Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Unbiased informed purchasing services!

On the 26th Feb on LinkedIn Sonya Sherman wrote:
"At last week's Records & Information Officers' Forum in Melbourne, Michelle Phillips highlighted survey results where organisations estimate 70% of their data has no value; and 90% of their IT spend is wasted. ..

I have been thinking about the value for money received by businesses from BI and IT service providers and I am considering the idea of providing a professional middle layer service between the business and the BI/IT providers.  This layer will provide 'unbiased informed purchasing services', it keeps the BI/IT delivery guys focused and the business realistic. Thus would ensure value is reached every time.

Why do this?

The answer is that the BI/IT company has a responsibility to maximize profit. After all they are a company, that is what companies do. Thus they do not believe it is their responsibility to correct the business decision maker when they request an action which is not in their own best interest. Why they do this is explained herein.

It plays out like this;

Business says "we need to make evidence based decisions, we need a Enterprises Data solution"

A request for proposals is released and the business sits back and waits for industry to swoop in and solve all the problems.

Here is the rub. The responding companies have a simple agenda - provide the business what it asks for. The problem is that the business has a business outcome in mind and the service provider has a technology output on offer.

Technology is seldom the solution to business decision making.

So the dance begins. The service provider delivers a brief,  the business look it over but they are not technology people so they don't really understand it. The business isn't stupid, it clarifies what the document means. The service provider assures the business what is proposed will meet their need.

Work begins, milestone are met, payments are made. The business gets nervous because the development is been going for a while now and there is lots of technological stuff delivered but nothing the business can use yet.

A progress meeting is called. The big question is asked by the business.

"When will we have something we can use?"

To which the service provider explains;

"Our proposal was to build a BI framework, which we are doing. When that is finished we will have to build a reporting framework on top."

At this point the penny drops for the business. They have sank their budget into building one small part of what is needed.

This is where it all goes pear shaped. The business panics. Here it comes "How can we get business value from what we have so far?" can we ........ insert request for an action which is not in their long term best interest.....?

The service provider says sure and offers a hack fix. They know this is a very bad idea, but good or bad they still get paid so they keep the customer happy and do what they are told.

So the business starts changing the scope in an effort to meet the delivery dates they promised the executive, all the while not realizing that the hack is not sustainable and is exactly the opposite to an enterprise solution.

Eventualy the business finds that it is costing more and more to prop up the hacked system and finaly they scrap the whole thing not realizing that the ground work was solid, just unfinished.

From the business point of view the whole project was a disaster.

From the service providers point of view it was a great success as it made them a pile of money.

Why would the service provider do anything differently?

What You Think?