In particular, in the IT business, many promises are made about the scope and functionalities of software applications.
However, it is often not always possible to comply with these things. Sometimes the respective modules are not easy to program and would need many times longer and would therefore cost much more. This is often seen by customers as dishonest and associated with little integrity. But: it is customary in software and web development to be “off the mark” when estimating the effort.
What Does Integrity Mean?
Integrity in a simplified description means “doing the right thing even when no one is looking.” The remarkable thing is, no one wants to act with little integrity. Almost all of us want to go through life as honestly as possible. There is only a tiny part that wants something terrible for the other, in this case, the customer. Yet all too often, promises are made that are not kept. This also has to do with the business model.
What The Business Model Has To Do With The Integrity
However, most tiny agencies tend to take on any project. However, the requirements are much higher in some cases. In one case, the customer wants a website like Amazon. The provider then says, “we can do it.” Only later does it turn out that this requires at least a custom design based on Photoshop, hand-coded HTML/CSS, and a lot of backend development with PHP or Java. The problem here: The entrepreneur has not thought through his business model.
How The Business Model Needs To Be Adapted
In this particular case, the IT entrepreneur would have to specify that they will only accept customers who have the following characteristics:
- Individuals who need a small internet presence
- Freelancers and consultants who need a company presence
- Small businesses that want to be present online
At the same time, the entrepreneur would always have to do a pre-qualification. For example, they could ask or make statements:
- Need a website you can maintain yourself?
- We only offer WordPress templates. Will this meet your needs?
- The site will have 5 sub-pages, which are based on the design of the main page.
- We offer maintenance for the website for the first 2 weeks. After that, we take the usual hourly rate. With a minimum booking of 5 hours.
- There will be no custom design. However, it will present your brand positively, and you will have an online presence that will also help you find the main keywords (e.g., the name of the entrepreneur).
- The texts and images must be delivered before the start of the project.
The project should only be accepted if the customer agrees to these points or can be convinced of these points. And this is where the connection between the business model and integrity arises. Someone aware of the context will remain steadfast and insist on the points or show the customer the advantages.
Integrity is also created by showing what is included in this service and what is not. That sounds easier than it is. In some cases, buyers in the IT sector know what is feasible and what is not. If you, as an IT service provider, show things “transparently,” then this can, in turn, be interpreted as ignorance or incompetence.
How To Proceed With Larger IT Projects?
For smaller website projects, the requirements are usually known in detail. The difference between an individual design with Photoshop and HTML/CSS coding and a WordPress template can also be shown. In the case of larger IT projects, this is no longer so easy.
Because their many things are not clear:
- Functionalities: At the start of the project, not even the customer knows exactly what they want. Yes, there is usually an “exact” idea and plan. As soon as the implementation begins and the first screens are created, it quickly becomes apparent that “Ok, but that has to be there, that’s critical. And this module is also important” and and and.
- Period: This also makes it impossible to determine the period of implementation. Because the functionalities will be added over time.
- Budget: The budget cannot be determined precisely if the functionalities change and the period becomes longer.
In IT, many job titles such as IT project manager, business analyst, scrum master, IT manager, IT consultant, and many more somehow deal with this topic of “estimate effort.” Some have developed complex theories and models to keep these estimates as accurate as possible.
At SAP, the division is relatively straightforward. SAP writes software for the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) area. IT consulting firms specialize in specific modules such as SAP CRM.
SAP CRM is the customer management tool that the software house sells. Specialized consulting firms (SAP partners) then implement this software in medium-sized and large companies.
The SAP partners usually specialize in a few SAP modules but build them in again and again at different companies.
Over time, the service partner will be more and more accurate in the assessment. Or can show the customer company a possible time frame and also the opportunities and possible risks and possible solutions. Integrity is already in the business model here.