In the latest in our series of technology selection case studies, RSG worked with a global manufacturing firm that was struggling with its existing distributor and customer portal environment. The technology was aging, their smallish vendor couldn’t keep up, and growing demands from the field went increasingly unmet.
The firm asked RSG to investigate swapping out their incumbent platform with a new portal technology framework. But a deeper examination uncovered that, while their existing platform was surely a misfit, the company faced more serious constraints that were not technical in nature.
Among other things, the absence of a unified taxonomy prohibited meaningful systems integration.
Meantime, a lack of governance structures meant the company couldn't prioritize feature requests, which led to squeaky-wheel roadmaps and system bloat.
We counseled them to wait at least a year before obtaining new technology, and to use that time to address the all-important organizational issues around digital capacity and readiness for innovation in the organization.
Lesson #1: New technology will not put your organizational house in order. First, make sure that you address your capacity gaps and then acquire new tools.
Lesson #2: Make sure you have a good handle information architecture and data governance before procuring digital tooling that will surely depend on both.
- Don’t ignore or postpone addressing governance shortcomings
- Yet, don’t create an overelaborate governance structure.
- Never exclude diverse IT interests (systems, security, development, architecture) from decision-making.
- Never abdicate decision-making just to IT, and place a businessperson to chair decision-making bodies.
- Take a candid measure of your internal abilities and resources, and gauge your organization’s appetite for risk.
- Make sure that you measure your true capacity to implement new digital technology