Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Man from P.O.S.T. - "The Where to Prioitize a Technology Decision Affair"

Despite the fact that for over half of my career technology companies have (and continue to) pay my mortgage - I have always been a long standing, and increasing vocal, proponent of the idea that in deciding on any business process change or innovation the technology must come last.

A topic I devote a whole chapter to in the upcoming THE CONTENT POOL book (end of shameless plug).

At the 2011 LavaCon conference I even ended up getting a quick round of applause during the conference closing panel discussion for the statement that audience members should stop talking about tools and start talking about business need. A sign that I thought that we were making some headway.

Then yesterday I was invited on a conference call for a project that has been ticking over for nearly three years now and is not making any apparent progress. The reason quickly became apparent as conversation quickly got into the weeds about the features / functions and development efforts needed around three alternative technology options.

When I asked the basic question of what was the project's high level business objective, no-one could actually articulate it. Was this a project for the customer communication,, or was it a project to prove that something could be done using existing technology? Again, no clear response.

Over lunch afterwards, a friend reminded me of the acronym POST developed by the Forrester's consulting group. P.O.S.T.

Forrester's created the P.O.S.T. approach as part of developing a corporate social network strategy - but I believe it applies equally as well to the world of content strategy (Of which social network content should be a part anyway).

P. = People
O. = Objectives
S. = Strategy
T. = Technology

Seems obvious doesn't it. Start with those who have a need, figure out the things you need to do to fill that need, develop a strategy to do it, and then think about the tools you can use to do it.

You should be thinking along the lines of "We need to decrease the time it takes to get our content changes into the hands of our customers," not "We need to install Wizgadget3.0."

Or as my lunch companion neatly summed it up -

If you put the "T" first, all your are left with is a P.O.S.

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