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STOP GETTING TECH STRATEGY WRONG

By Josh Bathon | July 31, 2019

If your IT department is doing a phenomenal job then you probably never see, hear, or even think about them. They’re out of sight and out of mind. 

Then something goes wrong and everything changes.

When systems fall short, IT comes under the microscope. This usually results in knee jerk change: organizations quickly ditch failing solutions in favor of new ones. In doing so, they often unwittingly cause themselves more headaches. 

Matt Jamison, Tech Services Lead at the Gunter Group, has been grappling with this problem for a long time. After 20 years working in enterprise architecture, he knows that most problems are business problems with an IT facade. Technology is often where issues are first discovered, so the first instinct is to treat technology as the problem. This often misses a deeper cause.

Jamison has seen it many times: “Most people skip to Step 3, jumping 30% of the way into the process and running from there in a detailed fashion. This forgets the common sense questions: ‘How does this align to our greater portfolio? What are my business requirements? Who are my stakeholders?‘ When people skip these questions, it has consequences a year or two later when the new solution fails. They assume they know what they need, and they’re almost always missing something.”

That’s why Jamison always starts with an assessment. This is meant to familiarize himself with the organization, but it also gets the organization thinking about the basics. Jamison takes the time to (1) map processes, (2) gather requirements, and (3) put together a big picture that integrates the organization’s strategy and goals. He can then use two decades of experience to match that picture with a right-sized solution. 

The goal is alignment: “If a tech solution doesn’t clearly support greater business goals and strategic objectives, then it’s not worth the investment. Ideally, if I ask the right questions, the business can start to see the solution for themselves. I just help them align with their own goals.”

Jamison’s approach is grounded in an agile mindset: frequent reassessment is key. “The first step is identifying the end goal. From there you can figure out how to solve the immediate problems in a way that moves you in that general direction. Which specific roads we drive on after the first couple months is less material because there are lots of roads. You move forward, then check the map to see what has changed.” 

While many organizations forget the assessment, an even greater number forget the reassessment. After selecting a solution, organizations rarely revisit their roadmap to reassess. “That’s not responsible management of your investment.” Jamison not only favors building a tech roadmap, but he then revisits the roadmap on a regular basis. “Every 3 or 6 months, you have to come back to the table to see what’s working and what’s not, in order to make sure you’re getting the most from the investment. This is regularly skipped, and that’s not appropriate lifecycle management.”

The result is success. Jamison’s common-sense approach has helped many Portland-area companies find right-sized solutions that benefit more than just one particular business unit. Taking these basic steps can save from investing years and millions of dollars into narrow solutions. He now spends his time serving clients in Portland, Vancouver, Bend, Reno, and Sacramento. 

Thanks in part to Jamison, the team at TGG is well-equipped for today’s challenges in Tech Strategy. He is helping us integrate enterprise architecture best practices with business needs. Our analysts map processes and steward discovery. Our strategists help clients align their knowledge of themselves with actionable strategy. Our change managers help plan next steps, and our project managers drive execution and adoption.

Could you benefit from our expertise in helping organizations to adopt right-sized solutions that advance their strategic goals? Perhaps we can help you better understand the business value of the solutions that either you or your clients are weighing. Reach out today to learn more! 

 

Matt is an experienced solutions architect with a results-oriented understanding of the intersection between reality and architectural theory. He has the ability to plan, develop, and implement large-scale projects while maintaining impeccable attention to detail. With 18 years of functional information technology experience, Matt has end-to-end IT knowledge from layer 1 networking to application API interaction. An expert in mapping technology solutions to business needs, Matt is also able to conform to required regulations while maintaining IT best practices. Matt’s experience spans multiple industries, including healthcare, telecommunications, and security and software. He is an AWS Certified Solutions Architect. Outside of work, Matt enjoys the outdoors and all things bike-related.

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