June 07, 2017
Approaching IT Innovation in a Changing Business Climate
An insight into MediaPower's methodology in managing IT Innovation ProjectsAuthor: Nicholas Rossi, MediaPower VP for Business Development
I have been handling Business Development at MediaPower since 2016, and this has given me the unique opportunity to work on interesting projects, meet and interact with industry leaders from all over the world, and explore ins and outs of the media market. I wanted to further my knowledge and competencies in this fast-growing industry and after over a year at this, I’ve learned enough to be able to share interesting thoughts on how we should go about handling IT innovation projects.
Over the past year, I have noted that many of our clients are facing a number challenges. From increased competition, to cost-cutting, reorganization, new market trends, lower entry barriers, to much more. And while some of their legacy systems worked for them in the past, these new challenges impose the adoption or shift to IT-based solutions from relatively stable but older proprietary systems. With this realization, my main objective is to help our clients address these challenges through IT innovation. So, let me just go straight to the point and share my advice on what we, at MediaPower, believe is the right approach to IT innovation and success in this changing business environment
This is the first activity that MediaPower would recommend. It is critical to assess the current aspects of what you are trying to change or implement. We should take into consideration all available documentation. These would include:
• Top-management master plan and related documentation
• Organization charts
• Documentation of initiatives
• Documentation of current infrastructure, including silos and single components
• Actual processes and workflows
• IT market research on available technologies and evolving trends
• Available information from different suppliers
The key is to adopt a process-based management approach from the onset while making the assessment. Accurate process mapping and definition, highlighting both automated and human-led, must be performed. For every process, key performance indicators (KPIs), measurable in both quantity and quality, must be defined and put together in a balanced scorecard. A control process must also be put in place in order to ensure that the IT infrastructure is properly managed and the organization has a pool of the right skills and competencies.
Analysis and Reporting
Before starting any analysis activity, we must fully understand the company’s strategy and organization as a whole has to be fully understood. Management strategy has to be translated into processes and measurable output, before being passed on as inputs to the general analysis of the IT infrastructure and then defining the critical enabling elements of the digital architecture being designed. By enabling elements, I refer to those elements that reduce the risks of infrastructure breakdown such as scalability, liquidity (granular components), integration (API-driven), intelligence, and CRM-driven connecting to both internal and external stakeholders.
The deeper the analysis, the better. One good and proven approach to analysis that we would recommend is as follows: SWOT analysis, benchmarking vs. best practices, gap analysis, budgeting of alternative solutions, and critical analysis of real total costs for each infrastructure component and correct allocation of capital. For analyzing costs, the Finance department, at best, should also be involved so they could provide support in terms of the best financial methods and practices to help in choosing between alternative technology investments using NPV, VAR, payoff analysis, decision tree, MARR, etc.
Of course, you cannot plan for current requirements only, because part of any strategy is to be able to adapt to ongoing or future changes. In planning your roadmap, you will have to set guidelines. The deeper the assessment and analysis you perform, the more accurate plans you can formulate and the easier it will be to set the guidelines to support your evolution roadmap and align them to the organization’s strategy which includes maximizing asset allocation, ROI, and staying within available budgets.
While I may not have all the space to discuss the above recommendations in much more detail, the general approach we recommend to approaching IT innovation projects is to assess, analyze, plan, and then execute. The key factors would be to assess and analyze. Planning is an offshoot of your assessment and analysis. And then the execution is the least of your worries if you ensure that a plan is put in place based on sound assessment and analysis. I have believed in this approach ever since, and I’m happy to have joined MediaPower. It has also been a proponent - having aligned its own process, workflows, and R&D to the same approach. We, at MediaPower, believe this is the way to go. After all, if we do not ensure that benefits are maximized from the solutions we propose, then MediaPower is reneging on its promise to enable customers and their workflows. We can’t have that.