The ABC of technology assesments

An old Ford model T might be cosy and might still get you from A to B. Driving through the city you might be better off with a bicycle and for longer road trips you will benefit from a more dependable and fuel-efficient solution. Using the right technology will put a smile on your face and help your business thrive. 

Most businesses need short term and long-term technology strategies to stay in business and keep ahead of the competition. As a decision maker you can quickly end up being pulled in conflicting directions by colleagues, bosses and consultants. But who is right and whose ideas might pull us away from the abyss?

Scoping of analysis

A number of important checkpoints are relevant here:

  • Business goals: What is the most important business need that we need to cater to. Are we looking for cost avoidance, a technological leap or just regaining lost ground due to lack of investment in IT? A relevant tool can be setting of a project group mandated with compiling a strategy paper with relevant options for execution. 
  • Desirability: Are the proposed solutions desirable or not. Will our current customer base support our goals or will they run for the hills? A relevant tool could be conducting customer surveys. Maybe the customers want a gentler approach to their business instead of further digitalization. 
  • Viability: Are the proposed solutions even possible or will the company die trying. Digitalization may be desirable in the short term or even necessary in the long term. But when the planners get carried away and lose sight of the business, then the digitalization projects risk alienating too much of our staff or too many of our customers.

Analysis tools

A number of important tools are available when looking into the viability of technological projects. The most relevant are:

  • Business cases. Here we have several excellent tools and templates at our disposal. The Danish government has several templates at the state, regional and municipal level that help pinpoint and address relevant drivers and inhibitors and lets you work with multiple scenarios – fx a worst case, a neutral or a best-case scenario.
  • Vulnerability studies. Compiling a vulnerability study can be part of a business case or a separate task. The vulnerability study can show the effect of taking an assumption out of the equation of a business case. For instance, what would happen if a projected service or necessary recruitment is delayed by 6 months. Another integral part is a classic risk analysis, where relevant project risks are listed and presented according to consequence and likelihood. 
  • Benchmarks. Several excellent tools and templates are at our disposal. The challenge is seldom the choice of tools, but the choice of benchmarking scenario. For instance, benchmarking a solution based on fixed pricing with a comparable solution based on variable pricing and volume-based discounting is often tricky. 

  • GAP: A GAP analysis is an efficient approach to understanding what commercial, organizational and technical changes need to be implemented in order to reach the desired goals. The central parts of the GAP analysis are the mapping of the current mode of operation and the description of the desired future mode of operations. The GAP analysis then describes the gap between the two scenarios. A GAP analysis is a good way to prepare the blueprint for a technology transition. 

Need help with your technology assessment? Feel free to contact my company.