Most firms make substantial investments in information technologies to reduce operational inefficiencies, costs, and errors while increasing customer service and productivity levels. There is no doubt that investments in areas such as web-enabled ordering and account management, electronic billing and cash management, and automated inventory management systems have resulted in substantial operational improvements for companies that have done a good job designing and implementing such solutions.
The challenge for many firms, however, is not determining which technology solution would have the right features and functions for their needs but rather which solution would be the best fit for the organization given their people, processes, and organizational dynamics.
You see, a best-fit solution has the necessary features and functionalities (bells and whistles). But just as important, the solution provider and their team should act as a partner with your organization and their vision for the solution, its user interface design, and information flow should also be a strong fit.
When evaluating potential IT solutions, ask yourself:
- Can we envision ourselves as a partner with the solution developer and their implementation resources?
- Does the solution provide our people with a platform for growth (within reason) or is it too over/underwhelming for us?
- Do we have the right resources in-house to support the solution over the long haul and take advantage of its features and functionalities in order to run our business better?
When looking at IT solutions to improve your company’s capabilities, make sure your team doesn’t focus purely on a feature and functionality comparison between various alternatives. It should also take a more holistic approach that accounts for organizational aspects and the potential impact of the various solutions under review.
How does your business evaluate potential IT partners? Share in the comments.