Business Technology Integration

 

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business business (phonetic spelling) 2 a: role, function; b: an immediate task or objective, mission; c: a particular field of endeavor (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary copyright © 2004 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated)

technology technology (phonetic spelling)1 a : the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary copyright © 2004 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated)

integrate integrate (phonetic spelling) [T] to combine two or more things in order to become more effective (http://dictionary.cambridge.org)

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We describe business as any activity involving actions and transactions, commercial or non-commercial. One of our family members is an engineer for the National Park Service: she is involved in the business of designing and implementing ecostructure for preserving our national parks. We believe technology should be used as a way to improve the operation of a business, any business, in a way that should be able to be measured by anyone as a quality of life improvement. If the technology does not bring improvement, if it does not add quality, if it does not make the user more effective, then it is of no value.

Most organizations, when they acquire technology (any technology: computers / servers / software / tech staff), buy it by the pound and assume: a) that it will do something, and b) that the more they spend, the more it will do. The big fallacy in this assumption is that if you do not know, and are not judiciously and deliberately applying the technology to, the master paradigms of your business operation, then the addition of technology simply allows you to be ineffective faster. Life is all about direction, not speed. First, identify the direction, then put the pedal to the metal.

Peter likes to cite the examples of Sam Walton (WalMart), Herb Kelleher (Southwest Airlines) and Fred Smith (Fed Ex): visionary leaders who defined all the major paradigms and rules that would make major improvements in their business mode before seeking out the technology to implement the paradigm. Creating a new paradigm is what set them apart from their competitors, not the technology that they acquired. Ironically, most of the rules for how to do this at all levels have already been written by great Americans like Deming, Juran, et al., but they were written in the jargon of a particular industry and might as well be Greek to any other industry. The technology industry has taken advantage of this by selling its product as if it were Home Depot supplying complete off-the-rack houses, that is, not really involved in defining the home occupants’ needs and not doing the actual construction.

At IDEAS, we do our part to counter this by helping our clients discover the paradigm points that drive their business and applying quality principles to find the most effective and economical technologies to implement them. We perform usability engineering, by which we mean that we engineer systems that make life easier and processes more effective for our clients (the users). We use our expertise in areas such as interactive design, marketing, work flow analysis, web business conception, e-commerce and complex network design to define Total Business Solutions. Only after the solution has been defined as a paradigm do we shop for the technology. The technology is always subordinate to the business model, and design calculations are made accordingly.

Total Business Solutions may include process re-engineering as well as implementation of appropriate and cost-effective technologies designed and calculated to promote your unique business model and produce real results in the real world—and we provide integrated metrics to verify those results are actually occurring. We use open source, browser based, platform independent software wherever possible, because our customized browser-based solutions are more responsive, more cost-effective and more usable than any brand name tool we have tested. This type of solution offers some decided advantages in ease of implementation over proprietary software packages because it is easily expandable, scalable and replicable using tools that are widely disseminated and freely accessible. At the same time, it facilitates interconnectivity with and among different existing systems, including legacy databases that are otherwise difficult to mine, while respecting the integrity of the source systems. A truly integrated solution is one that incorporates legacy systems where it's cost effective to do so and makes them accessible through a unified interface.