Interestingly enough, managing the evolution of your enterprise applications technology is much like managing your stock portfolio. Both require an investment of time, money and resource. Both can be volatile, require risk management and defining success criteria.
Planning for risk intervention is a task that market investors do daily. Global markets trade around the clock and virtually infect each other with the current economic, political and emotional trends. A good investor will have a risk intervention strategy that allows for a “conditional buy or sell” based on the limits set in advance.
For example, if a stock price falls below the dollar amount the trader has pre-determined is the greatest amount of loss acceptable, the stock is immediately sold to avoid deeper losses. Alternatively, an attractive buy offer can be set when a valuable stock begins to trade at less than market value – allowing for an attractive gain. Either way, the investor is realistically anticipating the risk/reward inherent in the market.
When it comes to enterprise applications, planning for risk intervention is not as easily identified as a falling stock price. The performance indicators that appear may be at dangerous levels before they are recognized – key benchmarks are missed or ineptly met; communication is poor; dates begin to slip; expected functionality appears to be dysfunctional; employee morale and productivity seem to be falling. Understanding – in advance – the “conditional intervention points” that are opportunities in the implementation process to redirect, recharge or redistribute resources before disaster strikes, is vital to the successful project.
There is enough evidence collected to prove that the majority of technology failures are not due to the system itself, but rather the people surrounding its implementation and use. Planning for intervention in the form of outside experts, hands-on executive management, innovative monitoring programs and open-door communications can have a remarkable effect on the overall success of your project.
As obvious as it may seem, learning how to recognize success is deceptively difficult. For the investor, it means knowing when to sell the best performing stocks to achieve the desired return. If a stock is not sold because “it may go higher,” it could just drop and lose its value. The investor who doesn’t sell is an investor who doesn’t make money. For some, it is difficult to separate strategy from emotion … hoping against hope that the stock will climb just a little higher … only to see it fall. Remember, hope is not a strategy.
For the enterprise applications investor, recognizing success is being able to directly measure the progress and process of the technology project against its original objectives. Has the application been completely implemented with all functionality working? Are all users thoroughly trained in the operation of the system? Are the workflows impacted by the system operating smoothly? Have the payoffs begun to materialize – like increased productivity, fewer errors, faster processing, more.
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