Strategy in IT

With the whirlwind of development and recent announcements about portalBase, it’s time to take a step back and think about why we’ve been making these improvements and what it all adds up to as a whole.

Lets think about how IT can work in various strategy scenarios:

  • Best of suite: your organisation attempts to buy the best all singing, all dancing ERP suite that can be found, geared to handling all of your important needs. Great! This can work smoothly for core and stable areas of business. However if you need to adapt, change, learn and explore new areas, it’s likely this won’t cover everything. In fact, even if one could buy a system that had everything you could need built in it would probably be so complex it would sink the organisation that tried to adopt it
  • Best of breed: a popular approach is to purchase lots of piecemeal products that do one thing each and do it well. This is often the ‘default’ approach used by organisations who don’t really think strategically about IT. Integration generally isn’t considered at purchase time. It can be done but at the cost of fragility – one small update or change can magnify down the line causing expensive unforseen consequences. An alternative is to not bother, resulting in silos of separate data and people lost in a flurry of spreadsheets flying around.
  • Bespoke: popular once, until purchasers realised how expensive the ultimate development cost was and how  s l o w  change requests were to action. Interestingly it seems a lot of government projects still take this approach
  • Agile platforms: are a recent development that’s proven popular when used as a wrapper around ‘best of suite’ or as a quick prototyping and learning application. They do however have technical limits and aren’t a cure for all ills.

Our background in Lean thinking and ten years’ experience in the IT sector has given us a strong set of core beliefs about the direction that IT in the business is headed in, for leading organisations.

With portalBase we’ve had a chance to put this learning into action.

We find that ERP suites, vertically tailored applications and the like, commonly suit the core day to day tasks that any particular business needs to get done to function. However, there’s an astonishing amount of agro. that can be caused if a company tries to be at all entrepreneurial and branch off into other areas – either they don’t have the IT support necessary, which causes artificial constraints or the pain of dealing with suppliers is too great from a blood pressure or a cost (or both) point of view.

However an expandable platform that allows quick development (and teardown if necessary) together with visibility into how the data is being used, provides the lightweight support necessary for growing, without getting in the way.

Please feel free to comment and see you again soon. We look forward to continuing to build in cutting edge technology while we learn with new and existing clients.

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