IT Investment vs Business Process Improvement

I have lost count how many times I have encountered the situation where someone says:

“I have a problem that requires a new IT Solution…” or “We must implement “X” IT solution because it will save the company money or improve productivity” etc….

My first response is always:
1. What is the problem you are trying to solve?
2. How do you know you really have a problem?
3. Why do you think an IT solution will fix the problem or deliver all the benefits?
4. How will you know whether or not the IT solution has fixed your problem, or delivered the benefits?

The point with these questions is to try to get the person / business to really think about what they are trying to achieve, and why they think implementing a potentially expensive IT solution will deliver against their need.
What you normally find is that there is a perceived issue relating to efficiency, such as a manual process that requires a significant resource overhead to manage, or some new IT development that is promoted by the industry to improve the business performance or new ways of working.

This may well be the case, and it is quite possible that a new IT solution will be the answer to all their prayers. Equally it may not, and the key to finding out is by detailed analysis.

How to go about it?

Here are some of the basic steps you can follow to get enough information to start the ball rolling on whether to invest in a new IT solution or upgrade an existing one:

Step 1: (Define)

As a starter for 10 it is important to understand the current state of play (the “As Is”):
1. What is the existing process?
2. Is it documented? If not do so.
3. Define a way to measure how effective your process currently is.
4. Capture your Business requirements. i.e. Work out what you actually need from a process or system.
5. Defining Business requirements can be challenging, but it is an important step in determining what it is you need from a new IT System.

Step 2: (Measure)

Measure your existing process to provide a baseline and determine how efficient the process currently is.

Step 3: (Analyse)

Evaluate your Business requirements to determine if your existing processes can be improved or streamlined without the need to implement a new (expensive) technical solution.

At this point you should have a clearer view of the business need, and some good information that will enable you to move on to the next stage of building a business case that will help you when selecting the best IT solution to fit your business requirement.

We hope you have found this information useful, if you would like to make contact with Lion and Gazelle please click here to visit our website. Our specialty is delivering Business and Technology Projects focusing on Business Transformation, Process Improvement & Project and Programme Management, and we have significant experience with M&A activity having delivered a number of successful IT Separation Programmes in Airports and Media.

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