Understanding the Technology Value Lifecycle Approach

Technology risk exists on many levels, but so does opportunity. This opportunity comes in the form of the recognition of real value from technology investment and utilization through improved employee efficiency, information sharing and collaboration, and culture. Individually in our personal lives, we are quick to select apps from our respective app stores, which we test, play with, use or ultimately discard.

The recognition of value from that investment (often just our time given the many free tools available) occurs quite quickly. When I talk to CEOs and CIOs in the enterprise environment, I often find that companies have difficulty accelerating that cycle—from decision to adoption to value realization.

What if there was a method to accelerate this value realization in the enterprise? With a four-step process, I believe that can be achieved.

1. Assess – take stock of the business information needs.  It is usually a quick conversation with folks when asked, “What information are you not getting?” or, “Tell me where technology could help you in your job.” What better way to identify opportunities than from the information experts themselves?  With this information, the shortcomings or gaps can then be defined quickly (for example, “We don’t have a mobility skillset to satisfy those needs.”) and ultimately decisions made as to the path to select, build or acquire solutions.

2. Strategize – at an appropriate level of formality, develop the roadmap for implementation of solutions to satisfy the information needs. I say “appropriate level” here because the needs found during assessment could be localized, departmental or global, and the strategy and/or roadmap should account for this with a plan and method for selection, roll-out, adoption and measurement of success.

3. Execute – the best laid plans deliver no value if execution of the strategy is lacking. Always ensure the right resources are assigned to lead, build/implement, communicate and maintain the solutions in the roadmap. In the smallest scenario, this may well be one individual. In the largest scenario, it’s a coordinated effort of a collaborative team of experts. Whatever the case, this will always be key.

4. Review – obsess about value realization. Measure the value delivered by the new solution.  Has the technology solution shortened cycle time? Has information sharing and collaboration increased? Are better decisions being made because of this new strategic solution? Obtain feedback from the affected parties—they know when their lives have improved. Use this information to continue the process to assess, strategize, execute and review.

A simple process, irrespective of scale, greatly increases the chances of value realization from technology decisions and solutions. Without over-formalizing the process, the speed of this lifecycle can match the urgency of the information needs.