Who doesn’t want to save money?

IT has generally suceeded at automating (many) repeditive business tasks.  Automation can speed up a process, but it also makes it harder to change the process once it is automated.  This creates a paradox – the business demands responcivness and agility, yet the tools commonly used to deliver this, (automation and standardisation) can actualy reduce the ability to react. 

I don’t know who was the best, most efficient producer of typewriters before the advent of the personal computer.  However able they were to out-compete eveyone else in their market, their market dried up.  New entrants, Apple, IBM, HP, Epson, Adobe and Microsoft are the recipients of document production spending.

Change costs; man-hours to plan and implement change, inefficient operation of new processes, time and effort to analyse and optimise those new process, these are all real costs that an organisation needs to pay.  Using a persoanl ananlogy, a profesional tennis player switches to squash, from baseball to cricket, or from basketball to voleyball.  There are physciall attributes and skills that are transferable, but new skills take time to learn and muscles need retraining.  

The same applies to change within IT.  There is a cost to switching products that has nothing to to with the purchase cost.  The first time i do anything takes me longer then the 2nd, or the 3rd.  This is one reason why organisation don’t (or shoudn’t) switch products to same a few percent on the purchanse price.  I dont’ pretend to know evey customer, but I have been told that the typical saving required to justify a change is between 1/5 to 1/3 per year.

So why doesn’t some one want to save 20% of a million dollar budget?  That’s $600k over 3 years. Well, how about this?

  • Cost of transition – you stand it up but they have to start using it
  • Time of transition – 6 months for migrate between infrastructure is pretty standard, and you have to pay for both in the mean time
  • Risk of issues during change – what is the cost of downtime?
  • Re-tooling/re-skilling – people need time to learn, time away from their day jobs
  • Changes to internal processes may impact other areas
  • Unknowns – your product may fix our existing problems but it will have new ones of its own
  • The vendor got it wrong/over sold the benefits

So all in all there needs to be a compelling case to make a technology change.

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