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Government’s Agile Software Development Approach Similar to NetLink Adaptive Process™

As the federal government is being tasked with doing more with less these days, it has been embracing a new method for managing IT projects called Agile Software Development.

The foundation for Agile Software Development is to continuously address project impediments, receive ongoing stakeholder feedback, empower cross-functional teams and track progress daily.  This new project management methodology is aimed at making sure that long-term IT projects don’t become obsolete or go over budget.

In other words, Agile Software Development is remarkably similar to the NetLink Adaptive Process, where we take an “iterative approach” for managing the implementation of web solutions.

The NetLink Adaptive Process mitigates many common risks of IT projects and gives us the framework for our project teams to deliver superior solutions to clients while staying within schedule and budget commitments.  The key ingredient to make this work is to get solutions in front of clients early and often through the project management process.

Our process has six concrete steps for meeting the goals for projects by doing more upfront project planning and defining of requirements — with plenty of client input along the way.

While the iterative or agile approach is well known in IT circles, it’s unfortunate that providers who claim to use it don’t always have the commitment to actually put it into practice — leaving clients wondering about the benefits, and often feeling underwhelmed with the final product. It takes a significant amount of discipline to manage IT projects this way, but doing so with the correct project management oversight will pay dividends by yielding a final product that is superior than if traditional waterfall methods are employed.

Whether for a government agency, a hospitality provider or larger enterprise, the proper management of IT projects is paramount.  And with the government facing challenging budgetary times — with mission goals not decreasing — Agile Software Development should allow government to be more effective…If they have the know-how and discipline to leverage it correctly.

So, What Exactly Is Cloud Computing?

While the term ‘cloud computing’ has been one of the most over-used IT catch-phrases of the past several years, there is a lot of merit in exploring these types of solutions for almost any business. Unfortunately, I hear a great deal of confusion and inconsistency in using the term “cloud” in both conversation and print. This confusion especially translates to business executives who know that the world is moving toward cloud computing but don’t always understand the basics of the terminology to be able to truly assess value and risk so they can lead their organizations in the right direction.

Well, I may be able to offer some assistance. I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “What Every CEO Should Know About the Cloud”, written by Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist at the Center for Digital Business in the MIT Sloan School of Management.

While this is an excellent article well worth the read, what I really liked about it was a brief sidebar called “What is the Cloud?” which provides the best, most concise description of cloud computing that I have seen to-date. This quick read should help anyone – especially business executives – understand the basic terminology of cloud computing. Here’s that sidebar:

What is the Cloud?

The cloud computing industry is growing and evolving rapidly—and also generating lots of jargon. As a result it can be difficult to understand exactly what the cloud is and how its offerings differ.

To oversimplify just a bit, those offerings can be divided into three categories: raw computing capacity, computers that are ready for software, and software itself.

The first of these, called Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), is the most basic; it’s a server or servers out there in the cloud, or a bunch of storage capacity or bandwidth. IaaS customers, which are often tech companies, typically have a lot of IT expertise; they want access to computing power but don’t want to be responsible for installing or maintaining it.

The second tier is called Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). This is a cloud-based platform that companies can use to develop their custom applications or write software that integrates with existing applications. PaaS environments come equipped with software development technologies like Java,.NET, Python, and Ruby on Rails and allow customers to start writing code quickly. Once the code is ready, the vendor hosts it and makes it widely available. PaaS is currently the smallest segment of the cloud computing market and is often used by established companies looking to outsource a piece of their infrastructure.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the third category, is the largest and most mature part of the cloud. It’s an application or suite of applications that resides in the cloud instead of on a user’s hard drive or in a data center. One of the earliest SaaS successes was Salesforce.com’s customer relationship management software, which provided an alternative to on-premise CRM systems when it was launched, in 2000. More recently, productivity and collaboration software—spreadsheets, word processing programs, and so on—has moved into the cloud with Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365, and other similar offerings.

Cloud offerings share a few similarities across these three categories. First, customers rent them instead of buying them, shifting IT from a capital expense to an operating expense. Second, vendors are responsible for everything “beneath the hood”—all the maintenance, administration, capacity planning, troubleshooting, and backups. And finally, it’s usually fast and easy to get more from the cloud—more storage from an IaaS vendor, the ability to handle more PaaS projects, or more seats for users of a SaaS application.

