5 Key Elements To A Successful Technology Implementation
At Sabre, we help businesses to implement new technology. The need for this is driven by amongst other things, merger and acquisition activity, their current system becoming outdated or perhaps they are implementing a technology for the first time in their businesses.
For example, we recently advised a UK trust company who, due to an acquisition, had to implement a new Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, and in another scenario assisted a firm moving from excel to a control-based global ERP solution.
As many business change teams will attest, implementing or re-implementing a critical technology solution is a major undertaking, and can often be disruptive to standard business as usual. Additionally, project failure is costly, it can damage your reputation and potentially lead to legal issues and lost clients.
Unfortunately, system implementations have a high track record of failure, often following ineffective project management, poor alignment with key business requirements, or due to factors including lack of governance, lack of sponsorship and insufficient buy-in from the organisation. The failure to identify and mitigate risks, not allowing for sufficient training, and improperly addressing user readiness and adoption of new systems are also common issues.
Here are our five key areas to address for a successful technology implementation or optimisation project.
The project planning phase is where your project goals and expectations are established.Align all the players, internal and external, around the project objectives, plans, and roles and responsibilities. The primary objectives of the planning phase are to:
- Clearly define goals and objectives
- Clearly define what is in and out of scope
- Ensure time and budget estimates are reasonable – businesses typically seek to reap the benefits of a consolidation or upgrade project as soon as possible. However for projects like this, timing is of the essence.
2. Team structure and organisational support:
On any project, understanding project team members’ roles, tasks and schedule commitments is crucial. Build the right team (at the right time) and implement a governance structure. Clearly define, and proportionally distribute resources from the executive sponsor(s) down to the individual functional experts. Key roles on the team include:
- Project sponsor(s)
- Steering committee members
- Project manager
- Core team members
- Technology system champions – split into their key areas
A clear definition of project team time commitment and expectation will also help to reduce the risk of resources missing key project deliverables.
The business must take steps to address data integration, conversion and history. The system is only as good as the data that is in it, and how you manage that information is critical for success. Remember, rubbish in is rubbish out. Key steps may include:
- Cleansing data
- Identifying key information
- Re-aligning data for future use
- Tying to legacy data to perform reporting and comparison
- Integrating to other legacy systems (both internal and external)
- Obtaining all that information that is currently held outside of the system and now bringing it inside.
4. Change management of the business:
Implementing a new system is one of the most, if not the most, disruptive initiatives a company can embark upon. Employees’ roles and responsibilities change, processes are redefined, and the system people are familiar with is changing. Managing communication and end user adoption is vital to success. Be sure to have:
- An adequate and clearly-defined training plan with time for knowledge transfer
- Clear communication to end users throughout the project
- A plan to assess organisational readiness before go-live
- A clear definition of the purpose and benefit to the company
- An understanding of the effects the project will have on different departments and individuals
Solid project management helps to greatly reduce project risks and increase the likelihood of achieving the desired business results. This is also about focusing on the ‘whys’ of the project, and not just on the ‘hows’. It is vital to take time to ask questions, push back and work as a team to deliver the best possible outcome. To do this well, leverage project management resources and structure to provide:
- A well-managed implementation, especially with regard to budget, resources, activities and timing
- A structured scope change process
- Documented risks with mitigation steps
- Clear and consistent communication
- Effectively managed facilitation and coordination of project resources and business decisions
Once the system is implemented or optimised, there is the ability to enhance automation capabilities and innovation. The core business systems which are driving technology trends, aid an organisation to become more efficient and drive return on investment.
By implementing these five key steps above, you will increase likelihood of project success, and increase the potential of the successful end-user use of the system and ultimately increasing the value of your business, and more importantly reducing the likelihood of failure. Get in touch with us today and see how we can help guide you though the process and add essential resources to your project.