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January 19, 2010

The values of a good internal resource – Priceless

Filed under: Website Development — Mike Jaltuch @ 11:16 am

One of the interesting aspects of the web development field is the wide variety of people and companies a developer gets to work with. Over the past dozen or so years, I have worked with everyone from individuals starting up a new venture, small (but established) businesses, to large companies (some of the fortune 500 status). Since our website development projects have spanned a wide variety of industries, the trends I have detected are more on a general business nature vs industry specific. The most important trend to learn and share with new customers is the recipe for website success.

While there is no one size fits all with respect to a website’s success, there is one trend I have noticed over the years that all of my most successful clients have in common. Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with the web development company or anything they do. It has to do with who they have, or better yet, who they don’t have internal to their organization.

A vendor, such as a web developer, is an expert in their industry of web development. They are not an expert in selling, fixing or servicing widgets, the xyz trade association or whatever the current client’s business happens to be. Even if the web development vendor has extensive experience in your industry, they most likely are not an expert in your specific organization. This is why it’s imperative to have a person tasked with the responsibility of the website within your organization. This person should be responsible for gathering and organization all relevant information from the various departments of your organization and then passing it to the developer. They don’t need to be technical but do need to understand the technicality of how your business works, especially if your website will be executing specific business tasks. The developer then has a single contact to work with to confirm all business logic and get other necessary information.

Even though one person might not know the inner workings of each department, having a dedicated internal resource in a valuable asset. With this structure in place, there is an internal person putting pressure on the various departments to provide the necessary information. Time and time again, when working on a large project and the client has not tasks someone with this responsibility, the project often lacks both ownership and the spark internal to the organization necessary for its success.

For any large web development project to succeed in the long run means it must become a living and breathing tool within the company. This requires constant maintenance and unless someone has been tasks with this as a major part of their job it seems to get overlooked more often than not.