Design for IT

There may be existing analysis tools that could greatly aid marketing’s efforts at researching and segmenting different potential target groups for the product. From an IT perspective, any unique aspects of the product that would otherwise not “fit” within current systems and processes can be understood early in the product’s development, and appropriate changes designed and built proactively, rather than patching in yet another exception process at the last minute, when speed is more critical than building processes that will stand the test of time and offer the most effective solution in the long run.

The key to integrating IT with product design is the transition of IT from technical “engineers” to business process experts. The quickest way to derail IT involvement in product design is to jump to technical solutions during the development stage of a new product or service.

Technology has, perhaps deservedly, gained a reputation for thinking in terms of a technical solution to any problem, a modern day manifestation of the old adage that when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Before attempting to get IT integrated with product design, ensure you have a team of resources with a complete process-oriented “toolkit” rather than just the hammer of technology.

By building IT into your product development process, organizational value comes from two fronts. First, cost savings are achieved by ensuring that existing systems and processes can accommodate any unique aspects of the product, and if they cannot, adequate advance notice can be provided to make efficient and beneficial modifications to the existing systems.

This saves “fire fighting” after the product is rolled out, allowing for a smoother introduction and the possibility of increasing any first mover advantage that the product may garner. Secondly, involving a group of business-focused IT resources can leverage their process knowledge, and any other unique knowledge they are familiar with that may be present in another area of the corporation.

A double whammy of both cost savings and value generation results, which will have everyone in the C-suite smiling.

Patrick Gray is the founder and President of Prevoyance Group, located in Harrison, NY. Prevoyance Group provides strategic IT consulting services. Past clients include Gillette, Pitney Bowes, OfficeMax and several other Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Patrick can be reached at [email protected].