.... Innovative IT Consulting helps small and mid-size companies use technology to facilitate growth and increase profitability. We are specialists in the Process Industries.
January, 2008

2008 is here! If you're one of our many new subscribers, stay tuned for the best in useful ERP and IT Strategy best practices and commentary. We're starting the new year with a return to basics, some principles we believe in that will make your IT efforts more successful. Don't forget it's results that count..

Kick off the New Year with these winning strategies. By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

Blockng and tackling 101. We’re into the New Year. It’s the football playoff season. What better way to kick it off than with reinforcing the basics, blocking and tackling 101. Here’s a few of our tried and true strategies for keeping your IT Strategy focused, effective and returning results.

How do you do this? We've broken success down into 7 critical rules.

1. Integrated is better than interfaced. There’s always exceptions. But in general integrated systems and applications are better than interfaced applications. More reliable, more auditable, and less subject to maintenance and reconciliation issues. When in doubt, go for the integration.

2. Fewer places for data is better than more. Yes, it’s gotten very easy to replicate data and databases – in fact it’s gotten far too easy. But in general, fewer places for data is better than more. Less chance for data to be different, less chance for data to be corrupted, and less chance for data to produce a result that supports the wrong decision.

3. Simple is better than complicated. Let’s add a condition. Simple that works. But when two solutions both work, simpler is better. In science, they call this principle “Occams Razor”. We call it common sense. Developers and engineers love complexity. Business people want results, and want them sooner rather than later. Sooner that works is better than later that potentially could be better at some point in the future. Opt for simpler.

4. Process trumps technology. Here again, let the business people rule IT. Gaining competitive advantage is all about process, enhanced by technology, supported by technology, supported by information. But never forget that it’s the process that’s critical.

5. Leadership is leadership, pure and simple. Leadership in IT is about supporting the business, supporting the strategic plan, not about technical wizardry. Leadership in IT is not about supporting the programmers in their desire to work on the latest and greatest, whatever that is.

6. Alignment of IT and the business should be the yardstick. When you’re planning, organizing and laying out your IT plan for the year, align your efforts with the business. If you don’t know where the business is going, now’s the time to find out. If you don’t know how to do this, see #5 above.

7. Avoid generalities. I know, we’ve been making a lot them. However, every situation, every organization is unique. Take our tried and true principles, and adapt them to your situation.

Challenge assumptions, challenge management and your team, and you’ll come out ahead in 2008!

Tip of the Month

Testing 1-2-3.
By John Pellegrino, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. John can be reached at 631-549-1685 or jpellegrino@innovativeitc.com.

If you've been in the IT industry for any length of time there is a good chance that you have had to do some testing. It could be testing some custom code that you or someone else wrote, testing some setup that was done in a software package, or testing a new piece of hardware. This tip will make testing as simple as 1-2-3.

1. Plan it. Take some time to think about what it is you are testing and construct the appropriate test scenarios. These should include the input into the test as well as the expected results of the test. For example, when I enter a sales order for 100 of product A at $1 each I expect the extended total to be $100. Also, consider all special cases for the test and any additional results that are required (e.g., sales to foreign customers).

2. Document it. After the testing is complete document the results, both the correct and incorrect results. Include the data used as the input of the test, as well as the actual result. Also document the date the test was conducted.

3. Communicate it. If you are testing something that someone else did make sure you communicate the results to them, once again both the correct and incorrect ones. This is true whether the person is inside your organization or outside your organization. After all if you don’t communicate the results how can you expect them to correct the problems.

One more time. Just like when we hear a song we like, if the testing is for anything significant there will probably be the need to do it “one more time”. This can be after the problems are fixed or after the next release of a package. As a matter of fact you will probably do it more than one more time so be prepared by keeping the scenarios in a safe place.

What's new?

The Question of the month!! Every month we field a question from one of our fearless readers! Don't be shy. Submit your hardest question and see how we do.

Word Scramble time.
“Business cases used to determine if your business application is working to spec. (2 words)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Answer to last month's word scramble.

“ The initial period of time after an ERP implementation, when small problems are addressed". (2 words) (DUST SETTLING)

Question of the month. This month's question comes from Mary V. in Paramus, NJ.

I'm new to my company. We're using old systems, and yet everyone seems to think that our systems are great because they exactly fit how we do business. How can I get people to see that we could be doing a lot better? Mary, users are very invested in what they do. They are resistant to change. And having highly customized systems to unusual business processes is a throwback to the days before packaged applications became really great. Your best bet is to work with top management to bring in a few vendors who have expertise in your industry, and have them show off their wares. Make sure that someone in the company who you view as a change agent is there. Frequently this is enough to get things rolling. Good luck!

A Look Ahead To Next Month

In February we'll look at what's happening with the leading ERP vendors.

We want your feedback. Contact us

Innovative IT Consulting, LLC
(631) 549-1685