Have TED Talks lost their mojo


In view of the ever faster advancing technological development, many organizations are undergoing a comprehensive transformation. Fast, regular and continuous feedback loops between developers and customers should help to optimize products, shorten the time to market and exploit previously untapped values. The challenges can be assigned to ten typical error patterns - so-called antipatterns. Decision-makers should know them and know which adjusting screws they can turn in order to bring their transformation projects to a successful conclusion. The following questions can help:

1. Does the technology fit the project?

Decision-makers should pay attention if only business issues such as costs and scalability are included in technology decisions. Instead, it is important to ensure that decisions, including risks and benefits, are really penetrated and evaluated with a view to long-term development.

Not every technology automatically fits every situation just because it is inexpensive and in vogue. It can help executives to make the purpose of the suggestions as simple as possible and to ask questions such as: "Explain the technology and its benefits to me as if I were an elementary school student."

2. Is the technology ready for use?

A new cutting-edge technology with promising functions can tempt you to implement it too quickly. In order to avoid that immature solutions take on critical roles and in this way become risks for the entire system, a comprehensive check in advance is essential - keyword due diligence. It is best for decision-makers to focus on technologies that employees are familiar with and view trends with due skepticism.

3. Are all private cloud applications necessary?

The temptation can be great to hire multiple private cloud providers and use many different solutions for the cloud infrastructure. But if the establishment of a functioning, coherent cloud infrastructure is not one of the greatest strengths of an organization, decision-makers should limit themselves to one of the central public cloud providers as a first step. This avoids unnecessary competition and structural fragmentation, which can burden the infrastructure.

4. Is a completely new system necessary?

Replacing entire systems is often complex, expensive and risky. Such initiatives also tie up important capacities within the organization. A complete system replacement is therefore usually only worthwhile when all other options have been exhausted. It therefore makes sense to ask whether the existing system can be improved in the medium and long term, whether a new system offers real added value and how scalable it is.

It is also important to clarify whether the old system can be exchanged all at once or whether it can be taken out of service and replaced step by step.

5. Did the developers consider the delivery routes?

What sounds banal often leads to a challenge for the entire project: If the IT changes something in the architecture, the production routes and the digital solutions, adaptation processes that take weeks or months can be pending. Ideally, the production path should therefore be sketched in detail in advance.

The strengths and challenges of the system can then be identified on the basis of this. The necessary adjustments, simplifications and optimizations can then be planned and implemented - ideally without burdening the operational processes.

6. What is more important: output or balance sheet result?

Well-meaning experts often focus on ensuring technological output. This also makes sense in the first step, after all, the results are easy to measure and accordingly easy to manage.

Nevertheless, it is essential not to lose sight of the business side in order to orient the impulses generated by technological solutions as closely as possible to real customer needs. One way to achieve this is to bring technology and business experts to a close, constant exchange and to let them define common goals and responsibilities.

7. IT - cost factor or added value?

It is neither sensible nor up-to-date to view the IT department solely as a cost factor. It's not just about minimizing costs, but about a mix of efficient work, experience and talent. For this reason, decision-makers should use a cost-of-ownership analysis to find the right compromises for their company and develop competency models for their own experts and their external partners that enable clear cost and benefit comparisons.

8. Is it about platform or company development?

Companies rightly invest a lot of money, time and effort in implementing and further developing a platform - but often with blinkers. The business side must also be able to get used to how a platform works and understand its benefits.

If no economic added value can be seen in it, employees may have little understanding of the technological side. For this reason, the fundamental corporate goals should always be part of the communication on the technical solutions in order to get all stakeholders involved.

9. Is the third party always the best solution?

It is common for companies to outsource certain areas of their infrastructure. However, it is rarely a good solution to systematically outsource as many platforms and subgroups as possible. Dependencies limit organizations because they lose control over important elements and possibly their own intellectual property.

Instead, decision-makers should define clear boundaries for outsourcing critical technologies and activities and, if critical technologies have already been outsourced, develop strategies to bring them back.

10. Management or Technology?

As a company evolves, talented technical experts often get more and more personnel responsibility and may even become full-time managers. This can mean that they have less and less time for their actual technical core competencies.

To counteract this, these experts should be assigned certain technological responsibilities in order to continue to actively incorporate their know-how. It helps if a healthy performance culture can be created within the technology area through reward systems and clean quality criteria. (Hi)