Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

As anyone who is reading a map soon realizes, knowing where you are is the key to getting where you’re going—something that’s also true of technology road maps and software implementations. In the latter case, the process of finding out exactly where you are begins with a 360⁰ view of your implementation, taking a step back and developing a long-term plan that works.

Why do an assessment?

It’s important as you build and expand your business, you take a step back to assess your current environment. While an assessment may organically evolve as part of the process, there are other circumstances that may act as catalysts to drive your organization to undertake an assessment such as the desire to:

  • Eliminate silos that sometimes happen as implementations grow after you’ve been using a given technology over time
  • Match growth and needs that may expand over time and need your applications and systems to continue to scale
  • Reach a desired end-state you want to achieve with your implementation 
  • Reduce technical debt which can become so great that things are starting to break
  • Take full advantage of the resources you’ve already purchased and make better use of both platform and your license(s)

Fundamental elements for a successful assessment

For an assessment to be successful, it’s necessary for partners and their clients to work together to set realistic expectations and goals. It’s important to include the entire community of stakeholders—not just from the technology side, but from the rest of the business as well. Including people from across the organization helps you and your partner to achieve a 360-degree view of your business. Detailed assessments help create a functional road map and are essential for scoping and executing projects correctly.

What benefits does an assessment bring?

Better scoping
Better scoping helps you prioritize and improve timeline and budget estimates. With early identification of resources needed, you’ll be better able to avoid cost overruns throughout the course of the project. Will your ROI improve? Almost certainly, given that you have all the critical elements of the project defined and accurately scoped.

Building a robust foundation
Any assessment starts with building a strong, reliable foundation that sets you up for success now and in the future. It’s about doing things the right way, even if you don’t do them right now. It’s looking ahead to understand the business needs in the future.  After assessing the business holistically, you’ll know what the end goal needs to be. Now you need to build a solution that both works today and puts you on the path to reach that desired end state. When it’s time to execute on the next phase, it’s easier move forward, and the plan remains aligned with achieving the end goal. You don’t want to build something you’ll outgrow, even if you’re not planning a multiphase project at the outset.

Proper assessment in the beginning allows you to scale and scope your implementation as needed. Once the scoping is complete, you can move to defining the best practices for building on the platform to do more over time. You can now execute upon a future-proofed road map that serves both immediate needs and those of a multiphase, perhaps even a multiyear project.

Finding the business-technology balance
Your technology stack should help your business succeed and move to the next level; it shouldn’t hold you back or waste resources and energy. The tech stack should always accelerate the business as an asset to get to the next stage quicker. To realize that goal, you must have an assessment of all those involved from the entire organization and take holistic approach.

In the end, a project plan is useless if it doesn’t address both the business and technology needs of the organization. You need to do what’s right for the business while optimizing the technology utilization. It’s about finding out how technology updates and investments you need to make now will enable you to create a better path forward.

Having a trusted partner

You can’t always know what you don’t know, and that’s where an assessment from a trusted partner comes in. You want to spend the time and effort up front to find and work with a partner who will take the time to understand your business and your needs—one who will help you devise a realistic plan of action you can press forward with.

You need, and will get tangible, specific recommendations on timelines, budgets, and priorities that speak to the needs of your organization. A road map that looks at the 360⁰ of your business is the guide to what’s next. The key to success is knowing where you are, where you need to go, and how best to get there.

Molly McGee