This is the second part of a series on Business Process Analysis for Small Businesses. In the first article we discussed the question, “what problem will this solve for your business?” and the three phased approach that you should take to answer this question. While you can go ahead and implement all kinds of technology before you answer this question, we advise not too. The reason being, is that technology is a tool and until you know the problem you’re trying to solve you won’t really know how technology plays a role in solving the problems you’re business is facing. Instead, we advise that you work on developing a more thorough and complete understanding of your business by analyzing what you do, how you do it and then form a strategy for how to improve it. It is at this final stage that you can truly take advantage of what technology has to offer your business.
If you’re a small company or even a non profit organization and you’ve needed to get some work done, it can be a daunting task to find the right vendor or company to do the work for you. One means of doing this is to use a Request for Proposal (RFP). Some people might think that the RFP process is only appropriate for larger organizations such as the US government but I think it also has the potential to be a viable option for hiring someone to do the work for a small business or a non profit. One of the advantages of an RFP is that it puts companies to work responding to you rather then you spending all you’re time trying to convince companies to consider your request. Another advantage is that when you send out your RFP to more than one company it establishes an environment of competition which is a good way to ensure you’re getting the best from those whom you are seeking a proposal from. A further advantage is that you are starting everything off with a clear definition of the work that you want to be done, this can go a long way to ensuring the success.
Whenever anyone asks me to write some sort of software for them whether it be a website, or an application of any kind I always ask in response, “what problem will this solve for your business?”. Particularly with business websites but also with other types of software for small businesses, this question is something that the client has not spent much time thinking through which then leads to a discussion much along the lines of what this series of posts is going to be about.
Managing an IT Project whether it be building a website for a small business or an Enterprise solution for a fortune 500 company can be difficult to deliver according to the expectations of the customer. A lot of the time this results from a lack of understanding regarding the constraints that impact the work you are doing. If you don’t understand these constraints you are also likely not communicating well with your customer regarding what they should expect. The QTC Triangle is one of the most foundational Project Management principles that brings clarity to these constraints and should help you understand better why you might be struggling to accomplish what your customers as asking of you.
Have you ever needed a quick and easy way to get data but didn’t want to hassle with getting a full blown database setup? Well I was pleased to recently discover that you can very quickly and easily get access to and display data stored in a google sheet on your website. What makes this really easy and thus appealing is that you do not need to gain access to this data via the Google Sheets API, rather you can get a JSON representation with a simple URL. Today we will look at this in detail and discuss the various considerations that should be made when using such a technique.