technology capability review

At different times in an organization’s evolution, there is a need to review the technology, processes and people of the technology function. The Thought Source approach to undertaking a technology capability review gives you an impartial, third party assessment of how you are tracking and how your technology function compares with the industry.

When and why should you undertake a technology capability review?

A technology capability review is important to undertake at various key stages of an organization’s evolution. The information gained will help inform your decision making about what to do going forward, and give you an idea of the investments you will need to make.

The trigger for undertaking a technology capability review can be a few key events in a company lifetime. These include:

  1. When you are starting out. In the early days of a company, key decisions are made about how you are going to create your product or offering. These are choices that can have a big impact on your future. Make sure that the choices made here are compatible with what your business goals are. Otherwise, it can be very expensive to fix later on.
  2. When you are undertaking a change in direction, such as seeking to productize a previous services offering, or build a product development capability.
  3. When you are about to buy a company. If you are seeking to buy a technology company, then it makes sense to undertake your technology due diligence about what you are buying. Does the company have the technology it claims? Are there people who understand and can evolve it? Does the technology meet the goals of you, as an acquirer? Is there clear ownership of the code? These are some of the things to consider when undertaking to purchase a company, and we have a set of videos at where you can learn more.
  4. The first 100 days after an acquisition. While doing due diligence prior to a deal is important, there are generally tight deal constraints that put a bound on the amount of information. After a deal closes, conducting an in depth review, in the context of how the technology organization can evolve to meet the goals of new ownership can set a baseline for the management team, and where to prioritize investment.
  5. When you are preparing yourself for sale. This is the other side of when you are about to be acquired. This is when you make sure that your “house is in order” and your technology function has the appropriate tooling, processes and technology.

What you can expect from undertaking such a review?

A technology capability review will cover multiple dimensions of a technology organization, such as the product suitability, software, architecture and design, performance, security, user experience, product strategy, engineering process, support, people and technical operations. The details of what areas we cover are outlined in

The reviews we create provide clear, actionable paths forward across different dimensions. We use a color coding system of red / orange / green for each dimension to indicate the findings. We also provide a set of recommendations on any improvements or remediations.

These recommendations will give you a clear insight into areas for investment, key areas of technology to focus upon, and the path to take to help reach your goals.

How is a review conducted?

The process is highly interactive, with lots of discussions with the technology team over the period of around a week. We do more than survey material in a data room, and this technique ensures good insights and observations around the organization being reviewed.

When undertaking the review, it is done in a few phases:

  1. Setup and Ramp Up. During this time, we make contact the team participating in the review, customize the criteria to be evaluated, organize logistics and schedule the fact finding discussions part of the review. We also ramp up and understand the product / domain involved.
  2. Fact finding. This is a series of discussions with the team members from executives to engineers, to get an understanding of the technology and team across the dimensions of the review. Each meeting is typically one – two hours where we discuss the area of review, such as architecture, product management, etc. These are a good chance to delve “Below the PowerPoint” and gain real insights into the people, processes and technology.
  3. Analysis and Synthesis. Once the information has been gathered, we work through the information from the discussions and any material provided. These are analyzed to identify any gaps, follow up discussions are held, and conclusions are formed around each area.
  4. Options Assessment. This is a collaborative exploration around options to resolve gaps. This process is iterated to help determine the best solution and path forward.
  5. Playback of Findings. This is an opportunity to present findings to stakeholders and discuss the recommended path forward.