Why are you shopping for a new system? Why now?
We know these questions are important for an organization to ask their users and leaders. We have learned that asking the “why” questions often uncover the real business drivers and reasons for wanting to leverage new features and new technology. Let’s face it though; selecting a new enterprise class business application for an organization is not that easy. It involves risk, investment costs, and usually lots of precious time.
My Shopping Story
I have a quick shopping story to share. Although I wasn’t shopping for a new sophisticated business application, it was for a new home stereo, the stories have similarities. Let me explain. My current home stereo system sounds great and I have had it for many years. How many years you ask? Let’s just say that a main feature includes two “phono” inputs for two turntables (and dare I say a microphone). Remember vinyl record albums?
Enter the smartphone. I now have hours and hours of music including playlists, songs, and video. I like my smartphone and its features. I like the way my home stereo sounds. I wanted to plug my smartphone into my old home stereo but there was no plug for it. I could bridge the two with a cable adapter or I could invest in a new home stereo that simply includes features for a smartphone. Long story short, I went with the new home stereo. The new home stereo systems on the market (media centers if you will) have greatly matured and the costs are less than I paid for my old stereo system.
Yes, buying a new business application is different than buying a new home stereo, but probably not by much. It comes down to aligning the right technology to the business drivers. Getting to the business drivers might be as easy as asking “Why?”
Top 3 ‘Why’ Questions to Ask
There will come a time when investing in new technology is the right thing to do. But first, you may want to ask these “why” questions.
WHY #1 – Why not just keep the current system?
All too often organizations want to quickly abandon their current system that “just won’t work right” for a new one without first uncovering the business drivers, their possible root causes, and evaluating fixes. Without clear business drivers, an organization may find that they got a new system but still have the same issues.
Typical business drivers usually revolve around:
- Money. A new system provides significant cost savings or increased revenue or increased profit.
- Time. There are efficiencies gained with a new system including less time to complete tasks, staff efficiencies, or operating efficiencies.
- Growth. Increased growth and increased market share may only be possible with a new system or an organization may have simply outgrown their old system.
- Competition. Keeping up with the competition as well as market demands often drive the need for new technology and new solutions.
- Compliance. A new solution may be the only way to keep up with new regulations and compliance.
WHY #2 – Why not bridge our current system to new technology?
An organization might be able to address their business drivers by integrating (linking, bridging, etc.) their current system to new technology. Some additional questions to ask are:
- What are the long term costs including support costs compared with putting that same amount toward a brand new solution?
- How difficult will it be to support two separate systems compared with one?
- Does buying a new solution offer any additional advantages?
- Is there a business driver than obliges an organization to keep their current system?
WHY #3 – Why now?
An organization should ask why they want to take on this new investment now. Considerations and questions on the timing of a new system include:
- How much is it costing you by waiting? Costs in terms of missed opportunities, increased costs, lower revenue, competition taking market share, etc.
- Is there a mandate or compliance deadline?
- Would the organization be considered an “early adopter” with this new technology? Are there other client references that are successfully utilizing this new technology?
Organizations can reduce risk by asking why and by identifying the compelling business drivers for acquiring a new technology solution.
Ask for help
Have a qualified technology company or expert help your organization. They can help uncover complex business challenges and provide recommendations for smart technology solutions based on quality thinking, extensive business expertise and innovative problem-solving.
Original Post: http://willslade.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/ask-why