Some large organizations are planning to build “private clouds” that they will own and maintain. These are essentially data centers that use many of the cloud’s technologies. Private clouds hold the promise of offering all the advantages of the public cloud while addressing security and regulatory concerns. However, I’m skeptical. The scale economies of public cloud companies lead to great cost decreases over time, and because their environments are intensely competitive, those decreases will surely be reflected in their prices. I doubt that most private clouds will be able to keep up.

Be sure to check out the full Harvard Business Review article here.

Posted by: Steve Short, President, NetLink Resource Group

Greatness Verified: A/B Testing Provides True Validation

The idea of greatness is purely subjective. When it comes to developing an online property that generates revenue, businesses can never really know if their efforts will produce greatness unless they undertake A/B testing.

A/B testing is simply comparing two versions of a landing page and seeing which version was more effective in attracting/retaining key traffic and ultimately leading to sales conversions. Clearly the highest performing version should be the one developed, launched and further tested.

Part of the challenge is that A/B testing often takes a backseat to more buzz-worthy marketing efforts like SEO, web analytics and usability. While not diminishing the power of SEO and analytics, A/B testing should be as much of a priority for sales and marketing as it validates the effectiveness of any new online effort prior to launch.

So, what should be tested? A/B testing extends well beyond just the aesthetics of a site. Of course each testing situation is unique, but core elements that should be covered include the ability to capture sales leads and generate revenue, the site’s call to action, headline/products descriptions, promotional offers, product pricing and much more.

As many companies and organizations invest a tremendous amount of money in their web sites, there needs to be methods for ensuring the best return-on-investment (ROI), beyond validating and tracking analytics.

A/B testing actually improves ROI and allows for the development of incremental improvements, which is critical in building a successful web property. This is an ongoing process that allows for the refining of all efforts and provides sales and marketing executives with the knowledge needed to gauge success.

Most businesses simply need to attract customers online and entice them to make a sale. Though businesses will never actually know if they have missed opportunities to capture sales leads unless they have actually tested and validated their web properties. Other wise, you are just taking shots in the dark.

Stay tuned for more posts about A/B testing on the NetLink blog. As we believe in the power of building out IT solutions that only provide true business value, the concept of A/B testing is very important. We intend to dive much further into this vital topic in the coming weeks and months.

Posted by: Myles Henderson, Developer at NetLink Resource Group

NetLink Supports “Telework Week” Again in 2012

Productivity is paramount to the success of any business. For many area workers, a big part of the day is often spent commuting to and from work –causing a drain on productivity and even sapping their creativity.

On top of this, having so many cars on the Beltway is causing undue stress on the environment. This is why NetLink Resource Group is an avid participant in Telework Week, hosted by the Telework Exchange.

Telework Week is a national effort to get companies and organizations to telework during the week of March 5th. Since we are already a distributed organization with many working from home, we decided to do the online savings and environmental calculations provided by Telework Exchange, and here’s what we found:

During Telework Week, NetLink employees will save:

  • $1,030.95 – Total amount saved
  • 1,370 – Number of pounds of pollutants saved
  • 0.653 – Number of tons of pollutants saved

And, since our employees telework essentially all the time, each year we collectively save:

  • $51,547.50 – Total amount saved
  • 68,513 – Number of pounds of pollutants saved
  • 32.625 – Number of tons of pollutants saved

Saving money and helping the environment is certainly laudable. But, let’s not forget about how teleworking will aid in employee wellbeing and productivity. Along those lines, we did a blog post last year about technology being the true enabler for distributed organizations to be truly productive – no matter where employees, clients and partners are located.

With the Washington DC region often being ranked #1 for worst traffic, it is time for local companies to consider a new, more progressive way of doing business. We need to re-think the whole “clocking in” for work at a centralized office and focus on giving employees the flexibility they need to get things done.

Kudos to the Telework Exchange for all if its great efforts. We urge all businesses to embrace teleworking. It could only lead to happier and more productive employees, which will enhance the bottom-line.

Fort Meade Alliance Chooses NetLink to Participate in Business Mentor Program

We are excited to announce that Fort Meade Alliance’s Meade Business Connect (MBC) has selected NetLink Resource Group to be a part of its MBC Mentorship Program, which will help us expand business opportunities in the unique Fort Meade government-contracting environment.

The 12-session mentorship program with experienced executives will broaden our footprint in the defense contracting sector in the region. We will also present our capabilities to experienced contractors, as well as enjoy the benefit of networking opportunities and events, business forums and capability matching sessions.

