Everyone will tell you that they see the big picture. It's like asking someone if they have a sense of humor. Even the surliest of characters will tell you that they do. It's just human nature for people to think they innately have certain characteristics. Thinking that this is true, however, does not make it so.
Through personal interaction at a company, you can probably determine which of your colleagues really have a sense of humor. Evaluating IT initiatives, however, is when you really peg the big picture thinkers. These are the people who are able to step back and understand the entire mosaic, and not just the one tile they are charged with putting into place.
It's The Enterprise, Stupid
Implementing technology within a business had better accomplish one of two objectives — accomplishing both, however, would be preferable. One objective is to save the company money. The second is to make the company money. If your IT projects aren't doing at least one of those two things, then they're probably a waste of time and energy.
Departmental solutions can accomplish these objectives. Compared to what can be accomplished with enterprise-wide solutions, departmental systems are like throwing a deck chair off the Titanic in the name of dropping ballast. For real savings and revenue increases, IT projects must be implemented with the entire enterprise in mind.
A CRM (customer relationship management) solution may seem like a great way to manage the people who buy your company's products and services. But, think about the benefits of managing your entire supply chain that same way. You think that document management is just for the human resources staff. But, what about the bills of lading and shipping documents piling up in your manufacturing plants and warehouses? Yes, your company is leveraging the Internet with B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) transactions. Take the next step now and connect your salespeople in the field. Bring them into your enterprise with real-time information available on PDAs (personal digital assistants).
Control Enterprise Data
So, now what? Everybody in the company is part of a coherent enterprise. It will be information overload to the nth degree. Well, have you considered a corporate portal solution? All the information throughout your enterprise is presented to each person in a customized way. This lets individuals make quick and informed decisions. Project team members can also communicate more effectively with one another. Personnel departments can easily locate expertise within their companies. I recently attended a corporate portal seminar sponsored by The Delphi Group. Tom Koulopoulos, president and founder of The Delphi Group, detailed the state of the portal market and how companies can leverage this technology. Even after filtering his message through the bias of the setting, it's clear that this technology will be a key component of any enterprise-wide solution.
The tools exist to make every application in your business part of the entire enterprise. Implementing department-only solutions is like completing one side of a Rubik's Cube and then calling it a day. Companies featured in Integrated Solutions see the big picture. The people we interview understand how to integrate different technologies while always keeping the entire enterprise in mind. And, most of them actually have a pretty good sense of humor.
Questions about this article? E-mail the author at EdH@corrypub.com.