Lodahl's blog: It's not enough that the IT solutions works

18 November 2007

It's not enough that the IT solutions works

-Solutions needs to add value !

Traditionally we think of laptops, servers, network, Windows operating system and pc programs when the talk comes to IT in business matters. But if you want to get the best of your IT investments, it's important that you don't make your discissions based on the amount of features and functions. Much more important things must be taken into consideration.

It's no big deal to buy a new server or to install an update to the database system. The challenge comes when we want to exchange the new technology into actual valuable working processes in the organization. One of the conditions for creating value is that the staff, customers, subcontractors and so on can and will learn how to use what comes from the investments. This can only happen if the investments has been

  1. based on business needs
    not from what others do or what you think would be a nice geek. The organizational needs must be covered up front, so that the solution can help improve the collaborative processes in the right direction.
  2. introduced during a successful implementation
    not only from a technical perspective, but also from an organizational perspective. Users must be involved, so the solution is set up to match the individual needs.
  3. adopted in a way that suits the business needs
    This is unfortunately not always the case in real life. Education and full introduction is necessary to get a successful implementation.

Today, words like Web2.0, mobile access and on demand as well as the technology behind it, is setting the agenda. Everything must be accessible from the web and from mobile devices. For instance, users can read mail and see customer information from CRM systems. Mobile access has limited functionality, but covers most of the needs.

We are going away from the traditional computer installed program. The trend is going towards focusing less on individual features and we accept that the applications work a little bit different from what we are used to.

This is a healthy development, because it's more important that a function is adding value to the people using it, for instance by enhancing collaboration, than adding a bunch of new buttons. Many has already discovered this by changing from Microsoft Office to the free and open OpenOffice.org. With a simular investment you can both install the software (free) and develop templates and macros as well as train the users in how it works. This is because the expenses moved from licenses to organizational implementation.

By doing this, you spend money on adding value, not only on making it work

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