Your organization is in the midst of a digital transformation and new technology is on the horizon. You have survived through the research, vendor evaluations, requirements gathering, and development. Now it’s time to embark on the implementation phase of your organization’s journey to improve operational efficiency.
As with any implementation, you have a lot riding on its success. Your teams, together with your vendor, want to make this happen. Are you ready? Here are 5 tips to make this implementation a success.
1. Get Organizational Buy-in
There are three groups of people who are influential in the survival of implementing any new technology. First, you have your active sponsors. They are your executive buy-in. You need top-down support, as well as bottom-up participation. One is no good without the other. Identify who will be part of this active executive or steering committee. They will be the ones who provide clear direction on organizational strategy and expect accountability.
The second group are your influencers. They are the people in your organization that have ability to encourage and positively inspire others to commit to an initiative without express authority over other team members. This encourages bottom up buy in.
Last, and certainly not least, we have your evangelists. The evangelists are the people in the organization, and/or customers of your organization, that love your initiative, see the brilliance, and will share in the benefits of the end results. They are the ones who will walk around touting the benefits to anyone who will listen.
2. Be Open to Change
Change can be uncomfortable, but don’t forget that change can also be a good thing. Avoid the “this is the way we do it here” mantra. Regardless of the industry your business operates in, the 80/20 rule applies with a 20% uniqueness factor that is specific to your organization. Remember as you learn more about the capabilities of the system, the more you will recognize that change is continuous improvement.
You chose this vendor because they had the right product with solid out-of-the-box features and functionality. They have the expertise and proven results to back up their solution. Heed their advice. Let them work with you to build best practices to align to your business goals. Customization takes longer and is burdensome for future releases; again apply the 80-20 rule - 80% typical product functionality, 20% unique to your needs. Even highly configurable, front-end, low-code solutions should be handled this way
3. Institute a Single Point of Accountability
You need to centrally manage the implementation across business and technology groups. You need continuous collaboration, support, and participation across the organization. Establish a single point of accountability. The Project Manager or Program Manager is a usually great match for this role. All the other resources must bring questions, concerns, and needs through this single point including change management, scope creep, budget parameters, business process redesign, and deployment. The vendor needs to know who has ultimate authority on the decisions and can speak for your organization—and you need to know who is ultimately accountable for the progress of the implementation.
4. Establish Roles and Responsibilities
You know the old saying, “there are too many cooks in the kitchen”? Your chances of success escalate when those involved know what their role is and what they are responsible for. Roles and responsibilities need to be established early and upfront, along with clear priorities, schedules, and accountability. This includes clearly defined timelines for completion, project plans, and task inventories that should be exchanged on a regular basis. Build a core project execution team that is cross-departmental and focused on the project, activities, and deliverables. This team should report to the Single Point of Accountability.
5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” – George Bernard Shaw. Never assume that communication has happened because you’ve sent an email. You must find creative ways to communicate activities, create two-way communication, and have transparency and accountability across the organization.
It’s best to communicate in different channels to ensure all interested parties are receiving the message. When you are communicating a message to a wide audience, different mediums work better for some people than for others. It is always better to over communicate than it is to under communicate. Refine your reporting communications to align with the audience you are sending to.
With these tips and a solid plan, you have a recipe for success with your latest implementation!
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