Project Description

How to match technology with business requirements – today and tomorrow

Ever heard of the ‘frog in a pot’ analogy? The story goes that a frog placed in a pot of cold water on the stove, won’t jump out as the water heats. When it realises it’s boiling… it’s too late. Aligning IT to business requirements is somewhat similar. The perfect setup today might not be quite as good tomorrow. And when small, inconspicuous changes happen over the course of weeks, months and years, it can eventually result in an IT environment straying far from ‘fit for purpose’. Unfortunately, you just might fail to recognise it.

Not regularly checking your IT setup can result in one of several problematic symptoms: obsolete, unfit for purpose, inappropriately sized (overspec’ed or underpowered). These all have the same result. IT falls out of alignment with your firm’s needs.

The good news – no frogs were harmed in writing this blog. (In reality, frogs jump out of the pot at around 25C).

Wynand Sijben – Business Development Manager

Wynand Sijben – Business Development Manager

The bad news – your IT isn’t nearly as perceptive.

That’s why it’s vital you and your service provider keep an appropriately keen eye on things, so they work for today while future-proofing your organisation for tomorrow. That’s something we’re ingrained to do at CodeBlue. We’ve witnessed too many examples where IT’s direction, and the business’ direction have diverged before we got involved.

Too little IT investment for the job

Sometimes, that divergence grows so wide it’s somewhat alarming. One of my retail clients started as a single branch but had grown to multiple sites with tens of people. Precariously, there had been little consideration of their technology. They were still using Windows 7 on a handful of computers in 2023 – all without any security.

If that sounds deficient, well, those computers were mostly idle. The retailer was doing just about everything using pen and paper. Ordering, stock control, sales, the lot. Fine for one store, impossible for five or more.

In this case, management knew there was a problem (it was obvious!) but wasn’t entirely certain of the way forward.

Our answer was the introduction of; Dynamics ERP, modern computers, new point of sale terminals and Microsoft 365. As a specialist retailer with mostly non-English speaking staff, change management was a challenge. However, the retailer recognised the benefits which include improved visibility, stock management, P&L tracking, warehousing, and marketing.

The lesson: small business technology needs are quite different from bigger businesses. Your IT requirements creep, as you grow from startup to a full-scale, multi-site business.

Too much IT investment for the job

At the other extreme, I have a fast-growing client company which rapidly shifted from needing ‘in house’ systems, to an on-the-road workforce. This insurance support provider found itself with a hefty firewall and other data security infrastructure, protecting an office devoid of people.

That stuff all costs money. Rightsizing meant eliminating the on-premises equipment and services, without any security compromise – again, something recognisable to management, but as they aren’t IT specialists, the optimal solution wasn’t as obvious.

We recommended and delivered suitable cloud services which not only reduced costs substantially but delivered fit-for-purpose security ideal for mobile workers. All with minimal disruption to business as usual.

The lesson: appropriately configured IT doesn’t have to cost or involve ‘more’. Keep an eye on creeping requirements (and emerging solutions). This matches cost and scale to business requirements.

Just the right amount of IT investment for the job

When a major network operator entered the country, it had absolutely nothing in the way of systems or infrastructure. On winning the RFP, we had the advantage of a ‘greenfields’ environment.

However, we also had the disadvantage of a complete absence of processes, procedures, and documentation.

Here’s where experience matters: we do IT processes and procedures all day long. This underpinned a full setup. Everything from ERP, meeting room AV setups, configuration of finance systems, and even employee on/offboarding procedures.

The lesson: start with rightsized IT and appropriately configured systems. Focus on business needs first.

Things change. What works today, might be wrong tomorrow

Across all these organisations, vigilance is key. The solution perfect for a retailer now, may be miles off within 3 years. The network operator might sell half its assets, reducing its IT requirements overnight. The services provider might issue a decree bringing all employees back in the office, therefore requiring a revised approach to its security.

These things can and do happen. Some changes are sudden. Other changes are subtle. At CodeBlue, we know today’s IT answer isn’t automatically right for tomorrow. So, we lock in regular reviews as a standard component of service delivery.

Obviously, frogs and people spot the big things easily. It’s the little ones like scope and requirement creep which require the closest attention. Either way, schedule reviews to keep your IT optimally configured, no matter how needs change.