Understanding the groundwork for a business technology deployment:

In order to manage a change in technology, there needs to be a clear plan in place before during and after the implementation.  The systems that are being changed will stakeholders in both the technical and non-technical portions of an organization.  It is important to remember that communications, planning and follow through are the keys to a successful change in any company.

There have been formal processes for how to handle these types of implementations in an organization.  The System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a good example of a process by which a technology is designed, implemented and supported through its useful life.  The SDLC has many iteration.  There is the oldest model, the waterfall which falls in line with many IT system deployments regarding infrastructure today.  This model is becoming outdated and is being replaced with Rapid, Spiral and other deployment and upkeep models.  “The synchronize and stabilize method combines the advantages of the spiral model with technology for overseeing and managing source code. This method allows many teams to work efficiently in parallel. This approach was defined by David Yoffie of Harvard University and Michael Cusumano of MIT. They studied how Microsoft Corp. developed Internet Explorer and Netscape Communications Corp. developed Communicator, finding common threads in the ways the two companies worked,“ (ComputerWorld, 2009).

Regardless of the deployment methodology, there must always be a findings phase at the beginning of any project.  The client or customer must be interviewed to understand what the need is.  There is almost always a business need that must be addressed.  The core of any IT systems deployment is a business need.  It is critical that technology not be implemented for the sake of technology.  IT professionals should listen for pain points and find the needs for their clients and customers.  The need to track documents through a manual audit may be streamlined by tracking the physical papers with a bar-coding system.  A client may need to be in touch with vendors regardless of time or location.  Tracking of issues in real time with automated auditing and archiving may be a need for an oil and gas company due to high levels of uptime and statutory needs for their industry.

All of these examples provide an IT manager a juicy opportunity to install backend communications systems for knowledge workers or relational database systems for multi-application integration and data analysis.  The business needs are very clear and the ROI for these systems is evident and relatively simple to calculate.

Once the need is identified, then the project manager must take the time to identify the appropriate technology to solve the issue.  Many times the issue will be found straight from a vendor.  Installing a Blackberry Enterprise Server will allow a company to seamlessly integrate smart phones to their existing email systems for the sharing of email, calendars and tasks.  The challenge for an IT manager is when there is an existing system or systems that require creative integration.  Taking a proprietary application or legacy database and allowing a newer system to integrate for a seamless deployment can be very difficult.

In the next blog we will look at an example of how to walk thourgh an actual deployment.

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