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  • Writer's pictureDavid Panitch

Do You Have a Technology Whisperer?

We work with a multitude of companies, although the vast majority are in the manufacturing and distribution industries. They have often experienced what I call the “bombardment of technology miracles”. The words that most of the leaders of these companies used were much more colorful. They had so many different overzealous salespeople all pitching their modern day “snake oil” and it was often overwhelming.

So do you have someone that is your “technology whisperer”? Someone that filters out the noise and helps you determine what technology you should consider that will align with your overall goals and objectives. From our experience that person isn’t your IT Manager even though they may want to be that calming voice of reason and direction. They often have their own internal biases that could steer the organization in a direction that is comfortable for the IT staff but may not be in the best interest of the company. It’s not their fault; we all have biases that influence our decisions. The important difference in biases is to ensure that your bias is based on factual evidence and not on a desire to keep everything “easy” and “comfortable”.

I was working with a client that was already embarking on the implementation of an ERP system. I was brought in because after they were about a third of the way through the project my client was frustrated that the implementation vendor, which was also the developer of the software, was missing important client expectations. My client was right but their expectations were not going to be met by this software. What led up to this was the client’s IT Manager wanted to be on a particular platform because of her team’s experience with that platform. They skirted around some of the most important functionality that they needed from this new ERP system during the evaluation process because the vendor avoided answering “yes we can achieve this functionality with some minor development”. Instead, my client accepted the salesperson’s answer “we can get the system to do whatever you want but what you’re asking is something we would need to explore during implementation to make sure we did a deep dive into your needs.” This is where my client’s bias took over. They agreed and signed contracts…rather than responding with “let’s develop a proof of concept to confirm your ability to meet our needs.”

It was unintended bias that allowed the vendor to move forward without proof that they could achieve the needs of my client. We uncovered that there was no possibility that the vendor could provide the functionality that my client needed to run their business effectively which led us to scrap the project and start anew with a different ERP vendor.

If you think you might benefit from a "Technology Whisperer" that will guide an unbiased journey with your technology decisions, feel free to reach out to David Panitch (david at rtg-inc dot com) to find time for a conversation.

Also, if you’ve experienced bias and are willing to share how you overcame it, please add to the comments. I think others could benefit from your insight.

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