Nokia, Kodak, Beverly Hills Video and Polaroid are all examples of well-known companies that failed to succeed in the business world as they fell short in keeping up with modern technology advances. Not only did they move too slowly in terms of innovation, but they also turned a blind eye to several factors which lead to either bankruptcy or a significant drop in sales, such as:
• Globalization of the market,
• Under-developed IT departments,
• Lack of trust in new technologies,
• No use of the Internet in business operations,
• Pressure from other, bigger and more competitive companies (such as Microsoft, which bought out Nokia)
• lack of investment in interesting IT projects.
By analyzing the mistakes of their predecessors, contemporary entrepreneurs can prevent such situations from happening in the future. Keeping up to date with the latest technologies and using modern tools creatively, coupled with training staff well can be the key to success. The first step that every manager should take is to create an IT department or use a team leasing service (this is a good option for companies that in essence don’t depend on technology, such as small florists, local shops). The department should be divided into two areas:
• Innovative creation – implementation of projects for clients,
• Administration – Maintaining servers, networks and data in the company in a secure manner
We should relieve employees – who have other responsibilities – from IT-related work. Systems operating in a company should be helpful as well as time-saving and energy-efficient. Nowadays, it is no challenge to find skilled and experienced workers in the IT industry. Actually, future employees can even be students from technical colleges. Not only are they up to date with the newest interesting IT projects, but they also learn quickly and are highly creative.
The IT market is dynamically changing. This can be seen, for example, in electronic devices – if you buy a tablet or a computer today, in two months it can be considered to be old or ‘outdated’. That’s why the IT department – the heart of every business – should be full of young and active people.
Here are some reasons why every business should have an IT department:
• We don’t fall out of the information loop – IT staff is also keeping up with the latest trends in the technology industry, so we have a professional analysis of the market and potential competition,
• Competence – it’s not always the case that the company accountant – who for the past 20 years has been working in his/her profession – will suddenly pick up on things quickly and smoothly with regards to complex IT systems. The IT department should take care of both the user interface and the training of all employees, and provide ongoing support.
• Security and Service – External companies that will administer our servers are a good solution, but isn’t a full-time employee more familiar with the company?
Creating an interesting IT project is no piece of cake. It requires a lot of creative innovation, it is positively perceived by the industry and highly profitable. The essence of IT projects is to connect the following elements:
• human resources,
In practice, this means transferring ideas and information into computer language. Actually, a company that bases its projects on the latest technology turns out to be efficient, effective and in high demand in today’s market. In most aspects of our daily lives we rely on electronic devices and nearly all data is saved and stored digitally. Therefore, we can implement interesting IT projects in any branch. There are many ways to manage such processes. Each one comes down to one fundamental purpose – to effectively accomplish a certain task. Economists and IT specialists distinguish 4 main methods of managing interesting IT projects:
1. TENSTEP – is a method based on Project Management Body of Knowledge practices, which is a collection of the most effective project management methods, and this is where human resources comes into play. It’s based on (as indicated by the title) the implementation of ten steps. The numbering of the steps indicates their priority. The more detailed and advanced our project is, the more steps we have to take. The advantages of this method of project implementation is clarity in the division of responsibilities and quick decision-making in crisis situations.
2. PMBOK GUIDE – is a system that distinguishes five groups of project developers and nine knowledge areas. The PmBok Guide method puts great emphasis on the good and in turn, effective relationships between people. It’s especially advantageous for group work as it positively affects staff collaboration.
3. SACRUM – this method is most popular among programmers and computer graphic designers. The authors of the Sacrum system – Japanese scientists Ikujiro Nonaka and Jirotaka Takeuchi – place great emphasis on good relations with customers. The method is highly effective for individual and demanding projects.
4. PRINCE and PRINCE2 – the most commonly used management method for interesting IT projects. Currently, Prince is rarely used in favour of the newer version of Prince2. Prince’s big advantage is efficiency and effectiveness in small businesses as well as multinational corporations.
In this section, we will discuss the most popular topics on interesting IT projects by separating them into areas of use and industries. For the latter, we will only describe the most common business areas. As we mentioned previously, IT is applicable in almost every field of life.
IT projects – where they apply:
• software creation – here you have complete freedom in creation. Software can be data management systems, employee or customer portals, but it can also be mobile applications available to the “ordinary” Internet user. Creativity and innovation of the team is highly important in projects that involve the creation of special software. It is important that the end result should be a product that is not only useful and highly functional, but also relatively easy to use (with an attractive interface).
• software implementation – often a company does not deal with software development itself but rather its implementation in the workplace. Contrary to appearances, it can often be a much more difficult task than the creation of a system. The implementation of software requires a great deal of knowledge of both the specificity of the business and the attitude of the employees. Right from the very beginning it boils down to analyzing the situation of the company. The final stage is the monitoring the results.
• implementation of IT equipment / infrastructure – this is a project that is often implemented in the event of relocation of a company or in the opening of a new branch. Every room needs to create the right environment where people can work, such as connecting, configuring and setting up computers, implementing and maintaining the server and other electronic devices.
