Stop Setting IT Up to Fail III: The New Model

A model that is gaining more adoption and acceptance at the C-level is outsourcing complimentary technical solutions and services, or “Bolt-on” applications, to an external technology partner.  These Bolt-on services function outside core systems and provide much needed functionality and features unavailable in the core system, yet contain the necessary connections out of and into the core system to seamlessly connect the end user.

Rapid development, iterative cycles, frequent users touch points, constant improvement, willingness to make mistakes, etc. are all hallmarks of a successful ecosystem of highly functioning and adaptive technical solutions, that also tend to come from smaller organizations built on a culture of innovation, rather than scalable and repeatable processes.

What forward thinking companies are finding out is that the core skills, expectations, and assumptions of the internal IT team and external IT partner should be different.  Instead of seeing these groups as having competing interests, business owners recognize the different roles of each group and embrace the differences.  Internal IT should continue to maintain and actively manage the core internal systems of the company.  External technology partner(s) should be focused on delivery highly customized solutions improving business processes, sales effectiveness, margin management, etc.

When looking to leverage technology as a differentiating service, here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

  • Internal IT departments should be expected to be risk averse and staff, compensate, and measure accordingly
  • External technical partners should bring innovation and a diverse set of skills capable of building stand alone, web based systems
  • A strong knowledge of business process and data integration facilitate the passing of data from and into core systems
  • An outside partner, when leveraged correctly, can be folded into Agile workstreams seamlessly, offering staff augmentation that stays fresh