Newsletter – November 2014
Avoid cost blow outs on your next IT project
When a land owner sets out to build a multi-unit apartment block they know it is a complex project. They will start with Architects and Engineers to get the design right and then hire a builder and expect them to hire the trades as required. We just expect that, because it is obvious how complex the project is.
Yet, in many businesses when we want to build an IT system we call on IT help (internal or external) and expect a quick solution. This is because IT systems are not well understood in many businesses, leading to a situation where the slightly sighted are leading the blind.
Invest in a thoughtful IT strategy
The key is your IT team. They must be strategic to lead the change to meet the needs of the organisation, tactical to engage the right technologies and operational to deliver against the plan. If you do not have all of these capabilities in house you will need to extend you IT team with hired help one way or another.
Allow resources for the planning phase. It takes time and costs money to get the right plan in place but it avoids waste as the systems you build will deliver value to the business. Don’t expect the IT strategy to be decided upon in one visit. Possibly the biggest cause of cost blow outs on IT projects is the lack of planning put into them.
The strategic thinker in the IT team is required to select the best product for the solution and to plan the project delivery phases and identify the technical resources that will be required for delivery phase from the tactical managers to the operational delivery technicians.
Training is important
You IT operational people should be well trained to put the technologies together so they don’t introduce faults that impact the use of the systems. You should expect well-trained IT people when you outsource your help.
Your responsibility is to make sure the staff, who will use the new system, are trained on how to use the new tools to deliver the value to your clients through their ability to deliver better quality products or services. If your new IT systems fail to deliver measurable business results it will be hard to justify further investment in IT.
Expect specialists and a fixed price
Technology is every bit as complex as construction so after the best product set has been selected ensure we have capable technical people to do the installation and configuration after all, we don’t ask the electrician to do the painting when he has finished the wiring nor do we have him do the plumbing. IT systems similarly require specialist skills and knowledge to implement them well. So having a specific product master to deliver the right component of a solution will ensure days are not wasted on implementation leading to cost blow outs.
If you are about to embark on an IT project stop and think about who you need on the team. If you do not have the right resources on your internal team, seek external advice from people who have the skills you need and get a realistic budget for the project you are about to do based on the outcomes you seek not a hunch or a guess.
Cost blow outs on IT projects do not have to happen. Often specialists who know how to do what you need done will be able to give you a fixed price quote for a scoped project. Good planning, the right resources and technologies will bring about a managed outcome.
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What is the “Internet of Everything”?
The “Internet Of Everything” is the existence of uniquely identifiable devices interconnected via the Internet. The interconnection of these devices is expected to introduce automation in nearly all fields.
There is a lot of hype about IoE and we are at the point of wondering what it will mean for us as individuals, employees and businesses.
IoE will change our lives
One of the suggestions is that your toothbrush might have a chip in it and via Bluetooth will communicate with your mobile device to tell you stuff like how long it has been since you started using it or in the case of the kids tooth brushes, have they been used recently. Is that too invasive? We will be faced with all sorts of questions about what we do and don’t want connected to the IoE.
Wearable technology is already beginning to monitor health vitals and offer connected watches that monitor or report on our movements. It won’t be long before your fridge knows what is inside it and your rubbish bin knows what you threw out and the shopping list on your connected fridge door asks you to confirm the on-line order for replacing everything you have consumed this week for delivery tomorrow.
IoE will have very practical uses across our infrastructure. Street lights and traffic lights will have sensors so the services companies know where to replace a failed globe. Pipes will be able to detect where a leak is occurring so that water wastage is reduced (today 30% of our water supply is currently lost to leaks). The infrastructure cost savings by this sort of technology in smart-pipes will equate to billions of dollars and save many valleys from being flooded by new dams.
There are plenty more examples of this sort of sensor information making big differences and when this is tied to big data and data analytics the world will change quickly and significantly. The impact on businesses that must reduce wastage to remain competitive will be huge.
IoE will affect your business, so be prepared
Some of the technology is here today and much of it is in development now. Large companies have embarked on ambitious big data projects and many smaller organisations have started collecting and collating what data they can. This is leading to a growing need for data storage systems and analytics tools today.
If your business is not paying attention to the current changes in IoE technology and looking at what it means to your industry whether you are in retail sales, manufacturing, primary industry or consulting services there are changes coming to technology in the IoE that will change the way your industry thinks and works. You don’t want to be the only farmer who still waters the whole crop because you don’t have sensors telling you which third of the crop is dry.