AN APPROACH TO IT PROJECT OUTSOURCING
IT Business Analyst David Wright argued in Maybe it is time to define “customer” in IT Projects that“unless you are selling software as a product for real money, your IT project does not have any customers”. We not only agree with him but would like to take his argument a step further: even in IT project outsourcing this logic should apply.
David Wright’s argument is focused on internal IT projects: “I have worked with many a sponsor, and many business people who will use the systems, but none of them paid me directly for doing so; we all worked for the same organization, with job titles and salaries to go with those titles.” On the other hand, TDK Technologies is an IT consulting firm which solves business problems by delivering customized IT solutions to its clients. Without getting hung up on the semantics of “client” or “customer” we can agree with the underlying premise of David Wright’s argument. As TDK principals Kristin Tucker and David Kocs point out, “we know that the client's business has to drive the approach”. A successful outsourced IT project requires business and IT working together to reach a common goal: solving a business problem with technology.
It is true that IT firms selling a software product, a modifiable software template, or even a software development process tend to treat their clients more like a “customer” than a “partner”. David Kocs explains the difference between TDK and these firms: “We will not have a killer app that we need to sell you. We don't have a software template that addresses most of the functionality you need and then develop the rest. We design applications that meet all your specific IT needs and are easily integrated with other systems you may have in place.” These firms are often willing to provide their “customers” with subpar solutions in order to “save money”.
TDK approaches an outsourced IT project as though it is operating within an organization. Kristin Tucker says this is why TDK “starts by first learning about a company - its operations, processes and goals - because with a business-first approach, better IT solutions just naturally follow”. Business analysis is critical to aligning the interests of IT and business, ensuring that IT solutions create bottom line results.
Thus we agree with David Wright when he says “IT projects should not have buyers and sellers; they should have teams of business and IT people working together to reach a common goal”, even in the context of IT project outsourcing. Sure, TDK may miss out on some projects because it recommends an ideal solution which will work right the first time as opposed to a cookie cutter solution which costs less, but we are interested in creating long term mutually beneficial business relationships over generating short term sales.