Defining Requirements for Business Growth, without Technical Limitations

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Defining Requirements for Business Growth, without Technical Limitations

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Certainly there’s no shortage of technical solutions to enhance your business these days. But how do you know the “solution” is actually going to help business grow? It all starts with how you approach defining the needs.

 To create a great business solution using technology, you must first separate the requirements from the solution. Many people start with trying to solve the problem without adequately defining the requirements. Defining the requirements doesn’t take the technology into effect at all. In fact, the requirements are designed by the business needs. Here are some examples.

 Technical Needs

  • “I need Microsoft Exchange”

  • “We need a CRM system”

  • “My business needs a CMS solution”

 Business Needs

  • “I need a better way to collaborate with my colleges”

  • “We need to track sales, forecast revenue and follow up with customers”

  • “My business needs to manage documents”

By removing the technical need from the requirements, you effectively remove limitations that might be setting you back. Here’s what typically happens in business.

  • The business leaders and members define ways in which productivity, workflows & profits suffer; requirements are not defined in this stage; many times, employees in the organization keep the issues to themselves, but they know about it nevertheless

  • A technology leader learns about a specific product or solution from a trade show, sales call, conference, etc. and says “that might help solve a problem I heard a group talking about”; or maybe an organization leader even requests a solution from IT

  • Some requirements are defined such as “platform independent”, “Single sign-on”, “integrates with [name a product]”; for the most part, these requirements are defined around technology buzz words rather than business requirements

  • A product is chosen to meet the needs as defined; this could be a long vetting process or a rather quick decision

  • Product is installed and worked into the organization

  • As end-users are trained, 20-30% of the capabilities of the software are used

  • Business workflows and processes begin to change to take advantage of more features

  • Before long, the business processes are completely re-designed to support the solution

When this happens, the company is working to support its technology. In truth, it should be the other way around.

 To turn this around, the business process should be diagrammed out from sales to production without the technology solution. Requirements for each part of the business process should be defined, again forget about the technology for now.

 Once the processes are defined, technical solutions can be researched based on the actual business needs. At that point, the technology can support the business.

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