Technology projects are often high risk, high visibility, and high dollar. The budget element alone can make strategic modernization projects difficult to execute, but you may be able to uncover cost-saving opportunities by assessing your existing internal resources. Many companies have a variety of skills and experience in-house, and you might find some individuals with the right background to contribute to your initiative.
If your technology project’s expected budget is on shaky ground, consider these internal resources that may be available at a lower cost than outside sources.
Recruiting and hiring
Some technology providers offer long-term staffing services for ongoing system maintenance and administration roles. Before signing on for these services, you should assess whether this is the optimal route based on your corporate culture and needs. Does your company have a strong commitment to support workers’ career development goals or to promote from within? You may find you already have good performers in-house who are eager for the opportunity to work on the new solution. Your internal IT department could also have a portion of the skills necessary within their ranks. Connect with your HR team early so you can develop the project schedule based on an accurate and realistic staffing plan.
Whether you plan to manage the new technology platform with existing talent or not, it’s likely there are technical tasks that people on your staff can help with during the planning and implementation phases. Is it possible to limit the outside labor needed to develop and test integrations, for example, because someone inside your organization is already well versed in the various connectivity capabilities of your technology stack? Work with your technology provider to understand the niche skills needed and review your internal options to align the project strategy with the resources you already have available.
Software testing teams
Even companies with only limited exposure to software or systems development efforts often have some of the components of a support infrastructure in place. These groups—including programmers, system admins, and web developers—can help orchestrate and execute tasks such as rolling out a beta testing program. Their background might also be a good fit for managing quality control and reviewing testers’ feedback to spot bugs or feature gaps that should be addressed before the technology’s final cutover. In addition, these experts can help develop task duration estimates for their targeted activities.
Instructing users on the aspects of your new solution will almost certainly involve the technology provider, but you may be able to augment their expertise with your own. Do you have experienced trainers who can help create class materials, or even lead training sessions themselves? In-house personnel will have the first-hand experience necessary to ensure that courses focus on the workflows your end users are most likely to leverage. Consider asking these experts to participate in your project planning phase, too, so their insights can help inform the training curriculum and shape the post-implementation support strategy.
Punch list issues are likely to arise once the new platform goes live. Your technology vendor may plan to provide some help desk expertise in the near term, but you should carefully assess your options for ongoing end user support. Open-ended staffing arrangements can be costly, so discuss the situation with your IT group and see if they have the bandwidth to tackle troubleshooting when technical issues crop up weeks or months down the line. You may be able to avoid a long-term contract for outside help if your internal team is comfortable working through glitches and has the time and expertise to do so.