I was recently reminded of this old adage while racing through A New York area airport. I had allowed a meeting to run a little long, which ate into my traveling “margin for error,” which had then caused me to get caught in rush hour traffic. One small event led to a much bigger one and now, bag in hand, I was rushing toward security. And then I hit a double whammy: The security line on a Friday night looked like a pre-release event for a new i-Phone, and my boarding pass didn’t include the magic words “TSA Pre check.” Spending the night at the airport now seemed a real possibility.

The temptation? Jump in line and hope for the best. The smart play? Go back to the ticket counter and get them to issue a new boarding pass that could server as my “Get Out of Jail Free Card.” Slow down even more, on the chance it would speed me up on the overall process.

At the counter the agent blamed the issue on a software bug, nice irony there, and dutifully printed the new pass. With no one in the pre-check line, I sailed through security and into a blissful repose at the back of a regional jet winging my way toward home. Victory was mine.

Which got me to thinking about some of the work we, at Novarica, do with carriers. Increasingly we see companies across all lines of business recognize that their existing core systems don’t have the ability to properly position them to deal with imminent competitive threats. Implementing new products takes too long and is too expensive. Supporting new channels presses existing technology past the breaking point and support for a 24×7 world creates an architectural model that only Rube Goldberg could love. With time-to-market pressure high, and business leaders trained by Apple and Google to be dazzled by new features, the idea of slowing down to speed up may seem inane. On the other hand, pursuing the current course may ultimately be the world’s biggest game of “push the wet noodle,”entertaining but hardly productive.

Which leads to the search for alternatives. A quick scan of many carrier IT organizations finds that they don’t have the institutional memory to know how to do an effective vendor selection. In many cases the process, unaided, can start to look like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. About the time it is done, you need to start over. Fundamental things have changed, and what was once a good answer or approach may no longer be. Slowing down this much doesn’t speed anything up! It just leads to indecision.

A better alternative? Using a structured and repeatable process, which enables a carrier to leverage industry expertise so that it can focus internal SMEs on things that create real competitive advantage. This can be where a process like Novarica’s can make a significant difference. A typical vendor selection can be done in 10 to 12 weeks, a pretty far cry from what many carriers experience when they “roll their own.” Armed with better process and tools can lead to a much faster end to end process.

The irony, of course, is that I was late to the airport because we were wrapping up a carrier/vendor selection effort and enjoying a protracted discussion around how we’d met a self-imposed goal to select a new core system in ten weeks.

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