The late Peter Drucker is famously attributed with the phrase, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and we couldn’t agree with him more. In fact, at DPT, we have our own take… strategy eats technology for breakfast.
Just as culture formulates a solid foundation to build and ultimately implement strategic initiatives, strategic focus provides the same foundation for technology applications. In many businesses, this also equates to the difference between technology and solutions. To put it simply, technology is the “impulse purchase” made to fill a current and immediate need. In contrast, a solution is planned. It’s rooted in a strategic vision that incorporates both current and future-state business requirements.
Human nature lends to pushing the conversation to an immediate and impulsive decision. Too often, this “solution” is a band aid that resolves only a single and immediate need without much consideration for the long-term consequences. While resolving that need may be important, this approach lacks strategy and will inevitably lead to an ecosystem of unsustainable technologies and endless integrations.
In other words, a long list of headaches that could have been avoided with a well-planned strategy.
If you were constructing a home, you wouldn’t want your builder to start pouring a foundation without blueprints. There’d have to be planning involved. You’d talk about the basement, square footage, the number of stories, and layout before beginning. In this situation it may seem like common sense, but your business should be taking a similar approach to building sustainable applications and technology solutions.
When implementing applications ranging from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to business process management solutions, stick to a tried-and-true approach to collect business requirements. This helps to ensure you tie people, process, and technology into the business solutions you ultimately implement.
Below are just some of the key elements to a foundational approach in building sustainable technology applications to help drive your strategic business initiatives.
- Slow down. Don’t make impulse decisions. Take the time to understand the strategic business initiatives. Interview key shareholders and stakeholders throughout the organization to increase visibility and alignment between each area of the business. Listen to the unique requirements and pain-points they have. Key stakeholders will appreciate being involved in the chartering process.
- Review Recommendations. Once you have put a high-level framework around the solution requirements, reconvene with the key stakeholders to discuss recommendations. These recommendations should be ranked and prioritized based on critical success factors to achieving your business goals. Ensure a solution is tailored to your business and workflow by focusing the discussion around people, process, and technology applications.
- Create a Detailed Project Plan. Once the requirements and goals are firmly documented, understood, and signed-off on, proceed with a detailed project plan. If possible, it is always wise to involve Project Management Professionals (PMP) to guide the entire process. While key team members often hold intimate knowledge in key areas, a project manager will help ensure these subject matter experts are pulling the rope in the same direction.
The process of vetting and implementing a solution may seem long and tedious compared to quickly patching up a problem, but it’s worth it. Remember: strategy eats technology for breakfast. So become proactive and avoid problems down the road by carefully considering and planning solutions that are driven by your strategic business goals and objectives. We’d be happy to help.