We can’t help ourselves, we buy before we have alignment and clarity around specifically what challenges we want to solve with technology and what business outcomes we expect.
Why does this happen over and over?
I think the main reason is that you either have several different functional areas involved in the purchasing decision; technical people, operations people, sales people, accounting/finance people, and finally leadership. These groups speak different languages and we rarely take the time to translate and all get on the same page. OR you don’t involve anyone and make a unilateral decision without any input from your cross-functional team.
What’s the outcome?
Each group goes into the implementation phase with different expectations and objectives, too often some of these expectations aren’t even possible with the solution that was selected or the module wasn’t purchased. We don’t seem to want to do really detailed due diligence and alignment until after the sales decision has been made.
Why should we change?
Alignment and documenting (not just talking about) the challenges you are focusing on and the business objectives you expect takes time upfront and everyone is in a hurry to get something done. How about we stop thinking that buying something is actually getting anything done, its easy to buy – sales people are standing by to take your orders like 24/7. Write down what you’re trying to solve and why, show this to a cross-functional group and get their individual feedback before you buy, it will save you a lot of headaches (buying is easy, returning is hard).