Saturday, July 3, 2010

What You Should Know When Selecting Software for Your Organization - Part Four

After reading Susan Cramm's book, 8 Things We Hate About IT, available through Harvard Business Press, I saw the need to supplement this series.*

(* For prior posts in this series, click to go to Part One (preliminary phase), Part Two (product search phase), or Part Three (final selection phase).)

Cramm, who is also author of the Harvard Business Review blog, "Have IT Your Way," clearly boils down her extensive experience into a simple handbook for the "IT-Challenged" manager. Here are a few points that are applicable to those in my series on purchasing software:

1. Before running headlong into a purchase, (a) evaluate the idea from the perspective of your boss's boss, (b) check to see whether the capability already exists, (d) ensure that you are ready to devote the necessary resources and (e) verify that the idea is as good as you think. (Cramm, p. 81)

2. Dramatically increase the odds of success for your initiative by (a) defining a clear purpose, (b) engage the "head, heart and hands" of those involved in your project, (c) integrate and streamline business processes, (d) leverage existing technology and (e) use a "fast cycle" approach that delivers at least some value every 3-6 months throughout the project. (Id., p. 89)

Rather than trying to digest the book for you here, I recommend you pick it up as soon as you can, especially if you are already planning a new IT project for your organization. It is concise yet you will use it as a reference book for a long time.

If you are the CIO, then get a copy for your "less-than-IT-enabled" managers who impact IT decisions and budgeting. And do it yesterday!