Technology projects frequently include a number of technical aspects that are outside the project team’s areas of expertise. It’s tempting to try to save time or expense by tackling all of these niche areas on your own, but with the importance technology plays in business today and the increasing complexity of the latest generation of platforms, now isn’t the time to soldier on alone. In fact, you may not even be sure which skill sets you’ll require when completing the more detailed work within your technology project.
Partnering with an outside consultancy can help you ensure the right people are involved in the planning and execution of your initiatives. Delivering high-impact technology projects requires targeted expertise. This detailed knowledge is also crucial if you want to launch a system that performs as expected and integrates cleanly with the rest of your network.
A number of functions could be included in the average technology initiative. Consider the different kinds of assistance your project might need.
User testing is often required. You may want to test how easily users can access the system from multiple types of devices, for example. Designers might take this opportunity to confirm that user-facing navigation tools are intuitive and functional, even when accessed by non-tech people. It’s also important to see if errant entries by users (mis-typed passwords, selecting the wrong menu item) cause unexpected outcomes. User testing may be repeated several times throughout the life of the project to verify that any identified glitches have been fully resolved. The results of user testing sessions have the potential to impact downstream tasks, so guidance from someone experienced in user testing protocols is crucial for success.
System-level testing is also typically conducted when rolling out a new technology projects. Data processing functions often need to be reviewed to be sure the platform creates records that are accurate and complete, and that the various information fields populate as expected. Testing protocols sometimes encompass activities such as scheduling the execution of the system’s routine automated tasks so that a typical run-through can be monitored for accuracy and completeness. If this testing reveals issues, the project team may need to re-flow activities to address the problems and potentially run follow-up tests.
Most companies don’t get to replace their entire infrastructure every time new technologies are added. Instead, the latest enhancements need to be configured to work with older systems that are already in place. Legacy system integration requires knowledge of enterprise architecture and an understanding of how newer software releases and existing versions can be brought together successfully. Data transfer speeds, connection requirements, and security capabilities are just a few of the standards that are likely to differ from one system to another. Pulling everything together requires niche expertise if your organization wants to make a growing and diverse group of platforms behave as a cohesive, efficient network.
Another issue that requires close attention is cyber-security. Organizations that process sensitive data—from customers’ credit card numbers to employees’ personal information—must take measures to protect their records from unauthorized access and disclosure. A cyber-security expert will have the knowledge to ensure the system is set up to manage data appropriately throughout its life-cycle, from securing confidential files to safely cleansing duplicate or obsolete records.
The user experience (UX) of the new system and other platforms that will be affected by the project may need to be updated to provide users with a consistent, productive, and pleasing interface once the installation is complete. Someone with UX design expertise is a good resource to help identify where modifications may be required or recommended.