Thirteen other companies were chosen to participate, which include: Alpha Omega Technologies, Inc., AttivaSoft, LLC, Bluemont Technology & Research, Inc., Columbia Technology Partners, Inc., Computer Essentials Quick, Inc., Delta Resources, Inc., Envision Innovative Solutions, Inc., ITIC Corporation, Jovian Concepts, Inc., Miller, Moll and Associates, PathSensors, Inc., System & Software Designers, Inc., and The Nasir Group, Inc.

It goes without saying that we are very excited about this opportunity. The Fort Meade Alliance is a catalyst for business opportunities in the region and this further expands NetLink as a key provider of IT solutions to the defense sector.

We would like to thank the Fort Meade Business Alliance for choosing us!

 

 

Posted by: Diann Turner, Director, Business Development, NetLink Resource Group

Intelligence Community Embracing New Solutions for Increased Efficiencies and Effectiveness

One of the core differentiators of NetLink Resource Group is that we only focus on developing solutions that support overall business goals and provide tangible return-on-investment for our clients.  In the business world, this makes complete sense.  Corporations often have less IT resources these days and therefore require solutions that enhance the bottom line.

For the Intelligence Community (IC) and the Department of Defense (DoD), a similar dynamic is playing out as we speak – with budgets being tightened and an ongoing need to provide the highest level of security for our nation.  Clearly this is no easy task and I have highlighted a number of stories that showcase steps that the IC and DoD are taking to ensure the most effective returns on their IT investments.

  • Army Sets Tone for Government’s Mobile Enterprise with Android: The Defense Department is now leading the way in the federal government’s campaign to deploy mobile devices. Although there are security challenges that come with using mobile applications, the DoD is making tremendous strides in ensuring that the warfighter is always up-to-date with key intelligence – while also ensuring cost savings.  Check out more from Defense Systems here.

 

  • For Government, Cost-Cutting is Mobile’s Real Killer App: Paul McCloskey, editor-in-chief of Government Computer News, offers this insightful commentary on how mobile apps will provide tremendous cost savings for the government.  He also highlights how the “trillion dollars” in potential budget cuts has created the push for the use of mobile by the DoD.

 

  • DoD to Build Enhanced Cloud Capabilities: This Defense Systems story showcases how virtually all defense organizations and intelligence agencies are turning toward cloud computing for everything from satellite imagery to telecom traffic to Web content. The core focus is building private cloud systems that can cost effectively store and efficiently distribute multiple petabytes of data to endpoints worldwide.

 

  • The Defense Information Systems Agency Announces Streamlined Plan for 2012: According to Federal Computer Week, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is taking on the Defense Department’s fragmented IT services by making enterprise services its number one priority for 2012.

As the reality of budget cuts come to life for the IC and DoD, we will surely be seeing more stories about the use of key technology innovations to keep costs down, while maintaining the highest level of security.   The government is clearly entering an era of “doing more with less.”

And, as we always say, all IT investments need to provide real business value.  It seems that this mindset clearly holds true for the government as well.

 

 

Posted by: Diann Turner, Director, Business Development, NetLink Resource Group

COTS Versus Custom Solutions: It’s Not a Black and White Decision

By Steve Short, President, NetLink Resource Group

We live in a world of convenience that caters to our immediate needs and whims.  As technologies have become ubiquitous forces in our lives, we have grown to expect quick results that lead to instant gratification.

In the business world, organizations searching for system solutions often look for instant gratification by preferring to use turn-key software because the initial costs of implementation are sometimes lower than creating a custom solution.  I am speaking specifically about the question of using Commercial-Off-The- Shelf (COTS) solutions versus the development of custom solutions.

The reality is that this choice is not black and white.  The decision to use COTS versus custom software should always come down to the business goals of the effort, as should all technology decisions that an organization needs to make.  This means that business requirements and overall costs/benefits must be considered to determine the best choice for the final IT solution and having a bias toward a specific option could cause you to make a bad decision that you will regret in the long run.

In the world of web-based applications, which are usually the preference for organizations looking for a new system solution, new COTS offerings are continuously becoming available in the marketplace.  This is to be expected, for just as IT needs moved from the mainframe to client-server and the desktop in the past, we can anticipate more turnkey offerings as the market for web apps matures.  This will especially be true for solutions that address common functions which are performed across many enterprises and therefore provide the economies of scale for web app providers to build a product that can be sold to a large market.  Some of these solutions are now being offered in “the cloud” and are the most efficient choice for a given need.

