In his book “Start with Why”, marketing consultant Simon Sinek explains that most business leaders can explain what they do and even how they do it, but only the best business leaders can explain why they do it. [http://www.startwithwhy.com] Simon’s explaination for why that’s important is that your business is not going to stand out because of what you do, or how you do it, but rather it’s the sense of purpose that attracts clients, customers and investors to your organization.
The same could be said about technology solutions. When we’re analysing business processes and the technologies that tie them together, we often see a lot of energy spent on accomplishing a specific task, rolling out a new project or just keeping a certain process alive. But when we ask why the process exists in the first place, that’s when things get interesting.
9 times out of 10 we get a pretty good answer to start. ‘this happens so that will happen’. ‘Why does that happen?’ ‘So this other thing will happen’ and so on. When we dig in far enough, we often find that some solutions exist for the mere reason that someone thinks it should exist, or at one time someone thought it should exist.
In my career, I’ve seen processes that do nothing for the organization but keep IT busy. I’ve seen high speed network connections costing $650 a month plugged into nothing, and sitting for over a year. I’ve seen antiquated technologies up and online simply because no one’s quite sure what it does or if it could be shut down. These add tremendous costs to the organization.
Not that it isn’t a valiant goal to make a technology work, but the purpose of technology is to better the business. Often we see that parts of the business exist to support the technology. It should be the other way around.
When analysing a technical solution, first start with why the solution exists. Then ask yourself, is that the best way? Only then can you really know if the time, money and risk put into the “solution” is worth it.
The challenge on keeping up with the latest technologies is not to have the latest and greatest (those two things are not always mutually exclusive by the way), the real challenge is in knowing why that solution exists and what the real benefit is to the business. Bells and whistles are cool and all. Who doesn’t love a good gadget? But you must consider the risk and cost to the business when implementing it as a solution. Why? because once you integrate a technical solution into the business, the business becomes dependent on it.
One of the fastest ways to save money in a business is to find unnecessary costs, processes and technologies and get rid of them. This not only frees up resources, but it makes the entire system more comprehensive.
Just as the best business leaders know why they do what they do, the best IT leaders must know the reasoning behind every process and continually evaluate the usefulness of that solution. Can you imagine doing a cost/benefit analysis on something without knowing why it exists in the first place? It actually happens more often than you think.
What’s your why? Need help finding out? CBC Solutions was founded on the principle that most consulting shops miss this simple point. That technology must have a purpose in the organization and ultimately reduce costs. If it’s not doing that, it has no purpose. Contact us to find out more on how we can help you find the why in your solutions architecture.