Monday, May 08, 2006
IT vs Business Disconnect - again...
In this weeks Economist (6th - 12th May Edition) there is a very interesting article on the state of Outsourcing in China, for those interested in the topic it's well worth a read. But a particular sentence or two really caught my attention:
Describing Chinese engineering graduates "It is as if they can describe a hacksaw and how it works perfectly.......but have no idea how to build a door with it"
I find the same thing with many IT only led projects - endless time and cosideration is given to the exact configuration of application services, pre-processors and database arrays, but little to mapping this to the needs of the business. Or rather they are under the impression that they are building a system that maps to the needs of the business, but the disjoint is so absolute that they cannot see it.
A very common illustration of this in my world of ECM is the depth of consideration IT gives to the performance issues of the 'system' but how little time to considering a logical mapping of repositories, cabinets, folders and documents to the granual operations level.
Or the same problem from a different angle...The alarm bell's always go off on a project when I hear somebody say that " the users need instant access to this data ". 'Instant, can mean many things it can mean sub-second, or it can mean a second or it can mean within a day of the data being captured (as due to the actual business process I can do anything with this data till the following day anyway.....
Other alarm triggers are people who look blankly at me when I speak of stakeholders. If you have not even stopped to consider, group and prioritize various stakeholders needs and requirements then we need to talk.
Selling the concept of spending far more time gathering and analysing requirements to customers though is hard - and I personally love the idea of joint risk and reward projects. Were I ever to run my own firm this would be the model of charging I would use. For the reality is that too many people cut corners with business consulting and yet lavish money at boxes and software, later to moan that the deployment failed or fell short of expectations. With a risk and reward model, I would be able to demand the prep work of discovery and stakeholder analysis be done properly :-)
On a separate note or two: I read through the edited version of the article for Intelligent Enterprise - once again I owe a huge debt of thanks to an editor, this time Doug Henschen. I think the piece now looks great and am looking forward to publication. There is also a small spin off article that I think will go live this week on Open Source ECM that I shall post a link to.
Looking forward to AIIM next week - George Parapadakis is getting his MIT award, and I have a huge number of people I want to say hello to. If you are to be there too say hello to me, don't be shy! My speaking slot is the track keynote at 10am on Thursday, fingers crossed - I have given this a huge amount of thought, and had some wonderful input and feedback from so many. So this time its not just Alan on stage spouting off, its Wipro, and this blog - the response on the blog (though as usual most seem to want to communicate off blog - and that's ok) has been heartwarming. I realise that having a passion for ECM and RM and more importantly Doing IT Right (better) is a pretty lonely furrow to plough, but it fires me up to know I am not the only one.