While working with one of our insurance clients recently, we were involved in a discussion of their 2004 business plan. The items listed in the plan were almost exclusively technology projects.

I asked, “But where are the other projects?” The response I received was, “There are no other projects because our focus for 2004 is to recover technology ground lost due to constrained spending over the past three years.” After the meeting, I asked the CIO what the greatest challenge will be in achieving such an aggressive technology-based plan in 2004. He answered, “We’ll need to have business-side resources that are capable of assisting with the projects.”

Not all organizations will be pursuing such a robust technology plan in 2004. It does, however, appear that most will be significantly increasing their technology investments. It also seems likely that most will face the same challenge: The skills, experience and knowledge needed by the business-side participants do not exist in sufficient numbers to meet the needs of the technology projects planned. This is one situation where “throwing bodies” at the problem is not an option.

These business-side resources will need to be used more efficiently and effectively. In most organizations, business-side participants involved in technology projects use their time inefficiently and ineffectively. If you doubt it, sit in on a business requirements development session, or better yet, a requirements review session. In many organizations this is a process lacking a consistent methodology and adequate tools.

As you look to staffing the technology project teams with business-side resources, consider the following:

  • A defined and repeatable methodology along with the supporting tools, such as a robust process modeling tool, can significantly shorten the time needed to capture the as-is environment completely and accurately.
  • A complete view of the as-is environment improves the quality of the to-be redesign.
  • The data captured in the as-is and to-be modeling forms the structure and basis for the business requirements. This reduces the time and effort of producing them. More importantly, it improves requirement accuracy and completeness, which reduces the single largest source of delays and cost overruns related to technology projects.

The benefits of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of business resources assigned to technology projects go far beyond solving a staffing dilemma. It is central to optimizing the ROI of the technology investment.

If you would like to learn more about how your organization can improve the utilization of business-side resources on technology projects, give us a call.