By: Ryan Rundell
When it comes to managing a line of business (LOB) Software, there are multiple schools of thought. As I have learned through the years, not all schools of thought are created equal. Many times, I hear “well we have been doing it this way for ten years” or “I have ten years of experience.” The reality is there are people out there who have been doing it wrong for ten years and to be effective you only need someone who knows how to do it right going forward.
The Four Pillars to effectively managing your LOB Software is a concept coined by Chris Britt. Chris has spoken to clients and employees on the importance of grasping and implementing the ideology of The Four Pillars.
To start you need four key pillars to have an effectively managed LOB Software.
- Network Environment Support (MSP, vCIO)
- Vendor support of the LOB Software (Workflow, Tracking, Document Management, E-Commerce…)
- Executive Leadership (CEO, President, Owner)
- Internal Subject Matter Expert
These are not really in any order, and I intentionally used bullet points because they are all equally important. When one of the four pillars are neglected or is lacking the weight is then shifted to the other pillars essentially causing pain points for all four.
Network Environment Support
As a Managed Network Service provider in Houston, TX, we live in the Network Environment Support arena. Our life is patches, anti-virus, remote monitoring, IT help desk, wireless access point and the down of dirty of the network. We know how to help size servers and backups based on the information provided on your LOB. It is critical we have a great working relationship with all three other pillars to develop and manage our approach to the Network Environment Support.
Vendor Support of the LOB Software
This is the software you use to run your business, and for many small companies out there it can be a massive misconception that Network Environment Support is also the expert on all variations of LOB software. The varieties of LOB software are exponentially impossible to keep up with and is why all good LOB Software providers have experts on staff to assist with the software. They have experts that are critical in providing the feedback and support on that specific line of business. We manage a multitude of clients whom all use different LOB softwares, and some have multiple.
Internal Subject Matter Expert
“Why if we have both a Network service provider and great vendor support do we need another internal subject matter expert?” This is the school of thought is rooted in saving money on the bottom line. Many small business owners are not able to have an ideal situation, and they may even double as the SME and Executive Leadership. In a perfect world, every small business will have someone on staff who is the subject matter expert. With all the types of line of business software out there, each company will tailor how they use the software to their business needs. Over the years they will become accustomed to how they will utilize their LOB software. Neither the network environment support or the Vendor support ultimately know how the end user will entirely make use of the software.
I hesitate to say if there was a pillar that can carry a little more weight than the rest it might just be the executive leadership. The reason being is because when the right choices are made at this level the rest of the system can work well together. When the four pillars are built, the foundation is formed at the feet of the Executive Leadership. Here is where the choices are made to bring on a trusted managed service provider, hiring a competent subject matter expert who can lead the LOB Software. If the executive leadership makes poor choices, the weight is shifted on to the other three pillars and potentially two if one of the poor decisions is not having a subject matter expert on staff.
The reality is anytime the weight is shifted the load becomes unbalanced, and there are going to be issues. There will be frustrations from all sides because there are gaps in how the LOB software is managed. When all four pillars are in place and working in unison, we see a much better user experience. Suddenly everyone can meet expectations, and the frustrations tend to fade. Getting all four pillars working together as one well-oiled machine is the key to effectively managing your LOB software.
Ryan recently moved up from a VCIO to the Director of Business Development with Truewater in Houston, TX. Before landing in Houston, TX Ryan worked directly for or was contracted with some of the largest companies around the globe over the last seven years. Traveling domestically as a Technical Representative for the first few years, he then moved close to seventy-five percent of his time globally consulting and managing on projects upwards of $120 million. His projects ranged from working in the remote North Eastern regions of India, Far North Oil Sands Regions of Canada, Extreme altitudes of Peru, and many stops in between. Ryan’s education is very diverse with an extensive technical background. He also attended the University of Wisconsin Platteville Majoring in Criminal Justice and Minor in Business with focuses on crime on the internet and the dark web. Ryan additionally has multiple certificates including studies at Harvard X Computer sciences for business professionals covering Computational Thinking, Programming Languages, Internet Technologies, Web Development, Technology Stacks and Cloud Computing.