With research suggesting that over 70% of technology implementations fail, it is worth spending a bit more time and effort on ensuring that you anticipate any risks to implementation and address them appropriately prior to go-live.
Before implementing a new system, I always ask my clients to consider whether their end goal is to simply replace one system with another or whether they’re trying to transform their business. A simple system replacement will have minimal impact on the way in which they work and will require minimal change management intervention. A technology-enabled business transformation, however, will require careful consideration to how processes, roles, responsibilities and ways of working will need to change in order to maximise the benefits of the system and help the organisation achieve their transformation objectives.
Here are five key considerations when embarking upon a technology-enabled transformation:
[typography font=”Chelsea Market” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#f45138″]1. Start change management early[/typography]
Some organisations believe that change management starts after the system is implemented. This can result in a lot of fire-fighting after go-live and can mean that the system loses credibility before it demonstrates any value. Ideally, change management should start during project initiation by agreeing a clear and compelling vision for the future, identifying key stakeholder groups and starting to understand the impact changes will have on the organisation and it’s people. Here is a visual diagram of the journey users will need to be taken on in order to achieve adoption:
[typography font=”Chelsea Market” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#f45138″]2. Do your homework before requirements gathering[/typography]
Requirements gathering has the potential to cause issues down the line as there is often a disconnect between what the organisation understands about the system and what the implementation partner understands about the organisation. I recommend that key business owners familiarise themselves with the system through training before starting requirements gathering in order to make informed decisions during this important phase of the project.
[typography font=”Chelsea Market” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#f45138″]3. Encourage involvement and ownership[/typography]
Getting the right people to take ownership for different aspects of the change will encourage engagement, commitment and ultimately adoption. Because people are so busy and are often dealing with more than one change at a time, the change won’t become real for them until it’s their problem (so to speak). Gaining ownership can be achieved by setting up regular catch up meetings with key decision-makers in the areas most significantly impacted by the change and assigning roles and responsibilities to move the project forward.
[typography font=”Chelsea Market” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#f45138″]4. Standardise and document processes[/typography]
The key focus of technology implementation projects is often on the system with little or no consideration given to the processes that will support it and how people will use it. Most ERP systems such as SAP for example, will require users to adhere to standard processes in order to maximise its benefits, however, in reality this is not always how organisations work. Agreeing and documenting end-to-end processes which define how people will interact with the system will promote effective use and help an organisation realise their vision.
[typography font=”Chelsea Market” size=”16″ size_format=”px” color=”#f45138″]5. Understand current ways of working[/typography]
A company’s culture or the way in which they work can make or break a system implementation. For example, if a system relies on good quality data but the organisation’s culture encourages creativity over strict data policies this could create an obstacle to using the system effectively. A comprehensive change impact assessment will help identify the cultural nuances that may present a challenge to successful implementation.