In many other cases—usually those in which the complexity of the need is greater—the decision is not so simple.  For example, when organizations have highly specific needs or their websites/applications have to interface with numerous other systems, a more customized solution is usually required.  And here is one of many areas where the question of COTS versus custom apps goes from black and white to grey: oftentimes custom solutions utilize some level of turnkey products to accomplish the ultimate goal.  So, it’s better to think in terms of the best solution rather than have a bias toward COTS or custom software.

So, which choice is better?  The answer is that it depends on the problem you are trying to solve and you will only come to the right conclusion if you invest the time to define your goals.  Regardless of what technology is ultimately used, the point is that many IT projects have a level of complexity that require an IT team that has the expertise to understand the business goals and formulate a solution that meets the need.  And if you are partnering with an outside provider, it’s important to determine if you need them to have the expertise to help you with this decision or whether your organization is capable of doing so.

Now, before I provide my thoughts on what to consider when determining a solutions provider for your specific project, I want to give you my overall perspective on the importance of IT solutions from a strategic business standpoint…

A firm will only gain true advantages in the marketplace if it embraces at some level the use of custom IT solutions that will allow it to differentiate itself from its competitors.

Think of it this way: If all competitors in your market used the exact same systems applications as your firm, do you believe that you would significantly outpace them with what your organization offers to your customers?  Perhaps your other assets, such as your people, product, distribution channels, etc. would provide a competitive advantage.  However, don’t you want your people — especially your management team and knowledge workers — to have unique tools with access to pertinent information that will allow them to make better decisions than your competitors?

My point is that the IT systems your organization uses can be an integral means for providing a competitive advantage and that viewing pure turnkey apps as your best solution can limit your ability to differentiate your offering to your market.  Stated differently, while saving money in the short run, you need to be careful that the use of COTS solutions may ultimately make your firm’s IT infrastructure converge towards being a non-differentiating commodity that will not greatly establish a competitive advantage in your marketplace.

Keeping this philosophy in mind, here are my suggestions for determining a solutions provider for your next IT project:

1. Define your goals / requirements– As Stephen Covey suggests in one of his “Seven Habits”, begin with the end in mind.  Make sure you invest the time to define your business goals and put them into a written document that represents the requirements of the effort.  Doing so will give you the discipline and means to evaluate the options presented by the service providers you consider and will prevent you from buying into the hype that a pure COTS / turnkey solution will meet all of your needs.

2. Be realistic about the level of complexity and associated costs—The more complex your needs, the more likely you are of requiring outside help and you may need the assistance of more than one solutions provider.  In addition, the greater the complexity, the greater the chance that custom solutions are required, even if some turnkey elements are used.  Both of these will likely translate to higher initial project costs than if a pure COTS solution is implemented.  Be realistic about these factors and make sure you can commit to making the right decisions about them.

3. Determine the expertise you need and choose a solutions provider that has it—If you have already made the decision to implement a pure COTS product, then you may just need a provider that has the best product and they don’t need to do anything more than give you access to the application.  But if you realize that some level of a custom solution is required, be sure that you pick a solutions provider with expertise in the area required.  Can they build a custom solution from scratch or do they just help implement turnkey products (often referred to as an “integrator”)?  The greater the sophistication of the effort the more you need to lean toward a custom solutions provider.

4. Don’t make a decision solely based upon the initial IT cost—Of course you need to consider the solutions provider’s proposal costs, but you also need to think about achieving the goals of the project, which may include enhancing revenues or operational cost savings.  So, the longer term net benefits to the business should be the ultimate consideration in determining the solutions provider(s) you choose, rather than the initial hard-dollar implementation costs.

There is also the element of risk that leads to costs that are sometimes difficult to quantify.  For example, going with the low-cost provider may seem good on paper, but if they don’t have the expertise to do the best work, the hard dollars you save may impact your bottom line in ways you didn’t consider—through internal resource usage, delayed deployment dates, and a poor final solution—and you are likely to feel that you have invested in a solution that fell short of your expectations, one for which you may need to live with for many years.

So, the bottom line is that the bottom line should be the driving factor in determining the best solution, as well as the best solutions providers.  Invest time upfront in considering all of the business drivers before you make your decisions and you are likely to have a favorable outcome.  In doing so, you’ll probably find that it’s not a simple black and white decision to determine if the solution should entail COTS versus custom apps and which provider(s) you use.  Instead, it’s likely that the decision will entail a grey area that requires the appropriate level of expertise that will determine if the end results put you in the red or the black.

