Analyze IT Impact
On face value, technology decisions should rest solely on business requirements, technical parameters and sound financial reasoning. However, things are rarely that simple. End-user perceptions, realistic or otherwise, can affect the success of any IT service, and should also be made part of any decision making process. But, if perceptions are to be an element of decisions, they must first be anticipated .... predicted through careful consideration of potential consequences and likely reactions. This is the human aspect of impact analysis.
Impact analysis is designed to identify, weigh and consider the consequences of IT plans and decision-making on the business and end-user community. The goal is to use "consequences" to drive decision making, to ensure that all decisions are sound and informed. In addition, impact analysis can eliminate unwanted guesswork and unrealistic expectations, forming communication strategies with end-users.
There are three steps involved in the IT impact analysis: Consider the Services. Anticipate the Consequences. Plan for Results.
What types of IT services are likely to have an impact (either positive or negative) upon a business organization and the employees?
Technology solutions selected and deployed, as well as those
ignored or discarded.
Maintenance practices implemented.
Technology policies and procedures created and enforced.
Projects and priorities chosen.
Messages communicated - to management, end-users and IT staff.
Support services provided.
Disruptions or delays in service and systems performance.
The timely delivery of projects, information and technology solutions.
The quality and timeliness of service and support.
Consequences: How will any of the aforementioned services have an impact upon the business organization and the employees?
Technology can give rise to changes in roles and responsibilities,
changes in work schedules and can create the need for new skills
Continued disruptions in service and ongoing technical problems can impact workload and deadlines, and can contribute to lowered morale.
Once assigned, desktop technology can be viewed as a symbol of status, reward or management preference.
Technology standards can interfere with end-user preferences and the perceived need for systems independence.
Continual technological change, (or the lack thereof), can impact staff retention and performance.
Results: What can you do to find a middle ground between services and consequences?
The consequences and perceived impact of IT decisions and services can vary based on circumstance and perception. Realizing that you cannot please everyone, you need to plant the seeds of compromise. When contemplating an IT project, service or technical solution, it may be necessary to find a middle ground as you reach for conclusions .... to minimize negative impact and maximize positive impact.