The Cost of Automation

Christian Buckley

Christian is a 7-time Office Servers and Services MVP, internationally-recognized technology evangelist and collaboration expert, and the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • Christian:
    I’m with you as long as the utility of “can we do this?” isn’t trumped by “should we do this?” at the expense of business productivity. It’s a fine line, and IMO if there are big gains now that may cause a little IT pain down the road, then that’s good and something to just plan for. These solutions aren’t *for* IT: they are for the business. They exist to improve performance, accelerate innovation, and broaden communication. When we lose sight of that, it’s just another crappy Intranet.

  • Very nice article! Marc brings some valid points as well. Should never forget that we are here for the business first.
    Keep it simple – Keep it out of the box as long as possible

  • Agreed — IT’s job is to enable the business. The problem I see is that many decisions are made for short-term benefit without attempting to understand long-term impacts. My point is to ask the question, own the decision.

  • I think there is another aspect of making the choice between OOTB and custom development – that is the business users motivation for the need. Many requirements that seem to automatically lead to development come from somebody assuming something for the whole population of end-users (like usability or productivity) or unwillingness to solve the problem step by step (is has to be perfect from the start) or unwillingness to adapt to a certain way of doing something etc etc –
    I often draw a comparison to boxed (Word 2010) or saas applications (salesforce) – why is it that these tools can be successfully used without the business drumming up requirements? So a big part of requirements that drive custom development come imho from the simple fact that it is possible to do so – the excuse is productivity or usability, while user adoption and training should be the first interest – just like it is when organizations upgrade from Office 2003 to 2010..