If you do anything more than twice in your organization, you should define a process for it. Once you have done so, you should continue to improve on it. In the absence of a defined and documented process, subsequent actions become experimental. Process design is an investment that’s easy to understand. But while the idea of it usually gets an enthusiastic response, actually doing it gets shelved.
So prior to any software implementation, map out your business processes and define such things as:
- What do we want from the software?
- How will this software be used on a daily basis in our organization?
- Which business processes will the software affect?
- Who will be using the software?
- Who has the authority to make decisions about the software and the information it produces?
- Who will be responsible for inputting the needed data and making sure it’s accurate?
- Who will be receiving the data and acting upon it?
- How will the data inform our future business decisions?
The clearer you get on business-process design and how the software ties in, the better your results will be.
2. Choose the Right Technology
No company can do the things it’s called upon to do without technology, so some sort of technology is a must. We all need tools. If you’ve done step one, you’ll have a clear picture of your business and how the new software must play a role. Now it’s time to analyze your software options and choose the one that complements your business processes and will deliver the results you’ve outlined.
3. Implement the Tool
This third step is the most important because it’s about the human factor and how it impacts any organizational change—and implementing new technology is a big change. Unfortunately, too many companies today are simply doing installations. But “installation,” which means “to put something in place,” is very different than “implementation,” which means “to put something into effect or action.” Having a new car in the driveway is nice, but if you can’t drive that car, it doesn’t offer much value.
Implementations often fail because companies forget the human factor. In fact, in most changes, human factors pose the greatest risks to long-term profitability. New knowledge and behavior-adoption drive return on investment.