November 22, 2010

Process First, Then Technology

I recently overheard our business analyst making a good point that I thought was worth regurgitating here.  When people want a technology solution, they're often just expecting to automate an existing process.  Instead, we first should be focusing on the process itself and how it can be improved, and then find ways to leverage technology.  This can be difficult for users, as they are immersed in the process on a day-to-day basis, making it hard for them to identify the pain points and inefficiencies caused by it.  This is where IT can help, by forcing users to step back and critically examine why they do the things they do.  This examination, coupled with direct observation of the process by IT, should either affirm the existing process or reveal insights on improving it. 

Yeah, this activity isn't working with bleeding-edge technology or anything like that, but the ultimate role of IT is to provide business value, and this is definitely a way to do so.

(Oh, and this is another reason for you to know the domain.)

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