When your company is engaged in the process of building a public Web site, creating an Intranet or Extranet, developing a multimedia project, executing a bulk e-mail strategy or creating a Search Engine Strategy, there are many elements you will need to pay attention to. While all of them are critical to the success of the project, there is one that is the most important. In this article, we'll look at several of those elements, and see if we can determine which of them is the most important.
Obviously, any visual representation of your company, brand and identity will need to adhere to the strictest standards of design integrity and consistency. Making sure that every part of the design meets your visual identity guidelines is of critical importance. If you're outsourcing this part of your project, you'll need to make sure you work with a company that has experience both developing new brands as well as reinforcing existing ones. That way you can trust them to convey your message and identity true to your original vision.
Because a project like this also involves technology, you'll need to make sure that it works correctly and navigates intuitively. The essence of Web and Interactive Multimedia is self-service, so you need to make sure that the end user is guaranteed a fool-proof, quality experience. That means an intelligently designed functional architecture and programming that has been tested and works properly If you're outsourcing this part of your project, you'll need to make sure you work with a company that has experience designing, building and testing technologically sound and successful interactive and programming projects. That way you can trust them to deliver a project that won't embarrass you by not working properly when used.
However, even before the actual design and technology begins to be executed, an underlying strategy needs to be developed. More than just a blueprint, it's the guiding reason and purpose for the project. It's not just about building a Web site because everyone should have one, or creating a CD-ROM only because it would be "cool." It's about building a better business relationship with the project, so your strategy must take into account specifically what you are trying to accomplish, who you want to accomplish it with, and how you'll judge the project's success. If you're outsourcing this part of your project, you'll need to make sure you work with a company that has helped many companies develop and execute successful and intelligent strategies... not just projects (which are really more tactical than strategic). That way you can trust them to not just sell you a project but recommend solutions that are the best ones for you.
In today's economy, it's becoming increasingly important to make sure that a project actually can return real relative value. That means having an understanding real business metrics. Unfortunately, Web and interactive technology is so new, that those metrics are still being discovered and developed. So most developers who are just about design or technology oftentimes can't even grasp the concept of value, much less articulate, estimate, predict or guarantee it. You'll need to make sure that the company you work with not only has degreed business consultants on their staff, but that those consultants have a body of experience analyzing and creating value for businesses who have already done similar projects. That way, you can trust them to make sure that your project is not just about HTML, ASP and SQL, but also about ROI and P&L.
So that also means that a critical part of project is the price tag. A recent study showed that, for the most part, decision makers have no idea what projects like these are supposed to cost. They'll read articles in business, industry and technical publications that present outrageously high price tags. Then they'll talk to friends and associates who will anecdotally cite outrageously low price tags. Finally, they'll solicit bids, find price tags both outrageously low AND high, and typically settle on a middle price for no other reason than that it seems like the safe thing to do. And they'll do so without understanding why the high prices are high (exclusive re-seller agreements for certain expensive brands of hardware and software or a misguided notion that we're still in the "new economy") and the low prices are low (substandard staff, a lack of real understanding of your project, bait and switch, or even fire sale prices due to financial troubles of their own).
It's important to know that there is never just one way to solve your problem, and because solutions vary, so do prices. That's why it's a good idea to avoid companies that only offer one solution and choose one that can offer several. That way you can trust them to present a couple possible solutions, and then, based on your needs and your budget, they can recommend, articulate and help you understand the best choice.
Successful projects contain many elements...design, technology, strategy, value, price and many more. Which one is the most important? Individually, none of them. The most important element is the one ingredient that ties them all together.
It's trust. The trust that a you can put in a partner that you know has your best interests in mind. The trust that they earn by providing you with a quality product, produced by a team of dedicated professionals, at a price that will make sense for your company. The trust that comes from working with a company founded on values like integrity, quality and service.
The trust that Trivera has been building with their customers since day one. And it's the trust that we work hard every day to earn. With our customers, our partners, our vendors. And most importantly, with you.
By Tom Snyder