Current thinking recommends we take “the long view” in terms of enterprise software and organizational productivity. The long view is a place, far into the future where your team and tools have reached optimal alignment because “you had a plan and stuck to it”. You made sure your long term road map had equal footing with your near term deliverables. As a result you were able to make real progress at getting the right capabilities and tools in place ensuring that your company would have a more competitive future and be a better place to work. Idealistic for sure, but if we all agree with the validity of the idea why is it so difficult to realize? What happens along the journey to the long view that causes most companies to fail at putting the pieces in place for the future?
The traditional blockers of “we have no IT capacity to deploy a new product”, “we can’t set aside a week for training” or “who’s going to manage it?” are no longer part of the decision dialogue.
Most companies set out with a strategy that includes both near term and long term targets. But everyday demands magnified by market changes, competitive issues, or technology challenges allow these long term goals to get pushed further and further into the future. At some point these initiatives become forgotten or morph into urban legend. “Remember when we planned to implement product X so we could deliver solutions faster”? While there’s usually some humor in this dialogue, we all know this is serious business. It’s pivotal that in this period of change, innovation, and speed that organizations seek out the technologies, approaches and skills that will position them for a highly competitive future. Marketplaces will be won and lost based on the success of these business/technology/personnel alignments.
Maybe the only way to avoid having the future be derailed by the present is to implement solutions that enable both. By virture of the cloud, modern enterprise architectures provide much more flexibility than in the past. The emergence of SAAS software like our own enterprise Q&A product Haydle offer a unique combination of minimal set-up, minimal training and no central administration. This means that the traditional blockers of “we have no IT capacity to deploy a new product”, “we can’t set aside a week for training” or “who’s going to manage it?” are no longer part of the decision dialogue. In this scenario a company can have a product like Haydle make them more productive within days of launch, but also have a product that delivers increasing value over time by growing a searchable database of question and answer sets, empowering employees with team voting and creating a virtuous circle of knowledge management.
This is not to say that all traditional approaches to software decision making and deployment are obsolete. They are not. But it is fair to say that companies should afford themselves every opportunity to take the long view and position themselves for a future where technology will need to align with business better than it ever has. Emerging cloud technologies provide these opportunities by delivering positive results in the near term and increasing results into the future. If companies seize these opportunities, and move towards an architecture where form follows function they will have a real opportunity to occupy the competitive high ground.