3 min readMar 28, 2024


The Impact of New Technologies — Part III: Checking the Vital Signs

Strategic Management Series

An organization which went through a major change, like the replacement of a strategic system (e.g. ERP/BI implementations), needs to go through a period of attentive supervision to address the inherent issues that ideally need to be handled as they arise, to minimize their future effects. Some organizations might even go through a convalescence period, which risks to prolong itself if the appropriate remedies aren’t found. Therefore, one needs an entity, who/which has the skills to recognize the symptoms, understand what’s happening and why, respectively of identifying the appropriate actions.

Given technologies’ multi-layered complexity and the volume of knowledge for understanding them, the role of the doctor can be seldom taken by one person. Moreover, the patient is an organization, each person in the organization having usually local knowledge about the patient. The needed knowledge is dispersed trough the organization, and one needs to tap into that knowledge, identify the people close to technologies and business area, respectively allow such people exchange information on a regular basis.

The people who should know the best the organization are in theory the management, however they are usually too far away from technologies and often too busy with management topics. IT professionals are close to technologies, though sometimes too far away from the patient. The users have a too narrow overview, while from logistical and economic reasons the number of people involved should be kept to a minimum. A compromise is to designate one person from each business area who works with any of the strategic systems, and assure that they have the technical and business knowledge required. It’s nothing but the key-user concept, though for it to work the key-users need not only knowledge but also the empowerment to act when the symptoms appear.

Big organizations have also a product owner for each application who supervises the application through its entire lifecycle, and who needs to coordinate with the IT, business and service providers. This is probably a good idea in order to assure that the ROI is reached over time, respectively that the needs of the system are considered within the IT operation context. In small organizations, the role can be taken by a technical or a business resource with deeper skills then the average user, usually a key-user. However, unless joined with the key-user role, the product owner’s focus will be the product and seldom the business themes.

The issues that need to be overcome after major changes are usually cross-functional, being imperative for people to work together and find solutions. Unfortunately, it’s also in human nature to wait until the issues are big enough to get the proper attention. Unless the key-users have the time allocated already for such topics, the issues will be lost in the heap of operational and tactical activities. This time must be allocated for all key-users and the technical resources needed to support them.

Some organizations build temporary working parties (groups of experts working together to achieve specific goals) or similar groups. However, the statute of such group needs to be permanent if the organization wants to continuously have its health in check, to build the needed expertize and awareness about occurred or potential issues. Centers of excellence/expertize (CoE) or competency centers (CC) are such working groups with permanent statute, having defined roles, responsibilities, and processes for supporting and promoting the effective use of technologies within the organization, respectively of monitoring and systematically addressing the risks and opportunities associated with them.

There’s also the null hypothesis, doing nothing, relying solely on employees’ professionalism, though without defined responsibility, accountability and empowerment, it can get messy.

See Part I, Part II

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IT professional/blogger with more than 24 years experience in IT - Software Engineering, BI & Analytics, Data, Project, Quality, Database & Knowledge Management