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"Innovative Thinking" A Newsletter from Innovative IT Consulting In This Issue

April 2011

Everyone agrees that having a sound IT Strategy is critical to long term success. And there's no shortage of sound bites to tell you that it's all about . . . . but is it?

John Pellegrino offers his own twist on an age old saw with his tip of the month "How to be Part of the Solution".

On the blog front, check out Paul's latest post on ERP Success - It's not what you do that kills you, it's what you can't do! ERP Success starts here

By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

Everybody's talking. Who wants to admit that they don't have an IT strategy? Strategy is good - mom and apple pie. And you can hardly read any business IT publication without getting the latest wisdom, aiming to dumb it down to THE ESSENTIAL of a great IT strategy.

Here's just a sampling of what everybody is saying.

- It's all about the data. (Really?)

- It's all about streamlining your business processes.(partly true, overly simplistic)

- It's all about transparency. (What exactly does that mean?)

- It's all about the core ERP system. (Well it does start there)

- It's all about the complementary systems, that's where the value comes from - BI, Document Management, EDI. (partially true)

- It's all about . . . . ( fill in your own blank).

You get the idea. Clearly some strategy is better than no strategy. But in the interest of helping people latch onto something simple, the essence of a sound IT strategy is being lost. Business strategy is complex. And businesses are living, changing things. IT Systems, Technology and the people and processes that use them, are living, changing things as well. A good measure of a sound IT strategy is this: If you have a sound strategy then when the business has some new need - acquire a company, analyze new product lines, re-organize to meet changing customer needs, integrate with key supplier and customers -- the IT systems support and enhance the business needs.

Where do you start? We've helped dozens of companies with IT Strategy. What most companies struggle with is knowing where to start - and producing something that actually drives actions. We suggest you start with some guiding principles. Here's a few very common ones from situations we have been involved with:

- Standardize on our ___ ERP platform. Goal is to get all our sites on this platform within 2 years.

- Add on to the ERP platform. When a new need arises, the preferred solution is to build it into the platform, not outside of it.< pclass=space> - Reduce the number of reporting tools. < pclass=space> - Retire legacy custom applications feeding the ERP system.

- Standardize on a particular CRM application to replace individual users choice of contact management.

- We will support the following mobile devices - Blackberry, Iphone, Tablets, etc.

- We will utilize Citrix for all application and desktop management

Don't get overly formal. Document some of these key elements of strategy for your organization, and keep it handy. Then when you are called on to make a decision, or support a new requirement, look at the list to validate your approach. Avoid the old "band aid" approach, and quick and dirty solutions wherever possible in favor of those solutions which are part of the strategy. Before long, not only will the strategy emerge and get clarified, but it will start to be understood throughout the business and help with budgeting and planning.

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

Everyone is familiar with the age old saying, ďif youíre not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.Ē This month I'm going to put a little twist in the saying, but the gist of the message is the same.

Houston, we have a problem. Many of us know where that saying originated and I have heard it said countless times as a prelude to bringing up a problem in a project meeting. Then, dutifully, I have heard that person explain what the problem is, why itís a problem and how much trouble the problem is causing them. Iíll state for the record that doing this is a very important thing for a team member to do. I would much rather know there is a problem than have someone keep this to themselves.

Letís work the problem people (from the same movie as above). After stating the problem for all to see you should immediately start discussing alternative solutions that you have thought of to fix the problem. You donít have to come up with all the possible solutions, thatís why there is a project team. And, you donít have to make the final decision on the solution, thatís why there is a project manager. But, it sure is nice to know that you gave the problem some creative thought and you didnít want to just dump the burden on someone else. My new, twisted saying is ďif you donít provide possible solutions, then all you provide are problems.Ē And that is no small part of the problem.

"What you need to start developing an IT Strategy (2 words) "

D G G I U N I   N P R L P I I E C S

_ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Answer to last month's word scramle.

"Two of the underlying factors in Change Management." ( 2 words) (FEAR and UNCERTAINTY)

Look for more timely and relevant content on real world ERP and Enterprise software issues including cost of ownership, change management, Business Intelligence and more . . . delivered right to your in box. Please keep checking the INNOVATIVE WEB SITE for useful tips, and our newsletter archives. Amaze your friends and colleagues with your expertise!

IT Strategy-

it's all about . . .

How to be part of the Solution.

An update on an age old saw.

Word scramble.

 

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