Making Technology an Asset, Not a Liability

Is technology really providing value to your organization?  So often the business depends on the IT organization to deliver value rather than using technology to support the business to deliver value.  Often the project is proposed by IT and they promise value.  However the value is not intrinsic in the application of technology, the value comes from the use of the application by the business to deliver value.

I recall so many times the IT folks came up with a great idea for a project and got agreement to proceed.  However the reluctance for the business to change and the reluctance of management to push for the change results in a project that does not the promised value.

I remember a huge inventory management project was initiated by a large mining company based on an IT Strategic Plan.  The project was intended to managed the parts inventory throughout the integrated facility.  However the project was really a big IT project using the latest software.  After two years, the project was scraped because it was not delivering the desired results.  Many theories exist as to why the project failed. My thought was that this was not an business initiated project but an IT project, without support from the people who could make it work. 

The partnership between the business and IT is really critical to the success of a project.  The leadership and determination of the business is essential for success of the project.

Our approach to this issue begins with planning and engages the business in a dialog.  The strategy work involves assessing where the business is now, what others are doing, strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities.  Based on all this data the key stakeholders work on where they want to be and set direction.  Once the direction is set, we look at the top priorities and develop action plans.  This key step is to develop actionable plans that can produce results quickly for the business.  Creating rapid results for the business, gives the organization momentum and courage to move forward.  We call this business value through rapid results.

The key principle in the planning process is assessing the readiness of the business to use IT to enable their business to be more productive, competitive and  differentiated from the competition.  Often the history of frustration with IT reduces people's readiness so creating early success is essential to create momentum.  The business must have confidence that IT can really help the business and become an asset rather than just another cost.     

I welcome comments from people who have had similar experience or contrary ideas.

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