A blog by Atle Skjekkeland

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You Are Buying IT Wrong

Posted by Atle Skjekkeland on Feb 5, 2015 5:14:34 AM

The typical RFP process is a long journey with stakeholder meetings, surveys, and workshops. You end up documenting every feature and function that would be nice to have vs must-have. The list of requirements keep growing and growing, and soon you end up with a 200+ page requirement document. You engage possible solution providers to find the one that best matches your requirements, you sign the contract, and then start implementing it. You also hire or appoint a good project manager to balance features, schedule, and cost. 

It will still most likely fail. You find that staff don’t like the solution or that the requirements have changed since you started the project. Executive support keeps dwindling, and soon you are left with a project that nobody cares about. Sounds familiar?

One of the problems is the RFP process. You are buying IT wrong. Imagine you did a classic RFP project within your household to buy a new TV remote. You ask your family what they need to watch TV, get on-demand movies, play games, and even surf the internet. The result is a long list of necessary features and functions, and you then published this RFP to possible solution providers. The result: You end up with a Comcast or Verizon remote with lots of buttons that we rarely use. 

This may also be why the typical Enterprise IT solution comes with a lots of features and functions that we don’t use. Solution providers keep adding new features based on customer requests, but they often move away from the average user for every feature or function they add. You even see this in office productivity software like Microsoft Excel. I have been told that the average user use 3-5% of the functionality in Excel, but we pay for 100%. Keeping it simple and smart like the Apple TV remote would reduce the implementation costs, training costs, and support requirements. It will also allow the business to quickly gain the expected benefits from using the solution. It’s time for KISS2.0 – Keep it Simple and Smart.

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Stop managing IT projects by balancing features, resources, and schedule. Focus instead on value, capacity, and time-to-market metrics. A "Implement first, optimize later” policy allowed a big oil and gas company to roll out 125+ apps (incl SAP) in just 1 year for a new rig they acquired for around 1bn Euro. A large private bank in the US takes it one step further with the slogan: No Software, No Hardware, No Staff” to force change. Avoid complex or custom configuration, customization, and integration. Buy products, not projects. Don’t list all required features and functions, list instead what you minimum need to make an impact. Keep it simple and smart. Support the business find technology that improves the business. Go for an Apple TV remote, not Comcast or Verizon.

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Welcome to my blog. My name is Atle Skjekkeland, Chief Evangelist at AIIM – the Association for Information and Image Management.

I am a modern day Norwegian viking fighting for how to best use technology to transform businesses. Join me explore how technology and information can be used to create a new reality, add value, reduce costs, or manage risk.

I have for the last 9 years lived with my family in "Vinland" - this is what the vikings used to call America when they discovered this continent hundreds of years before Columbus. But even vikings get homesick, and our new home is now in Kristiansand, Norway.

Join me to explore how to best transform businesses to become digital businesses. If I can help, contact me at askjekkeland@aiim.org.

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