When Haste Leads to Waste: Planning Ahead
By Andy Spinks, GigX Charter Member & Fractional Chief Information Officer
“I want it all, and I want it now!”
Queen. “I Want It All.” The Miracle, Capitol Records, 1989.
We live in a disposable age where things change all the time and new becomes old very quickly. Short attention spans coupled with lack of patience and the appeal of new and shiny pervades everything we see and do.
So how do we apply the desire to rapidly use data and information technology in a way that helps our organization successfully evolve and grow? There is certainly nothing wrong with being decisive and moving quickly but how do we ensure that the decisions and actions we take now don’t ‘come back and bite us' later.
“Follow the yellow brick road.”
Baum, Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. George M. Hill Co., 1900.
Most established companies have some form of business strategy to guide them forward. But for smaller or newer organizations, especially those experiencing rapid growth, strategy can be a luxury they cannot afford with limited resources and competing priorities. How can you still take a strategic approach in this situation without derailing your business?
“Infamy, Infamy, they’ve all got it in for me!”
Rothwell, Talbot. Carry on Cleo. Warner-Pathé Distribution, Ltd., 1964.
Even without a strategy you can still easily apply strategic thinking to tactical decisions. Remember, what in isolation could be considered a good investment decision should still be assessed for wider implications within your organization, which can sometimes not be clear initially. As an example, I recommend considering the following three simple questions when looking to make any IT investment:
- Will this product or technology integrate easily with existing and future systems and data?
- Does it have longevity and security (is the technology current and industry compliant)?
- Is the vendor a good partner that is willing and able to grow with you?
Ultimately it comes down to the following key criteria which should drive your decision:
Does this IT investment enable or disable your company now or in the future?
If you can satisfy these questions the likelihood of actions taken now causing significant issues later can be greatly reduced.
“Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction."
Ultimately, as the current climate proves, you never know what is around the corner. But there is a big difference in having to respond to changes which you did not see coming versus having to react to bad decisions you made in the past. Going back later to fix earlier mistakes is extremely painful, I know this through personal experience.
About the Author
Andy Spinks is the founder and owner of Thoughts and Executive IT Consulting. He is a highly experienced Information Technology Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the pharmaceuticals and telecommunications industries, specializing in integrating data and technology solutions with business strategy and key processes. After 35 years of working in large corporate organizations in the UK and US, he decided to become an independent consultant. He is presently working with a venture capital start up and exploring other consulting opportunities.
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