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Essential Technology Implementation Strategy: How to Avoid Disaster

We are living in truly transformative times. The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Large Language Models (LLMs), the Internet of Things (IoT), and Automation into the business ecosystem has revolutionized the way companies operate, offering unprecedented opportunities to enhance organizational performance, productivity, and profit. These technologies are not just buzzwords but pivotal tools that can launch businesses into new, previously inaccessible markets. Every day, we hear stories of established businesses that have used these technologies to create unparalleled corporate advantage or technology entrepreneurs achieving billion-dollar valuations just years or even months from launch.

Technology implementation strategies should be among the most important focuses of CEOs or executive leaders; for company survival, not only must they adapt to it, they must be on the forefront.

However, many CEOs and C-suite leaders struggle with determining how to choose and execute the right idea, sometimes with devastating effects: scope and budget blowout, low user adoption, staff frustration, and – worst of all – harm to their careers. This is not their fault; after all, most CEOs are not technology experts. But this doesn’t mean a CEO should simply pick an idea that sounds good or go with their gut and hope for the best. Before even speaking to a development team about your proposed technology implementation, there are three things you absolutely must do at the 10,000-foot level to ensure you’re betting on a winning horse.

1. What’s the Big Idea? Is Your Digital Implementation Strategy the Right One?

Team Discussing Technology Implementation Strategy

Have you ever had an exciting technology idea that you knew would disrupt your industry? Or maybe you’ve just received a promotion and are tasked with driving market-leading advantage via technology. For those with an idea, this can be an exciting – and overwhelming – time. For those without one, it can be terrifying.

I’ve seen clients with ideas that are only partly formed, because they don’t completely recognize the full potential of the technology they’re trying to leverage. And sometimes they come to us with an idea that could have a totally different application that they can’t yet see. Whatever your situation, it’s crucial that you take the time to fully evaluate the idea from all angles before diving in. 

An exciting idea calls for due diligence, not fast action.

Fifty years ago, if you had an idea, you could pretty much just roll with it and, with decent execution, end up at the forefront of your industry. Today, you could hire a development team and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars executing an idea, only to discover that it already exists, and all you needed was a simple API to leverage it! Worse still, you could discover that not only is someone else doing it, but they’re doing it better than you… now you’ve wasted time and money on an idea with zero return, all because no one took a step back to examine the idea in its full context.

You might have a general awareness, for example, of how AI is transforming industries all over the globe; however, you may not currently have a complete understanding of how to leverage AI for massive efficiency improvements or for modernizing your existing applications and IP. 

Mark's Story: A Platform for Unified Data Analytics and Business Intelligence

Two years ago, a prominent consulting company executive, let’s call him Mark (NDA protected), came to us after being charged with driving his organization into the technological future by leveraging their customer data. But what kind of data should they leverage? What should they do with it? How should they store it? How should it be analyzed?

Mark was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information out there. He worried that he would move forward with a half-baked idea that would embarrass him and reflect badly on the company. Without a full understanding of the technology involved, AI and LLM, he was concerned that anyone he hired to implement it would say whatever they had to in order to win the deal… or worse, that he’d pick the wrong company and end up with a technology flop that sank his organization entirely. In short, Mark knew he needed to sit down with a technologist – someone who wasn’t wearing a sales hat – before doing anything else. 

We helped Mark understand the technology available, how he could apply it to his company’s data, and how that application could be used for profit. The data analytics platform we built for him resulted in a 1000% return – it now generates 1M Euros annually (not bad for a $100K investment), all from the company’s already-own data.

Whether you have a general idea of the direction you’d like to take, as Mark did, or you need assistance with creating an idea from scratch, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain of where even to begin. Fortunately, there are technology experts in every corner of the globe who can help you find the right path forward.

2. Validation Ensures That Your Technology Implementation Idea Works as Planned With High ROI

Light Bulb Image representing Technology Implementation Idea Validation

The second crucial area where people get tripped up in bringing their idea to life is the validation process, the most vital (and the most often forgotten) step. 

Some ideas will need an internal validation process – that is, determining whether the proposed platform will actually provide the kind of data points that increase revenue, efficiency, and ROI. 

Customer-targeted ideas, on the other hand, need an external validation process: Are people going to purchase this? Is anyone else working on the same idea right now?

Steven's Story: Automated Database Extraction

Earlier this year, one of the decision makers in a UK law firm, Steven (NDA protected) came to us with a well-formed idea for automated database extraction but didn’t know whether the available technology could achieve the company’s goals.

We discussed what a successful validation would look like, and decided on a basic proof of concept: 85% accuracy for three core data points extracted from 4000 documents. This led us to see that the idea could be adopted across the entire organization, not just Steven’s own silo, leading to much greater profit, efficiency, and ROI.

Spending a little time and money on this process upfront produces one of two outcomes: you’ll either be able to confidently move forward knowing your idea is viable, or you’ll discover you need to take a step back before sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars into development.

3. Beware the Half-Baked Scope

Unfortunately, a very common problem in the industry, especially since the introduction of the Agile Method, is to accept a client’s poorly-formed, incomplete scope (sometimes as little as one page), usually with the goal of securing the client’s business. In fact, development companies often use a lighter, shorter, Agile-centered scope to their advantage, thinking that they’ll quote low and deal with any fallout later, because “projects always go out of scope anyway.” That’s when they tack on all those extra charges to make up for their initially low bid – they know that once you’re locked in with a development company, it’s difficult to switch to another, regardless of scope creep or any repercussions for you.

The repercussions of a half-baked scope are many, and it is always the client who pays the literal and figurative price. That’s why it’s so critical that you work with someone who fully understands the technology; it allows you to create a viable scope centered on your idea’s potential and your company’s overall goals. Think of it like building a house: Would you rather have an architect carefully and completely draw up the plan to take to your builder, or have them tell you halfway through that they forgot about the roof?

Eric's Story: Full Scope Requirement for a Mobile Platform

Recently, we were approached by Eric (under NDA) with a question we hear a lot: “I have a great idea for a mobile app – actually, a whole platform – for a well-defined niche market. How much would it cost to get this built?”

Let’s go back to the house idea. You could get a typical house built for anything from $50K to several million dollars, depending on exactly what you want. The same is true for app and platform development, which can generally run anywhere from $100K to $2 million. That’s why defining your exact needs must come before price. I know this sounds like a lot of work. But think about the work involved in explaining to stakeholders and shareholders why the project cost and timeline have just increased by 150%, not to mention the effects on your credibility and stress level. All of this can be avoided by doing the scope correctly from the beginning.

For Eric, as we do for all our clients, we undertook an intensive scope process. We clarified the idea’s full potential, along with applications of the technology that had not occurred to him, thus making a great idea even more powerful. We also discovered that there were some gaping holes in Eric’s initial ideas of functionality and application – gaps we filled in our implementation plan for development. In essence, we made the concept viable, provided an accurate cost, and prevented the dreaded scope creep. Armed with a full-scope requirement, Eric was able to negotiate harder with development firms and manage the project timeline more effectively. The result was an on-budget development with deployment three months early, which, as you surely know, almost never happens in the development industry.

The bottom line is, before approaching a tech company salesperson to ask for a price, work with an internal or external team to flesh out your scope fully. A little effort now saves so much work, stress, and money in the future.

Avoid Disaster in Technology Implementation Strategy: The Conclusions and Takeaway

There are thousands of technology companies out there, but very few are focused on your best interests, not just their sales numbers. That’s why we recommend ensuring complete confidence in your development instead of going into it with your fingers crossed.

If you’d like to know more about how to ensure successful digital initiatives, please click here to schedule a free consultation.

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