Part of our series on Software and Data Management
Did you know one-third of IT projects linger in backlog?
Today's information technology (IT) is pervasive and critical. Not only do you rely on back-end systems to process accounting and payroll, IT helps design products, manage supply chains, monitor manufacturing operations, deliver services and collect data from connected devices to inform management decisions.
In-house IT teams just aren’t staffed to keep up with the level of projects this deep integration of IT generates. Gartner has reported that one-third of all IT projects linger in backlog. You can prioritize and delay projects until staff is freed up, but that means missing out on business opportunities and business income. A better solution is bringing in an external partner to supply the resources you lack. Not only will you access the talent to complete the projects your team can't handle, you'll access these other benefits, too:
1. Unbiased Technology Assessments
Your own employees have feelings about the applications they build for you. These are biased by their experiences working in your organization. Long-term employees have deep knowledge of your systems, but little knowledge of how other organizations do things. Our expert, external eye can evaluate the current state of your IT, in-process projects and the targeted end state without feeling the pressures of knowing the people who built the systems and made the decisions. You get a decision based on broader knowledge and driven solely by evaluation of the technology.
2. Minimize Scope Creep and Cost
Internal projects are often open-ended. Projects with external partners necessarily begin with a detailed statement defining the work to be delivered and the timeline for completion. Because there are bounds placed on the work upfront, the impact of changing requirements is obvious. The impact can be clearly measured not just in delays in delivery but also in additional dollar costs to the business, because you likely have to pay your external contractor additional funds due to any extension to the project schedule.
3. Risk Management
Having external assistance with projects can help you manage your project-related risks in several ways:
- Technology risk. First, bringing in resources with expertise your team lacks helps mitigate technology risk. We can help you select the most appropriate new technology and get it up and working faster than your in-house team who are learning on the job.
- Schedule risk. By leveraging our expertise, you can create more realistic estimates. Our resources supplement your team, adding the headcount needed to complete the project on schedule. With our pool of resources readily available, we can add staff and mitigate the impact of a critical project member leaving the company.
- Budget risk. While using outside contractors can add to project costs, it also makes those expenses known and predictable. Obviously contract terms vary with the project, but a fixed price contract eliminates budget risk. Even when the terms aren't fixed price, having an arrangement already in place prevents the need to pay a premium price for urgent short-term assistance if the project runs into trouble.
4. Requirements Validation
There's no question it's best to get requirements from business users who know the business needs, compliance mandates and technical capability of your business. However, sometimes those people are too close to the business and fail to state implicit requirements. Both internal business people and internal IT teams are sometimes too constrained by their knowledge of your existing IT systems to identify the true requirements. An external partner with both business knowledge and technical knowledge can help review the requirements to identify gaps that need to be addressed.
5. Expert Knowledge of New and Emerging Technology
Internal teams are often too focused on meeting the daily issues the business faces to spend time exploring new technologies in detail. We make it our business to keep current, and by working with many businesses we see how the technology holds up to different environments and challenges. This insight can help you leverage emerging technology faster and with fewer struggles.
6. Project Ownership & Hand-off
Working with an external partner doesn't mean you'll be dependent on them once the project is complete. When managed the right way, the internal team keeps full control over the project and all knowledge needed to support the technology is transferred to you. It's even possible to transfer staff from the vendor to your own team if that's your preference.
Contact us to talk more about how an external partner can help your business.