CUSTOMER COMFORT LEVEL
Have you as a customer for any IT / Software or Integration project been satisfied with the customer journey you have gone through? What has been the experience of others you know, of handling such projects; big or small? Business to customer, B2C, generally single transactional experiences have been satisfactory and other end – the extreme free model global services of Google, Facebook et al, whatever may be their business model, deliver what they promise to. In between the two models lie the business transforming IT projects aiming at transforming businesses, government functioning, business delivery infrastructure, creating business and situational awareness, types integrated command centers, integration of legacy systems, tech upgrade, capacity building and its upgrade in the tune with the day’s IT business requirements.
Large number of these projects are of different permutations / combinations of the core varieties of tasks / solo projects as mentioned above. This would also remain the basic nature of IT projects in the days to come, given the variegated IT landscape the businesses / governments / customer enterprises have developed so far, and the urge to consolidate and the various options they have for their technology journey ahead. How can you move even a step forward without knowing the IT landscape of the customer company? There is hardly any project which can be executed solo and in spite or despite of the customer not being fully on board. The killer mindset is at both levels; with regards to communicating what they want; orally or in documents, what are the success factors / parameters and the one side of the vendor / IT company, they are ready to deliver an excellent project with sketchy understanding of the requirements, landscape and the IT journey of the organization.
Like in the case of a doctor, when he takes up a case / patient, he first gets updated with the patient’s history, symptoms, requirements, which of his systems are likely to be impacted in which manner, carry on a preliminary investigation, followed by detailed diagnostics and then decides on the treatment and takes it through. It is his responsibility and he is accountable end to end. Can the Project manager and team not be a replication of the same mindset, process and methodology? In IT projects, the crisis comes knocking because of lack of knowledge, preparation, coordination, ego hassles, cost cutting and an approach that they will be able to get away with. Requirements have a backdrop and a setting, if you’re able to understand that, then the technical part related to the project in question will make near complete sense. Customization and tweaking becomes easy and also controlling the project, in case of some rough weather.
If the IT company itself is not in control of the project, then what comfort level can it provide to the customer. Leave aside a seamless project management, the relationship starts getting acrimonious as the project progresses. The half-baked approach will start getting exposed. When the best expertise needs to come into play, you will find relevant expertise missing on the project. Completion can become a battle. All the value add and wish list is left for another day, generally not happening in the near future. With this sort of a lineage, operations and maintenance also are not very simple. People finally are forced to adjust to some operational equilibrium. The much touted software industry is really short on project expertise. The customer enterprise after going through a large number of IT projects, is a harried lot, looking for support which never comes on time and enough, nobody to handhold to the next level, and nobody to create the IT kaleidoscope, which the enterprise so desperately wants to achieve.
A MIX AND MATCH IT PROJECT EXECUTION CAN NEVER PROVIDE THE REQUISITE CUSTOMER COMFORT LEVEL.