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Assessing Company Readiness for IT

Some organizations implemented IT projects with relatively fewer problems than the others. This is due to the differences in readiness state that each organization was in when they started the project.  The readiness of organization for IT can be due to a few areas.

System

IT is about implementing a system.  By looking at how the company manages the current system, it is possible to foresee the problems that it will encounter in implementing IT systems.

Is the Business Process and Procedure keep on Changing?

This indicates uncertainty of the management thoughts and priority.  The frequent change of process and procedure often confused the employees.  Employees are also less willing to participate in new project due to the uncertainty of the project.  They may think that the project will be changed during or even after the implementation.  It should also be noted that it is difficult to change the business process after implementation of IT system.

Are the Business Processes and Policies Standardized and Documented?

If organization does not formally standardize and document their process and policy, they are less ready for systems that require more discipline.  Lack of document and standardization of business processes will pose difficulties to the external consultant and project team.  The project team has to perform the standardization of the business process together with the IT implementation.  This makes the IT project more difficult.

Are your Staffs Practicing company Procedures and Policies?

If staffs and managers tend to deviate from the procedure, the discipline of the organization may not be sufficient for computerized system.

Is the Use of Computers Common in the Company?

If many of the key staffs do not even know how to operate computer, the learning curve will be long and more error will incur during implementation.

Management

The quality of management is perhaps the most important factor to the success or failure to any organization.  Good management sets directions that will help the company to grow and success.

Leadership

If there is no clear leader with some understanding of computerized system, who is going to lead the project?  This is a common problem with the Small and Medium Size Businesses (SME/ SMI).

Vision and Purpose

Is there clear vision for the company?  Has the top management defines the purpose of the project and what it is trying to achieve?  If there is none, it will most probably end up as a trial and error project.

Understanding the Concept of Modern Management Control

Some organizations may not have strong concept of modern management.  Take the example of inventory control.  I had encountered managements that preferred to keep excessive stock to avoid running out of stock without understanding the cost impact of keeping these stocks.  They believed that having more stock indicate prosperity of the business.  In these cases, their beliefs may contradict and concept of computerized inventory control system.

Ability to Manage Changes

To find out how good the company is in managing changes, we can look at results of the recent projects that the company carried out.  Many managers are good in planning but may not be effective in implementing their plans and motivating their staff to change.

People & Culture

The other important factor to look at is the people in the company.  As they will be the users of the system, their ability to use the system effectively, will determine the return on investment of the project.

What is the Education Level of the Staffs?

What is the education level of you key staffs?  Level of education has direct relationship to the speed of learning of Information Technology.  If most of the key staffs have little IT literacy, it will be more difficult to implement large scale IT projects.

What is the Staff Turnover Situation?

If staff turnover of the company is very high, the continuity of the project implementation cannot be ensured.  High staff turnover is also an indication of management problem.  Since some projects implementation tend to increase staff turnovers, the management should be prepared for it.  The attritions most of the times are due to staffs that are unable to cope with the changes.  Such attrition may not be necessarily bad, as long as it is controlled and managed.

How Receptive are the Staff to Changes?

Are the staffs in the organization keen on learning new thing and technologies?  When there is complacency and the “Not Invented Here” attitude, it will be very difficult to implement IT projects.  Some of the staff may fear the new technology threatening their job and power in the company.  They will resist strongly for such changes or influence others to resist the change.

Discipline

Do the employees have the discipline to follow procedure?  For example, in some ISO certified companies, it is common that some of the staff may try ways and means not to follow the procedure for their own convenience.  Some management may not have the determination to ensure that procedures are enforced.  In an environment that is lack of discipline, it is difficult to conduct business process in a structured way.  IT solutions tend to be very structured.  The staffs will find difficulty operating in this type of environment without the change in attitude.

There were managements that tried to force the implementation of IT project in not well-structured organizations.  These were done base on the belief that IT solution will enforce discipline and provides the necessary operations structure.  Unfortunately, not many of such projects are successful.  Those, which make it through, had to go through enormous pain just to achieve it.  

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