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ICT

ICT challenges evolve one on one with the growth of your business. Although it might be tempting to reconsider ICT support at each growth stage, you should consider cost savings when implementing an ICT growth strategy from the beginning!

ICT

We are running an IT project with an external supplier, however we do lack the proper project management skills in house to manage the external supplier’s service level. How do I best approach this?

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In case you do have an internal project manager who needs the appropriate coaching, a project guidance role could come in handy. In case you don’t have any internal project management resource available, a more hands-on approach can be followed whereby your team is complemented with an experienced project manager able to manage your stakeholder expectations.

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ICT

As a growth company I have internal IT resources, however their skill set is focused around infrastructure support, whereby I’m not confident that other ICT domains (applications,security,...) are covered well. How can I manage to deal with this?

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Know that nowadays IT management service offerings (CIO-As-A-Service) exist whereby your team is complemented with the appropriate skills (team) in line with your needs and budget constraints.

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ICT

How can I make sure that my ICT is managed well and potential risks are properly mitigated even though our company size does not allow for a full-time dedicated ICT resource?

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Know that nowadays IT management service offerings (CIO-As-A-Service) exist whereby your team is complemented with the appropriate skills (team) in line with your needs and budget constraints.

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ICT

We are in need for a consistent approach & tooling to assess the maturity of the company from an IT perspective. How do we approach this?

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From a People / Process / Technology point of view, multiple maturity models can be applied (Cobit, CMMi, ... ). When looking at the functional maturity of your product, a roadmap review or industry benchmarking can be executed together with a SWOT analysis and / or function point analysis. At the technical maturity of your product an application audit can be performed.

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ICT

We have developed our own business application together with a small, local IT boutique. Is there any risk in doing so?

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Be aware that custom developed code might be a risk in itself in case your local IT boutique would cease to exist. Mitigate risk by assuring the future of your business critical software applications. As a software user, you trust your supplier to provide support and maintenance for your applications. However, this dependence can represent a significant risk, particularly where business-critical applications are concerned. A trusted escrow agency can help you to eliminate these risks. Make sure to select an escrow agency who does perform the necessary validations / checks. The source code for your licensed software, the expertise to implement it and the rights to your software belong to your software supplier or developer. This creates a potentially disastrous situation if the software fails and your software supplier is unable to carry on supporting and maintaining the product due to a merger, acquisition, legal dispute or insolvency.

An escrow agreement is a simple contract between a software supplier, end user and independent third party escrow company designed to mitigate this risk and protect all parties involved.

With escrow you can be sure that you can access the source code of your key software applications should you ever need to do so. This means that you will be able to use that source code to continue to maintain the software either in-house or by engaging with another supplier, whether that be for further bespoke software development or to fix any issues.

Setting up an escrow agreement is easy and done in three simple steps:

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ICT

We would like to assess the technical maturity of our software applications. Where do we start?

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Several niche tools are available to assess best practices applied in coding, depending on the technology used. However some application quality tooling exists covering multiple technology platforms. Most of them focus only at the code level, and not on the database, nor application level.

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ICT

What is the added value of Quality Assurance for investors, if at all?

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Quality assurance is important throughout the entire investment lifecycle. During the dealflow (investment) phase focus lies on value assessment and risk mitigation, whereby during the growth / scaling phase focus should be on continuous improvement / control and value augmentation. During divestment (exit) quality assurance is of importance to support the value assessment (vendor due diligence).

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ICT

Which quality assurance process should I follow in parallel to the growth of my company?

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A typical quality assurance process follows a 4 step process, whereby continuous improvement is key. An average exercise requires between 5 and 10 man days of work. This cycle is repeated typically 2 à 3 times a year, however most companies limit it to 1 time a year due to time / budget constraints.

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ICT

How should I open a discussion on Quality Assurance with my developers?

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Most developers have limited ideas on the quality of their code. Quality is typically related to the number of defects, however application quality is much broader and needs to be looked at from different angles: transferability, changeability, robustness, performance and security.

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ICT

How should I open a discussion on Quality Assurance with my management?

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Make sure to use an application auditing platform providing meaningful dashboards to management. Dashboards which are easy to interpret for IT illiterate resources. When doing so you have a sound basis for enabling discussions on the value of IT assurance, which are typically neglected as focus is on creating a product and gaining marketshare.

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ICT

Why should I link payment milestones to software quality improvements?

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It provides the investor / manager with a basis to manage the investment based on facts and figures and a means to agree upon improvement actions and potentially linking those to payment milestones.

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ICT

How can conducting an application audit mitigate our risk?

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You should typically run the application audit on a dedicated machine forcing the development team to handover all required source code items (dll’s, certificates, …). Even though the purpose of running an application audit is to gain insight into the quality of the application, it turns out that in most cases compilation is an issue in terms of missing components, hardcoding etc. Which is in itself is a bigger risk when teams / ownership changes.

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ICT

We are running a number of projects, but we’re lacking an overview of the different projects, nor do we have insight into the actual status of each of the projects

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Numerous project management solutions (packages) are available on the market, both on premise as cloud-based solutions. Pricing may vary. Let an EPM expert guide you in your selection by carefully weighing your needs and expectations.

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