Would You Get Major Surgery Without Asking for a Second Opinion?


Think of your company as the patient, the CIO as the doctor, the system integrator as the hospital, and the software vendor as the drug company. The parallels between health care processes and IT business transformations are endless- and the subsequent advice for what to do in times of trouble is similarly related.

Here are 5 ways you can ensure that you are caring for your company’s health:

1: Regular Checkups are Essential. We all know that early detection of a medical problem is the best way to minimize medical costs and to stay healthy. Business transformation is no different. Establish a process to thoroughly review your program and look for the warning signs of future problems. Early detection and resolution can significantly reduce costs over the life of the program.

2: Avoid Unnecessary Tests and Treatments. This is easier said than done. Unfortunately doctors can be motivated to recommend tests and treatment as a defense against malpractice. Other times tests are recommended to give the patient peace of mind. Tests like these add costs and overhead to patient care. Transformation efforts can suffer for the same reasons. System integrators will run the “play book” calling for superfluous reviews and sign-offs. These reviews and sign-offs often lead to delays in the program which also ultimately increase costs and overhead.

3:  Always get a second (or even a third) opinion. You would never think of having major surgery without getting a second opinion on your diagnosis and treatment options. Similarly, if a major issue surfaces during an engagement with a system integrator, get a second opinion before you increase your costs and investments. Your system integrator shouldn’t object if they are being honest with you.

4: Understand your options. With any major medical situation you typically have multiple options for treatment. These options usually come with a probability of success, costs, and a list of potential side effects. As you encounter major issues on your transformation journey, make sure to understand all your options and the potential side effects of the proposed solution. Side effects do not only include costs and risks, but also the potential to impact current and future business operations.

5: Take Responsibility. A patient who takes care of themself has a much better chance of recovering quickly from a major medical procedure than one who is out of shape.  The same is true in transformation efforts. Putting your business in the best possible position before engaging in a major system surgery will dramatically reduce the business disruption.

A healthy business is one that has clean data, adheres to established processes, and has done the necessary training and change management prior to inviting the surgeon into the Operating Room. If you wouldn’t get major surgery without consulting a second trusted source, consider being similarly careful with your company’s health.

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