The introduction of new technology can be an overwhelming and challenging task. What is the right approach? How do you make sure your project goes smoothly? Here are some key points to keep in mind for a successful implementation:
- Make sure you have a plan. Have a clear goal for what needs to happen with this new solution and make sure it’s achievable. Don’t go into it blindly without knowing where you want to end up or how much time will be needed.
- Find out how your new partner dedicates resources. Are projects managed in house? Or do they use “System Integrators” (SI Partners like Deloitte, Accenture, Slalom, etc.) to manage the bulk of the work? Understanding this will tell you a lot about what you can expect from an implementation.
- Determine if the bid for implementation is fixed or open to change orders. Fixed bid implementations will typically have a longer planning cycle on the front end, with dedicated resources from the vendor to ensure project success. This has a number of implications, all stemming from the fact that they’ve got some skin in the game when costs are fixed.
Often what is missed during an implementation is the first item – effective planning. When we’re buying software, much like anything in our lives, we don’t buy it until we need it. This puts us at a disadvantage from the start, because then we’re backing ourselves into an accelerated timeline that’s often times not our own. Think about it, how often are purchasing decisions made in advance of the vendors proposed timeline? The answer is never because both parties want to have the shortest timeline possible. Why dedicate more time (ergo money) than required to complete a project?
Yet, this is where projects start to fall off the rails. Realistically, project planning and scoping should begin during the buying process. The savviest of software buyers understand this and begin project planning well before contract signatures take place. They understand that in order to effectively implement a project, one that is both on time and on budget, requires as much planning as possible. Which leads to the other two points: Internal vs External Implementation Teams and Fixed vs Un-Fixed Bid for the Project.
It’s always best to use an internal team for a project. Why? Cost and capacity of the company are often limited resources, but most companies have both skillsets and tools needed to execute their own projects in-house. Internal teams also have an easier time maintaining consistency with current company policies, rather than integrating new protocols at the same time as rolling out technology solutions. Instead of having a team of mercenaries, who’s loyalty lies with the highest bidder, these teams are an integral contributor to the vendor’s financial success – their success is your success. And one of the best ways to ensure this, is with fixed bid implementations.
When projects are structured in this way, it helps share the risk across both businesses. Going back to the first point about effective planning, it pushes the vendor to take greater ownership of this step of the process and become a steward of best practice. In turn, this helps streamline the project and emphasize the delivery of value through innovation.
With these three concepts in mind, you will be able to take on your next technology implementation and successfully roll out a new set of solutions for your business.