How many of you have thought this?…The copy machine is supposed to copy, print, fax AND scan? How do I set THAT up?
We are so accustomed to hearing discussions and presentations on how technology is an enabler. It seems no matter what you need, someone is there to enthusiastically explain how this or that technology can assist with your need or make the problem go away. In many instances, the judicious usage of technology can significantly improve the situation.
But what happens next? By that I mean, you bought…and implemented…the whiz-bang solution that was supposed to bring you residence in Shangri-La.
Now…how do you keep it running?
How does it morph to support you as your needs grow?
How do you train new staff on how to use it?
The true report card on success comes once the consultants leave, and you’re on your own. Only then can you clearly assess the quality of the implementation, whether all necessary processes and procedures have been implemented or modified, whether your staff has been adequately trained, and how well your new processes have been adopted.
Less than adequate in any area will result in workarounds. What an oxymoron…workarounds as the “solution” to your problem!
Think Through the ENTIRE Process
In many instances, the group selling the solution has a specified test that signals successful implementation. Does the proposed test reflect what you consider successful?
Technology isn’t the point. Success comes from the processes and procedures you establish and implement for using technology, which address your problem.
I’ve been subjected to more than my share of the latest and greatest, all enthusiastically touted and sold as solutions to real business issues. I’ve had some pleasant surprises, avoided some quicksand, and, in most cases, bought with my eyes open.
The real challenge to getting my money’s worth has been performing the tough due diligence to assess how the solution will actually be operating in my world six to twelve months after the vendor has handed me the keys.
There are some great solutions being sold. Just remember, the person talking to you is selling…or drinking the Kool-Aid. It’s up to you to determine how to assess what needs to happen for you to achieve the promised nirvana.
For another thoughtful and interesting view on this topic, check out Someone Else’s Problem, by Bob Lewis – a consultant and industry pundit who’s been studying and writing about the problems in managing technology and its practitioners since the mid 1990s.