Harvey Keitel’s “The Wolf” from Pulp Fiction: Sometimes We Also Serve As IT Clean-Up Guys

One of the most entertaining performances in Quentin Tarantino’s classic film “Pulp Fiction,” was Harvey Keitel’s portrayal of “The Wolf,” who served as a highly effective and professional “clean-up guy” after Vincent Vega (played by John Travolta) made a major tactical error with his gun.

While the world of IT is much different (and, luckily, safer) than the criminal underworld portrayed by Tarantino in this film, I sometimes find that we play a similar “clean up” role with major IT projects started by previous consultants that tried to implement a customized web solution, but made their own tactical errors and veered seriously off course.

The goal of this post is not to tout how much more effective we are than other web solutions providers.  There are many consulting firms that can deliver quality projects on time and on budget, and it would be disingenuous to suggest that all of our projects have been flawlessly implemented.  Instead, I would like to share my insights, based upon 20+ years of managing IT projects (mainframe, client-server, and web-based), on some of the main reasons why efforts tend to go awry.

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1) Poor definition of the project requirements — Both IT and business people seem to understand the need for properly defining requirements, yet it is often the main cause of why projects fall short of their purpose and go off-track.  I believe the project manager/lead consultant needs to have the skill set to start with high-level goals and engage the project sponsors/subject matter experts (SMEs) to dig into the details at a level necessary for the development team to provide solutions that meet the needs of the project.

It’s also important to document what comes out of this interaction so that both the sponsors and IT team have a common document everyone can understand and use throughout the project.  The project’s level of complexity should dictate the level of detail needed for the requirements/specifications to be an effective document to make the project a success.  And the document should be updated throughout the project so it represents the most current version of what the sponsors want and the IT team should deliver.

2) Lack of a descriptive, usable project plan — Like the requirements, the project plan should be written to the level of detail needed for the project sponsors and IT team to understand what needs to be done, when, and by whom.  It too should be a living, breathing document that is constantly evaluated and updated according to the latest requirements and information learned from the ongoing effort.

We have been asked to step in on projects that are off-course where the project plan was created at the onset of an effort and never revisited, as if its sole purpose was to provide the client with a document to reassure them that a plan would be followed, for the sake of getting the business.  The plan ended up sitting on a virtual shelf somewhere and the IT team went off in their own direction, without concrete deliverables or timelines that the client could track.

The purpose of the project plan is to use it as a tool for managing the effort.  It should set the expectations of the sponsors and the IT team for what remains to be accomplished to ensure the effort is on track.  If it’s not used this way, it’s a sure sign that the project is headed for problems.

3) Providing solutions to the client too late in the project — It’s fine to espouse the virtues of an iterative process on a project, but it’s another thing to have the discipline to actually adhere to it.  The basic tenets of our approach are “interact and iterate.”  The requirements and project plan require a significant amount of interaction, while the development effort needs to break up deliverables into reasonable pieces to allow for iterations of the solution to be evaluated by the client as early as possible.

The purpose of providing solutions in smaller portions, modules, “chunks”, etc. is to mitigate the risk that the IT team has missed the mark and ensure they are in sync with the needs of the client.  The only way this will be accomplished is through good initial planning and identifying which portions of the system will be delivered and when, based upon the project plan.
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Over the last seven years of managing client efforts at NetLink, we have sometimes been asked to step in and play the role of “The Wolf”, e.g. “IT clean-up guys”, for projects that have gone awry.  Fortunately, none of the efforts we’ve undertaken for our clients have required this form of outside intervention.

I would attribute this to the use of our project approach, the NetLink Adaptive Process™. But, more importantly, it’s the discipline to adhere to the execution of the process that determines the outcome of an IT project.  And following the process for your project is much more preferable than having to call in “The Wolf” to clean it up.

Posted by: Steve Short, President, NetLink Resource Group

It’s Business Time: Critical for IT to Support Overall Business Goals

By providing unique offerings to the markets they serve, companies and organizations can become truly competitive, and even reach unprecedented levels of success.  For example, Apple has created a pioneering product – and sparked major consumer demand — with the iPad.   Competitive tablet makers are frantically playing catch-up.  And, will they ever catch up?  Do you recall what happened with Microsoft’s Zune?

