Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Code of the (Supplier) Road Map

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or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy


When we procure any applications, it's always great to think where the preferred solution will go in the future. How many it develop, evolve, re-shape itself to fit our needs. Maybe it will end up as something that will develop in a different direction entirely. Hopefully it won't, unless of course, our organisations move in that different direction too, for some reason.

The 'Solution Road Map' is the document, & sometimes mythical tome, that we ask for. It could be etched into granite, scribbled on the back of an A7 envelope or just be some woolly aspirations. Considering most software contracts will be for 3, 5, 7 or more years, this is a very importing item. We would expect all statutory changes demanded by our sector, Westminster, Holyrood, Welsh/NI or other assemblies, Europe etc to be included. In fact your contract should tightly enforce that one.

Uniquely, I have seen supplier road maps from both sides of the fence, so I do understand the pressures of planning well, project managing developments, putting resources in place (or not), setting reasonable expectations and not letting customers down. It's a juggling act for sure, but suppliers should not make it hard for customers, good communication is the key.

Hopefully, good supplier roadmaps are based on what the customers need and want, these can come from two key sources. Firstly regular user groups, how often does your supplier hold them and does  your organisation bother to attend? Secondly, if your suppliers are bidding for new work, they should see many new requirements coming across from that source. ITT's and demos are the breeding ground for innovation and a gold mine for finding out what the sector will think is the next big thing.

In my book, customers should be made aware of supplier roadmaps twice a year, so they can plan around their needs. Seeing something on a road map and planning next September to implement a new essential feature, is all very good. Not so good when you have to go back to your SMT (senior Management Team) a couple of times, to spin out the timetable another 18 months, as your supplier has put that item back. 

Do keep on top of your supplier and their Road Maps. If procuring and drawing up a new contract, it's easier to bind delivery from the road map into project timescales. Typically something I will be mentioning as part of my slot at Devonshires, September 15th.  You can sign up for free, lunch and canap├ęs afterwards included. It would be great to see you there, at Finsbury Circus, London, EC2M 7DT. Sign up now on this link:  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RSH9QDP

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Related Post: Audit, useful or an expensive organisation box tick? 

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Danko Jones  - Code of the Road MapDanko Jones - Code of the Road Map.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


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