Thinking like battle-tested CIOs – Technology management for non-tech executives

Requirements before Solutions

Every new system put in place is in response to a business need.

Knowing the ins and outs of that need is essential to the system’s success. Organizations must thoughtfully identify the requirements of the need before making any decisions.

It can be risky, and ultimately costly, to move forward with a project without a full understanding of the true requirements.

Who is determining what your company needs?

Often, appointed decision makers turn to “influencers” within their professional community to get informed and assist with critical decisions. These influencers are usually trusted colleagues. They might be a friend, an employee, a professional relationship, a software vendor or other trusted partner, etc. These so-called “influencers” may be trusted…but, are they fully qualified to disseminate advice? Are you getting balanced and qualified insight when turning to these sources? Most of us would agree that the quality of our decisions is directly correlated to the quality of the information we use to make those decisions. While vendors can be trusted partners, they may not be properly motivated to find out what an organization really needs, especially if the need isn’t what the vendor sells – their answer has a high probability of being biased and self-serving.

TBConsulting CEO Dieter Gable addresses what to look for in a good Managed Service Provider and asks, “are they trying to sell you what they can deliver? Or are they understanding what you need?”

See the interview with Gable here: TBConsulting Interview

Often vendors and other service providers are only looking at a small piece of the puzzle, says Paul Theisen, principal and founder of TAG CXO.

“Clients’ requirements must never be reduced to the level of the vendor’s capabilities,” he says.

It’s easy to follow this path of error, Theisen says, “because planning can sometimes be an arduous process, especially when the decision support resources are not well established.”

Decision makers need a seasoned expert in their corner. Someone who is qualified and objective, knows what questions to ask, and what answers to listen for. That expert will develop a planning cycle that identifies a full set of useful requirements that has been optimized specifically for the organization’s needs.

An experienced CIO will figure out an organization’s non-negotiable needs and their “nice-to-have” needs.

CIOs with TAG CXO are equipped with disciplined processes for defining the needs and requirements of their clients. They have the right qualifications and impartial motives.

“Give us your needs, help us prioritize, we’ll define your requirements, then go find solution providers that will lead to good outcomes,” Theisen says.

Many factors are at work when we make decisions. Learn more about the psychology of decision making here: TAG CXO blog

About TAG CXO:

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, TAG CXO is a privately held company, providing Interim and Fractional IT leadership executives, founded in 2019. The company maintains a bench of industry-trained, enterprise-level executives, available on demand to mid-market CEOs. TAG CXO executives help to round out a firm’s leadership team and close the IT talent gap with fully qualified expertise, offering a more affordable, lower-risk option than hiring full-time staff. Learn more at: