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Seven simple questions to make the tech guys sweat…

Alex Christie

15 May 2009

Evaluating and comparing new technology solutions can often be a daunting task, with everyone from suppliers to Internal IT having their own vested interest in a particular outcome, it is often hard for individuals from a Non-IT background to find the right solution.

Early in my career I undertook a Microsoft course on application architecture, and came across six simple points to consider when evaluation a new technology.  Since then I have also added a seventh item and it is these seven simple points I always review when evaluating a new technology.

1).  Performance

What levels of performance do you want from the application?  Ask the supplier to document what performance you can expect.  Performance measures should always be quantitative.  If you are looking at a website the measures might include web page load times, for a new internet connection it could be upload/download speeds.

2).  Accessability

How accessibile is the solution?  Can it be accessed or used on your companies Intranet and via the Internet?  Can it be accessed by both Macs and PC’s?

Will it work with mobile devices such as phones and pdas? And does in meet DDA requirments?

3).  Security

How secure is the solution?  What testing has been done to prove the applications security and what procedures are there for dealing with a security incident if one occurs.

4).  Scalability

How easily will the application scale?  If your organisation was to double in size over the next 12 months would the new solution be sufficient?  Could the solution be easily upgraded to handle the additional load or would you need to throw it away and get a new product?

5).  Maintainability

How easy is the solution to maintain?  Can you maintain the solution with your current resources and tools, or will you need to go back to the supplier for changes to be made?

6). Extensibility

How extensible is the application?  For example if you are getting a new website, be sure to ask how easy it will be to add features such as blogs and RSS at a later stage.  Solutions need to be flexible to grow with your organisations needs.

7). SEO

The final point to consider is SEO.  How SEO friendly is the solution and how knowlegeable are the people implementing it.  Remember if you have any doubts or questions about SEO don’t hesitate to call us and ask.  It is much easier to solve potential SEO headaches at the evaluation stage rather than after the system has gone live!

So the next time a supplier proposes a new system or technology to you, be sure to ask them to explain how their solution covers these seven simple points.

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