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    Can your Technology department achieve all their goals for 2019?

    Can your Technology department achieve all their goals for 2019?

    Elkhan Shabanov

    April 17, 2019

    Wow! The first quarter of 2019 is behind us already!

    It feels just like yesterday you were planning the budget for 2019; discussing company goals and financial targets. Now, one-quarter of the way into 2019, you must ask yourself:

    “Are you any closer to those goals than in October-November of the previous year?”

    In many departments of your company, probably so, but how about the Technology department?

    “Are you any closer to having that feature that will dramatically increase your customer retention?”

    “Is that new app that is supposed to boost productivity for your operations ready for prime-time?”

    “Were you able to move your data center to a cloud to avoid costly server upgrades?”

    The most common answer to these questions is, unfortunately, “not yet.”

    Well, why is that?

    It is not like the members of your Technology Department doesn’t care about the business or are less competent about what they are doing.

    It’s quite the contrary.

    They are actually very good at what they do. But unfortunately, in their field of work, to do things right, it takes time. (Read about why it is taking longer for the Technology team to deliver results in my previous blog entries). They are more than likely overwhelmed with everything that they must deal with daily. Like all those “small” enhancement requests, having to change security requirements constantly, the maintaining of existing solutions are just a few examples of what a Technology department faces every day.

    How can you help?

    Here are some of the many options that are available to you:

    • Can you double the size of your Technology team?
    • Are you able to outsource all work to a third-party vendor?
    • Could you try to use only COTS products from now on?

    These are all excellent options, but they are not going to solve all your problems.

    • Extending your team is very expensive, time-consuming and will require much more complex orchestration to be truly effective.
    • Outsourcing all technology to a third-party will create more risk with less control and more oversight will then be necessary. It will also require more thorough Product Management practices as well.
    • Buying a readily available system is a great option, but only if you don’t need any customization and/or integration between the systems. The more customization and integration you add the more fragile, expensive, and unreliable a solution will get. For example, a major upgrade by one component vendor may require customization from scratch. This is just the beginning of the costs that will start to add up. While each individual subscription may appear as affordable and inexpensive, when you start to add in subscription costs, it can easily cost a few hundred dollars per month for each user in your organization.

    Yet, the question remains – What can YOU do?

    How about a little bit of everything?

    • Why build if you can buy? If you need something simple and straightforward, buying something already available can be your best option.
    • Expand your Technology team to a manageable size all while avoiding it from becoming the largest cost center for your organization – those engineers are not cheap.
    • When looking to outsource, instill clear and well-defined tasks to third-party vendors. Only outsource the tasks that your Technology team struggles with. Sometimes it could be the technology, the solutions, or even the complexity of the matter itself.
    • But most importantly – stay focused. Setting clear priorities for the year should be your department’s number one focus. If you were to make a wish list, I am sure it would be several pages long, but what you must ask yourself is:

    – What must get accomplished this year?

    – What can wait?

    Of course, priorities are always changing. Sometimes what isn’t considered a priority now, can suddenly shoot to the top of the list and become most important. What must be kept in mind is what other priority (or priorities) will fall below the “red line” – or the priority you will trade out for this new priority- to make way for this new “high priority.” This can pose a risk of you not following through on some of those other priorities that you wanted to accomplish this year. After all, you created this list after considering what your budget and capacity will allow you to do.

    Running a Technology department is tough, especially if you don’t have a technology background.

    If you would like to discuss my thoughts above and how we could help you to:

    • Expand your team
    • Decide when to build
    • When to buy
    • Build some projects for you and much more…
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