Everyone has a view of technology, regardless of their depth of understanding. Most companies have a set of employees that span the full spectrum, from technophobe to technophile. The benefits that technology can bring to a business is rarely understood or quantified. And so it’s no surprise that this combination causes delays and disruption that continually alters the course of IT implementations in SME’s. This is the long and winding road to digitising your SME.
Getting from A to B
We could recommend that you first align your stakeholders. We could say that you should first agree a budget. Or perhaps we could start a tender process to just outsource everything.
At Parker Veese, we believe in a different approach. Before trying to get everyone on the same page or agreeing how much (or little) to spend, we think you should first agree on what “digitising” means for your business (have you agreed to embrace technology for good?). If you’ve already adopted an Agile or Lean Start-up approach to your business, then you’ll see this as agreeing on your definition of ‘done’. Once you’ve decided on what your digitised business looks like, you have something to aim for. Your current state is ‘A’ and your destination is ‘B’.
Have a clear target
When defining your digitised business, be specific. It’s ok having a high-level view, but if you’re not granular enough, how will you know when your goal is achieved? (Library Link: “HOW TO: Create SMART objectives“) Here are a few areas to consider for your digitised business:
- Network infrastructure
- Business systems
- Productivity software
- Desktop & laptops
- Mobile devices
- Office and mobile telephony
- Customer & supplier-facing tools/portals
- User logins and access segregation
- Anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-malware
- Data protection measures
- Policies and procedures
This is not an exhaustive list and you should review your target with an experienced CIO to ensure you have sufficient coverage.
Engage, cost and plan
Now you have a definition of what ‘done’ looks like, you can get into engaging with your stakeholders to make sure everyone’s requirements (and expectations) are met. Don’t rush this stage and don’t assume you know what others are expecting of digitisation. Also, be ready to push-back on unrealistic requests.
Before you begin the digitisation, make sure you have an agreed budget with approval from the Board, or other major stakeholders (as required for your business). it’s very easy to spend beyond your means, with digitisation.
Finally, with your scope and budget agreed, it’s time to lay down a plan. If you’re thinking of using 3rd party vendors you should seek their input on delivery timelines. Otherwise, you should adopt an approach that delivers benefits to your business as quickly as possible, with as little spend as possible. This is the Lean approach to business.
If you haven’t started digitising your business already, then you’re already behind the curve and behind your competition! Fortunately, the second best time to start your digitisation journey is today. The hardest part of getting started.