Part 2: What does an IT Project entail? Examples of IT projects.

Most organizations, if not all, have had to one time or the other implement an IT project to improve efficiencies in the day to day running of the business. This could be in the form of creating a website, an Accounting tool, even an AI-powered chatbot to help with customer relationship management or a data migration projects from a legacy platform to a cloud platform to enable the business harness the benefits of storing their data in the cloud as opposed to On-premise. IT projects are very widespread but in my experience, they usually cover one or more of these areas: customization, integration, data migration, security, AI, storage, data migration, front end, backend, software development, hosting on cloud or on-premise, APIs, Libraries and open-source, mobile app vs desktop app.

Below are some examples of strong business cases for the implementation of an IT project.

  • Business Case 1– Software Application upgrade. Software upgrades are more often than not inevitable. An upgraded software usually comes with capabilities and functionalities that help end-users be more efficient in their work or resolves issues experienced in the current system. While a software upgrade calls for additional work such as migrating existing data and certain levels of customizations, it presents itself with a lot of benefits for the organization using the software.  

Not all software upgrades bring about a return on investment or profitability. Some organizations have had to decide after thorough analysis that an upgrade at a given point in time will lead to losses rather than profitability.-

Below are some decision points that must be reached to help determine whether or not to proceed with a software upgrade

  • Does the business need the additional features provided in the upgrade?
  • Do we lose support in the current upgrade?
  • Cost-benefit analysis for benefits against the cost of migration?
  • What other systems are integrated with the software and how are they affected? Will those systems need to be upgraded as well?
  • When should it be undertaken so as not to disrupt the business day-to-day?
  • Business case 2 – Implement an AI-powered chatbot to assist call center agents in answering call-in customers’ inquiries.

An AI-powered chatbot uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine learning (ML) to understand the intents of human and simulate a human level conversation with customers. The goal of implementing an AI chatbot is to improve the performance and accuracy of the chatbot’s interaction with humans so that fewer calls are transferred to call center agents. If an AI-powered chatbot implementation is successful, it would reduce the number of call center agents needed to attend to customers which invariably reduces the cost of the operations for the company. 

AI chatbots are usually not stand-alone systems, they are integrated into several other parts of an organization’s system to make for an efficient and seamless system. For example, a chatbot that answers questions about insurance claims has to be integrated with the company’s customer database and insurance policy documents to provide accurate answers to customers.

  • Business Case 3- Cloud migration

Once again, organizations will only embark on an IT Project if it brings about returns/profitability.

Below are some considerations made by organizations before choosing to go with a migration to the cloud

  • The cost of making the change: There is cost associated with consulting experts to determine the best approach, choice of services, practices based on the organization’s unique circumstance. There is also the cost associated with training for employees on how to harness and run the cloud features and make the most of its capabilities. And finally, there is the cost for a cloud subscription, running and operating the cloud, and the migration of data and applications from on-premise to cloud.
  • Business Case 4: Installing a CRM (customer relationship management) tool

CRM is everything an organization does to continually maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with its customers. These include marketing and sales efforts which are sometimes aided by technology initiatives to harness useful information from customer data.

Some businesses have been successful using excel sheets and other manual processes to maintain their customer data. However, implementing a CRM tool provides a more automated platform that can greatly reduce the amount of time needed to store and retrieve these data. CRM tools provide integration points to several other applications such as accounting applications, chatbots, etc. Some CRM tools come pre-packaged with several functionalities with no need to integrate with other applications. Depending on the size of your customer base, business process, you could be saving your employees time by implementing a CRM system. 

Below are some benefits of implementing a CRM tool for your client servicing business.

  •  A CRM tool has features that can help an organization store and retrieve customer information easily. This could eliminate the stress and several hours an employee spends navigating an excel spreadsheet. 
  • The use of a CRM tool ensures that customer data is stored in a consistent format in real-time for easy processing and availability. When data is stored in a structured consistent format it becomes easy to apply some data science, AI, and machine learning algorithms to extract useful information from these data. An example is analyzing past customer behavior to predict future customer buying behavior and therefore provide better recommendations to clients or help the organization focus on providing the services and products that are tailored to their clients’ needs.
  • Because a CRM tool has a database feature that lives in the data center or the cloud rather than in a person’s personal computer, it provides a one-stop-shop with real-time updates on all customer information. Data redundancy is eliminated as customer information is the same across all channels.
  • A CRM tool even provides a platform for real-time dialogues with clients, vendors, etc via emails and chats.

With all these aforementioned benefits of the CRM system, you can see how implementing this IT project can improve efficiencies in a company and even employee morale. Other CRM tools are Salesforce, Hubspot, and Netsuite.

  • Business Case 5: Implementing a new accounting package.

Like the CRM tools, some companies have been able to carry out most of their accounting jobs on an excel spreadsheet which is manually maintained by an accountant. However, some larger companies have discovered that it will be more efficient to implement a prepackaged accounting software that has been programmed with industry best practices and processes for managing your books – be it clients’ invoices, payroll, timesheet, generate reports with accuracy and consistency. This allows you and your employees to focus on other areas of the business that requires their attention.

Other notable IT projects include big data projects for Fraud detection systems.

From the above, I am sure you can see the various ways of how IT projects are undertaken in business to improve the bottom line (profitability).

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