The LaiseBoy Philosophy, Part 2: Matching Technology Strategy to Business Objectives
Jerry Laiserin

One of the toughest decisions any manager faces is matching her firm's technology choices to its organizational structure and style. Understanding a few simple propositions about design business, technology product cycles, and the relationships between them can help managers develop attention and investment strategies that focus on the right technologies at the right time.


Business proposition:ExpertiseExperienceEfficiency
Technology proposition:SolutionPerformanceValue
Attention/investment strategy:LeadingPacingFoundation

In both Issue One and Issue Two we mentioned David Maister's Managing the Professional Service Firm; deservedly so because that work's differentiation among expertise, experience, and efficiency as service firm business propositions is among the most powerful and useful perspectives ever published on the topic. For a quick overview of these business propositions, click here.

We've all seen or heard the service mantra, "You can have it done well, fast, or cheap, but not all three." Digital technology imposes similar trade-offs, with solution-specificity standing in for quality, performance standing in for speed, and value standing in for low cost. For brief background on these technology propositions, click here.

Brad Holtz of Cyon Research has eloquently observed that technology moves in waves that successful design firms must learn to ride. Today's value-level technology represented the peak of performance a year ago, and the avant garde of performance a while before that. Thus, at any moment certain technologies are so mature they should be part of the unspoken foundation requirements of any business; other, more up-to-date technologies help firms keep pace with the competition; yet other leading tools help the smartest firms gain their edge.

Thus, once you honestly identify your firm's principal business proposition, you can match it with the appropriate technology proposition and focus your attention and investment on the right mix of foundation, pacing, or leading technologies. Efficiency-oriented practices should concentrate most of their technology attention and investment on value-oriented, foundation technologies. Firms that peddle the depth and/or breadth of their experience should emphasize the performance of pacing technologies in their procurement decisions; and expertise-driven practices demand leading edge solutions.

Whenever appropriate, we'll identify what we write and what we write about as falling into one of these technology categories. The goal is to help you make the best use of your scarcest and most valuable resources: your time and attention.

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