It’s important to keep in mind that each of these three uses can occur separately, but also together as a larger IT project.
IT projects are used by a variety of industries. A good example is the transport industry. They enable people to make plane or bus ticket bookings, etc. Even public transport in large cities operates on the basis of complex information systems. IT serves both customers who use transport services and those who use modern technology in almost every activity. This way, we avoid standing in queues and everything is done much faster and more efficiently.
Another example of the use of IT projects is the courier industry. As in the transport industry, couriers largely rely on the latest technologies. Without the Internet and a computer, phone or tablet, we would not be able to track shipments from the point of delivery. With IT, the work itself is much less time consuming.
One of the first industries that had massively implemented IT projects for their business activities is banking and accounting. The ability to perform complex mathematical calculations has helped many banks and corporations open branches all over the world.
Another sector that uses IT projects is insurance. When starting school, changing jobs, or buying a car, all of us must go through the process of choosing insurance. With IT, this operation is easier, faster and practically trouble-free.
The pros and cons of IT projects
Like every piece of work, IT projects have their advantages and disadvantages. They can be used in any industry, but not always the specific characteristics of the company and its technological advances allow for efficient implementation of an interesting IT project.
• Interest – a common reason for companies to carry out interesting IT projects is the desire to attract potential customers and the entire industry and make themselves seen. Modern and innovative plans can often be seen in competitions, they gain recognition from the scientific community and simply improve the living conditions of people around the world. Every business – even a company that has been running for years – that deviates from the idea of IT development, should pay attention to what technology offers. This usually means doing the job better, faster and engaging less human resources.
• Speed – imagine what modern banking would look like if computers were not used so much. The sector would probably involve a large number of employees from all areas of the economy. The implementation of interesting IT projects enables each company to execute each task faster and more efficiently. Active use of technology makes it easy to communicate between employees around the world, as well as work from home on the laptop or smartphone.
• Human resources – whatever the nature and core of the company’s business, human resources are its greatest asset. If employees are satisfied with their position, they are enthusiastic about the company and we can be confident that their duties will be more effective. On the one hand, IT is a highly developed field and gives staff a great deal of opportunity to grow. On the other hand, this limits to some extent their quantitative involvement in the project. When a computer can do all the complex calculations, the number of employees involved in the process can be reduced by as much as half. This is associated with much lower costs incurred on the part of the employer.
• Large profits – Many of the companies that have gained international success in the 21st century and have accumulated huge wealth, operate in the IT industry. It can be boldly said that IT is a real money magnet. Of course, amidst scrambles of information, hoards of applications, websites and online portals, a company can only obtain high popularity and large projects if it creates an interesting IT project. If an entrepreneur succeeds in doing so, then the business doors are open not only locally but also to many countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia and even Africa.
• Lack of qualified staff – it often happens that managers planning to revitalize the working environment choose to implement new IT projects. However, they do not take into account how many employees will be able to handle modern technologies “right away”. In case of a start-up consisting of young and active employees, there will be no major problems, and even such plans can arouse their interest. When planning an innovative project, for example, in a bakery in a small town for years, we must take into account the age of all employees and their familiarity with electronic equipment.
• Incompatibility with the company – a typical corporate management mistake is to mismatch the IT project with the specificity of the company. It is important to carefully analyze the situation of the company, the needs of its employees and customers, and the positive aspects (eg selling vinyl records to music lovers at the annual music trade show), which should not always be changed.
• Financial loss if the project fails – for each investment the entrepreneur must be prepared for any project failure or crisis situation. The organization can be compared to a living organism that responds to positive stimuli (eg innovation, corporate profits, positive environment for starting a new business) and negative tensions (eg financial crunch, raw material shortages, war, bankruptcy, tax fraud).
Many companies not only want to sell their products but also desire to create their own brand. Without a doubt the popularity of the company always influences and stimulates the demand for its products. It is therefore worthwhile, in addition to simply addressing the customer’s interest through advertising, to see whether the specificity of the company is conducive to engaging in interesting IT projects.
Not without reason Forbes magazine every year creates a ranking of the most innovative companies in the world. This is a determinant positively perceived by the industry. Innovative companies are valued by customers, partners and competitors. It is worth noting that almost all popular branding areas are associated with modern technology. Here are some examples:
• Medicine – companies that, in addition to their activities, support the development of medicine have an exceptional reputation. The development of this field would practically not take place without the use of the latest technology. Nowadays, computers can examine people and diagnose illness. 3D printers are used to create prosthetics, and soon surgeons will stop entering operating rooms – doctors will be forced to hand over the scalpel to precision equipment, and they will be able to supervise the procedure from home.
• Ecology – With the use of IT technology, we can easily protect the natural environment including many species of animals and plants. Supporting such activities attracts many investors and customers.
• Social campaigns – Research shows that social campaigns conducted on the Internet using social media are much more effective than traditional media such as newspapers, radio and television.
• Social assistance – the realization of innovative IT projects brings positive results in two areas: the company undoubtedly helps people in need (eg organizing a project that activates the unemployed), but also benefits itself by becoming recognized in the industry and wins the hearts of its customers.