thank you again and Regards

    Elliot

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  • pcalento

    Application of technology (which is my definition of “innovation” – http://bit.ly/jLaEB0), not the technology itself is the differentiator. This is IT’s greatest strength.

    I fear, however, that Martin’s well thought out position can be misinterpreted and used by many managers to inhibit IT’s role in the consumerization era. While there’s a lot of discussion about the role of the CFO in IT budgeting/decisions/etc., you make not of “stealth IT”… the role sales and functional business managers have on IT. By taking a “know your role” stance, these projects, if successful, undermine IT, who’s predisposition and analytical nature may be to play by the rules.

    –Paul Calento (http://bit.ly/paul_calento)

    (note: I work on projects sponsored by Enterprise CIO Forum and HP)

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