CEOs and companies’ IT leadership must apply caution while deciding on in-house technology advances. A company must only delve into such projects based on a strong business case, wherein all the merits of such projects are mapped out and other prerequisites complied with.
It is not just the need and cost that matters, or that its unavailable as an off-the-shelf application. The decision to go for an in-house initiative has to be based on a much more comprehensive scrutiny. There must be full preparedness of the company’s ecosystem and all other critical fundamentals of the software lifecycle development process to roll out such projects.
I continue to see managements under pressure from their units citing compelling business needs and rushing into hurried software developmental engagements. Many a time, the management is cornered to take hasty decisions by over enthusiastic tech-oriented individuals and teams.
Companies, therefore, often enter into hurried developments without going through a full review of the business capability in terms of its implementation, scalability and obsolescence.
Some basic steps
Before embarking on any in-house or purchase of the product, there needs to be a detailed process, including involvement of the board of directors and technology committee to review such decisions. This process must not only include business mapping needs, functionality and cost review, but also include its implementation programme, technical and application scalability specs, and obsolescence factor. Third-party consultants should also review this or make use of resources such as Gartner reviews.
While externally led tech offerings has the expertise and credibility to support all aspects of a software development, internal ERP needs to have all the processes and competencies critical to roll out successful in-house IT applications. The process of evaluation between in-house and outsourcing requires to go through financial scanners to ensure it has served the purpose in the most effective manner.
In this context, SMEs in particular have to exercise extra caution as they will have to allocate precious resources needed to manage these.
Most managements cannot necessarily evaluate the merits but need third-party inputs to provide a holistic guidance. Over my long years of working in corporate management, I have seen millions wasted on rushed IT developmental projects that did not see the light. And many that were not implemented effectively.
Sheer waste of resources
The fundamental issue here is the faulty envisioning process or bad implementation due to a lack of preparedness. It is a common sight to see stalled IT projects. This may not be as common to ERP applications as this needs deeper scrutiny from managements and the decision-making process is more comprehensive due to higher budgets.
However, for front-end and middleware applications, there remains a challenge. Understandably, each business struggles to have its specific functionality needs, and those that can’t find solutions from standard applications have to work on other options.
It is either to develop or to seek a third-party app. However, this process needs an exact and well-managed strategy and plan. It is quite common to see companies with overzealous IT applications development history that they could not use or realize full impact.
These misguided overtures are not just about missed opportunities but instances of colossal waste. These investments not only impair balance-sheets, but undermine the digital resolve of the Company.
— Tariq Chauhan is Group CEO at EFS Facilities Services Group.