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Few tips for taking informed decisions in the challenging world of IT and software solutions providers.
Whether it is a Workforce Management (WFM), an App for the management of the company car fleet or a predictive maintenance system the difficulty for the modern entrepreneur is to choose IT solutions that are correctly aligned with his own business objectives, which allow a clear understanding of the return on investment, and which solve problems rather than create new ones.
The number of technological solutions available today is truly dizzying and capable of confusing even the most experienced entrepreneur or manager. To complicate everything more, there is also the large number of suppliers on the market and their value proposals. Furthermore, it is well known that often the most challenging IT projects involve long maintenance times and great impact of unexpected changes in terms of activities and resources. As a decision maker, choosing any new technology means that you are at a crossroads whose implications are not always known or properly understood. One point is important in every case, the chosen direction must always put the needs of employees and customers first.
So what are the critical issues of an IT project and where to start? Understanding the scope.
Phase 1 – Why
Above all, the starting point is to understand WHY you want to start this project, what is its ultimate purpose. An internal analysis and a comparison with your technical department are therefore essential. Even, before listing the technical specifications, it will unequivocally express the strategic objectives of your project. Many more or less analytical and complex tools are available. Today in the toolbox of the good manager and the entrepreneur there are plenty of useful tools ranging from the complete Business Plan, to the Balanced Scorecard, from the Business Model Canvas to the Lean Canvas. In all cases, the first step will always be to include any IT project that aims to involve functions and departments into appropriate strategic plan and to share it with all the managerial functions. In the end, it is not a matter of debating the decision-making autonomy of management but of understanding the real impact of the initiative on company procedures and resources.
Having clarified the WHY, the next step is to define WHAT is strictly necessary for the success of the project.
Phase 2 – What
Before starting the search for a specific solution, the best practice is to gather the key indications coming out from the needs mapping and summarized in a Proof of Concept (POC) as accurate as possible. This ultimately allows you to understand which solution the company would actually need, whether it is an end-to-end system, connectivity management or platforms based on cloud technologies. Services and solutions that not all IT suppliers are able to offer.
This brings us to a critical topic of our analysis, that is to understand what are the fundamental criteria to define WHO is the best potential partner for our delicate IT project.
Phase 3 – Who
There are many criteria for defining the best technological partner in a practical way, but we suggest these simple rules.
1 – Try to evaluate human and technological resources in addition to technical competence. These are details that are not always easy to deduce but certainly help in the evaluation, namely:
- references in their customer portfolio
- list of services offered (the more full-stacks are the better is):
- IT management and consultancy expertise
- native and / or cross-platform mobile app development capabilities
- know-how in advanced Web solutions
- Expertise in UX and UI Design (for simple and consistent interface solutions)
- Experience in DevOps (because it provides a guarantee on the supplier’s ability to provide and organize solutions quickly)
2. Try to understand the procedures, methodologies and approach to grasp the actual transparency and the degree of reliability. Sharing an Agile Approach and the use of advanced Project management tools (such as Jira for example) is a good starting point.
3. Assure the quality of the project without any kind of compromise knowing in advance the methodologies, the activities and the test plan for the project.
4. Accountability for personal responsibility as well as maximum support and correct commitment to maintenance are distinctive features of the best technological partners. This not only guarantees that you will never be left alone in the different project phases but also that the project will be delivered on time and within the expected budget.
Above clarifications allow us to shed light on another important issues of a relationship with a good IT solution supplier that is to understand HOW they work and what guarantees can be assured for project.
Phase 4 – How
Understanding how the potential technological partner works and with whom he did it reveals his operational maturity, his possible technological agnosticism and his ability to cope with unexpected accidents. However, it also highlight his attention to the security of the system and his experience such issues.
Finally, what previously said leads us to one of the most subtly simple elements of our evaluation, that is, HOW MUCH we want to invest in the project and what return we can expect from this investment.
Phase 5 – How much
Truly relevant IT projects are often important investments and, with the level of service, the software, the eventual purchase and installation of the devices, they end up constituting a capital expenditure even in competition with other company projects.
Therefore, if the entrepreneur or manager has a concrete plan and a solid POC, if all aspects from safety to maintenance have been clarified and if we have chosen our technological partner with care, we will also have a solid ROI capable of ensuring that the project will not only pay us back through profits, but also through the gains in efficiency and productivity that the solution was designed to provide.
// Who is MOLO17
Founded in 2015, MOLO17 is a future-oriented company that shapes challenging projects using a highly human-centered approach. For some time now it has been the partner of reference for Italian and foreign companies in search of skills and safety in the process of designing and developing cutting-edge Web and Mobile solutions. MOLO17 is a company of the holding The Harbor, which today welcomes 25 of the best talents in the sector.