Whether your offering is business- or consumer-based, a product or service, differentiation is the key to gaining competitive advantage.  And, a major driver for this differentiation is information technology.  Moreover, when IT is completely aligned with an organization’s business goals, then the opportunities are limitless:

– Internal and external business processes are improved

– Companies operate in a more effective and efficient manner

– Better access to the right information for making key decisions

– More market opportunities are identified

– Competitive differentiation increases.

While the concept of IT and business goals being aligned seems simple, it is often a rather elusive thing for many IT people to grasp.  Why?  Because most technology folks are focused more on the implementation, or the technology itself, as opposed to focusing on how it will impact the business.  I have seen this throughout my career, a great deal of which has been spent in large corporate IT departments supporting internal clients, but also while providing software and consulting to outside clients.  A common mistake is that many IT people tend to stab blindly in the dark to determine solutions first without really listening to the client’s requirements and business needs.

Unfortunately, my experience indicates that most business and IT people do not understand the difference between requirements and solutions, which causes a problem from the onset of a project, when needs and goals are initially being discussed.  I have been involved in projects where the business sponsors come in with detailed screen mock-ups and expect the IT team to develop the application based upon them.  This is an immediate red flag for me, because I believe the IT team needs to start at a high level of understanding the project’s business goals and progressively dig into the details so they can use their many years of experience developing applications to interact with the client to formulate better solutions, in terms of functionality, usability, and architectural flexibility, than what was originally conceived.

The opposite end of the spectrum occurs when business people indicate that they have no understanding of technology.  We sometimes hear a sponsor say “I’m not technical and I can’t talk about IT details.”  That’s alright from my perspective because it’s my responsibility as the lead consultant to bridge the gap between the business and technical side of a project.  We start with understanding the basic goals and requirements, then allow our development team to provide solutions in an iterative manner to ensure we are on the right track.  When this happens, it’s amazing how often we get a response of “Wow, that’s great and really close to what we envisioned.”

So, if you are a business sponsor of an IT development effort, regardless of whether you are using internal or external resources, you need to be confident that your IT team first understands the business goals of your project.  Next, they should be clarifying your requirements before they are jumping to suggesting specific solutions.  And finally, there needs to be some discipline in the project approach, so that a project plan and requirements document are written, kept current, and used as a true tool for the entire team so those business goals can be met.  It’s easy to talk about approach, but there’s really no substitution for good execution.  If you’re not getting these things from your IT team, it’s likely that your effort will fall short of your expectations.

I simply believe that any IT effort that does not align with business goals will waste a client’s valuable time and resources.   And, when companies and organizations make such a significant investment in IT, the results have to move the needle when it comes to business growth.  Otherwise, why are we doing it?

Posted by: Steve Short, President, NetLink Resource Group

Successful IT Implementations: It’s All About The Details

The age-old expression “the devil is in the details” speaks to the sheer fact that if details are overlooked, bad things often happen.

In the business world, the details can be the deciding factor between success or failure.  You may recall that many banks during the peak of the housing boom fast-tracked mortgages and ignored many vital details during the lending process that hurt both the lenders and the prospective homeowners.

NetLink recently sponsored a BWI Business Partnership event where David Marriott, COO of Marriott International’s Americas Eastern Region, spoke and cited “attention to detail” as one of three reasons why his organization has been so successful over the last 70+ years.  It’s probably no coincidence that we have been fortunate to count Marriott among our clients for more than 10 years, because we embrace this same perspective.

When it comes to successful IT implementations, it’s not the devil that’s in the details, but that the details hold the key to bringing custom web applications to life that meet and exceed expectations.

We actually have a methodology for managing our client engagements called The NetLink Adaptive Process that mitigates many common risks of IT projects.   The core tenet of this process is focusing on every key detail throughout the implementation.  This, combined with taking an “iterative” approach whereby we follow a concise step-by-step process for projects, ensures that superior solutions are delivered to clients within schedule and budget commitments.

Conversely, as many clients have complex requirements and needs, turnkey web options – which we dare say are not often “detail focused” – may only partially address these needs.  Customized solutions typically are required to meet complex goals.  This is where the implementation details mean everything for ensuring that a complex web application aligns with the client’s business goals.

So, if it is true that the “devil is in the details,” then that is a devil that organizations should embrace wholeheartedly.  We have been using this same detail-oriented approach since 1996 to truly deliver the promise of web solutions.

Posted by: Steve Short, President, NetLink Resource Group