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Evaluating Trade-Offs and ROI of an Open Approach

Posted by Dave Richards on December 28, 2018 10:20 AM EST
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When making important capital or strategic decisions any manager worth their salt immediately tries to get a handle on the fundamental tradeoffs presented by the various options.  Discipline of this nature should be applied to technology investment decisions.  But adding to their challenge is their normally complex and even iterative nature, leading to a process that generally looks as much like art as it does science.  For example, grappling with questions like “What happens to our positioning vis a vis competitors if we build X, versus Y, versus nothing?” can lead to paralysis.  With the exception of large enterprises that have analysts aplenty, answers are generally incomplete at best or inactionable at worst.

We coach organizations that while they must struggle with those types of questions, in parallel and to keep the organization moving forward, to consider as a predicate that something will be done.  This simple technique keeps the strategic dimension on the table while making tactical analysis much more straight-forward and actionable.  The decision becomes how and what.  Less why.   

Below is an outline pulled together for a client and used to faciliate just such a discussion.  It identifies, at a very high level, the pro's and con's of using open components like Magenta and Concursive versus a leading proprietary technology like Salesforce.com to implement a customer facing solution.

The table shouldn't be interpretted to suggest that Open is the best approach.  It is in some cases, not in others.  “Best” depends upon a thorough consideration of the company’s unique circumstances and how management weighs the costs, advantages and different risks at play.

 

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