Why it’s important
Once you understand the total cost of a technology, you’re able to weigh the desire for new IT against the business value of the investment. You’re also able to make cost-effective and data informed decisions about adapting your technology as business or user needs change.
What to consider
- How do we decide to buy versus build?
- Have you explored whether existing tools at the university meet your needs?
- Have you sought feedback on your needs that necessitates purchasing a new tool? Do you have the appropriate endorsements to make the purchase?
- How is the division taking responsibility for leading the project and owning the results, rather than trying to outsource risk to a vendor?
- Does the tool or product meet the university’s standards for security, accessibility, data privacy, etc.?
- What barriers might there be to adopting this tool? For example, are there stakeholders who may choose not to adopt this new approach? If so, what plan is in place to ensure successful adoption and to avoid putting the project at risk?
- How does the vendor/partner continue to evolve their product? For example, have they adopted continuous improvement practices?
Put this principle into practice
In the early stages:
- Procure services, not software.
- Decide if your tool/technology will be vendor- or University-supported, and the extent of the support. Learn which campus services are already available to you.
- As you progress, set clear expectations with the vendor about human outcomes and technical standards related to data security, use, interoperability, monitoring, and evaluation. Own the risk of failure.
- As the development of the service evolves, merge software development and system operations to automate the work that goes into testing software and moving it to a live server where people can use it.
Dig deeper into this principle
Contact DoIT’s Chief Technology Officer and DoIT Financial Services for help selecting new tools for DoIT and UW–Madison Division of Business Services for campus tools. Contact the Center for User Experience or the UW-Madison Project Management Office for help gathering and/or analyzing business and user needs.
Please send feedback to the DoIT Interoperability Team. We welcome your input!