Guest Blog: Dennis Casey, VP of Operations
Here are the seven tips on how to achieve digital transformation when you’re struggling with technology implementation:
Having worked in the tech space for over two decades, it’s common place to hear organizations utter grievances like, “That team [of consultants] really screwed up the state of our Salesforce org,” or “Man, we were sold a dud, this new software just doesn’t work,” or “We were told that this technology was going to be a game changer, and we just can’t seem to reap the benefits or find value in this hefty financial investment that we’ve made.”
All of these complaints are rightfully felt and expressed. Implementing technology in a way that advances a company’s processes and growth is tricky. Organizations must first shy away from labeling external institutions as sources of error or risk and look in the mirror. Despite consumers’ ability to be self-sufficient with transparent communication, and operational efficiencies transpired through next wave tech enhancements (AI, cryptocurrency and big data), it’s important that they allow themselves to rely on experts who have experience delivering results.
Even though businesses are able to make their own choices and have a specified level of control over outcomes, these things don’t stand as a substitute for consultants or other outside experts who have had more training and possess vastly greater experience for specific types of work. For example, the average person takes responsibility for a certain decisions regarding their personal health — taking vitamins, working out, taking over-the-counter medication, etc. However, this is not a substitute for the expert opinion that a patient receives from a trained and certified medical professional. Similarly, companies who are looking to make big organizational changes of any kind, should consult with experts who are well versed in providing direction and managing and implementing those changes.
ProTip: Be an active participant rather than a passive recipient when you engage a strategic consultation and implementation partner. Working collaboratively will yield a better outcome with stronger results, and in the most efficient way.
Before bringing a consulting partner into the picture, many companies make the mistake of neglecting to devote their time and attention to performing a retrospective evaluation of their historical implementation efforts. Determining previous implementation successes, but more importantly, the failures, is critical to not repeating the same mistakes and to having a more positive experience that drives the desired results. Familiarize yourself with the ways you can improve behaviors, refine roles and advance the quality of project tasks and overall contribution.
ProTip A: Identify where and when your previous implementation project ran off the rails. Diagnose whether or not you’ve allocated the right resources and if the project scope was properly defined to ensure wins are projected on future implementation projects.
ProTip B: Determine whether or not success was defined before the onset of the tech project. It will always be difficult to measure your internal team’s project success without properly defining KPIs prior to solution implementation. KPIs can be subject to change if project objectives shift mid-solution design which is normal and necessary — what’s important is to merely ensure they’re defined in a way that accurately reflects project goals.
Some organizations tend to make up for internal project shortcomings by placing fault on the contractual agreement originally drawn up between them and the consulting firm or third party performing the implementation. My recommendation is to select a consulting partner that can demonstrate a proven track record of effective SOWs. A properly executed contract will promote accountability and expectations for all respective parties involved in project completion both in-house and out-of-house.
Amidst conducting a retrospective review of past technology implementations, make sure you evaluate the state of employee engagement post-solution implementation. Ask yourself whether or not all departments took to the solution and incorporated it into their day-to-day activities. Often, technology efforts fail due to the lack of effective internal communication, change management and training, rather than a software’s inability to function properly.
Technology won’t solve personnel-related dysfunction. If it isn’t your first rodeo when it comes to implementing technological change, remember that a piece of software cannot fix distrust or staff attitudes. However, it does have the power to expose productivity mishaps, no matter how marginal. As long as you can acknowledge what operational deficiencies exist before technology implementation, you will arrive with greater ease and responsiveness upon initial conversations with your consulting partner, which is key to laying the groundwork for project success.
There is a difference between staff turnover and mindset turnover. Staff turnover is inevitable and is the natural occurrence of employees leaving a company — it often happens when new technology is introduced that automates what would have otherwise required human capital. Mindset turnover, on the other hand, can also be a natural part of technology driven efforts, but relates to missing the opportunity to understand project retrospectives full circle. In other words, mindset turnover can be the negative psyche or attitude that dramatically shifts as a result of technology implementation. It’s best avoided through a conscious effort to understand the lessons learned from previous implementation efforts and deliberately coaching employees on user adoption best practices.
There’s no doubt that tech implementation efforts require properly scoped deadlines, but it’s important to keep an open mind toward the possibility of shifting due dates. Time after time, businesses desire nothing more than to complete a project fast, which not only results in an inability to evaluate operational workflows and standards but shrinks the opportunity to roadmap for future process efficiencies.
Want to discuss your technology implementation ? Talk to one of our consulting experts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis is an experienced business and consulting executive having spent the last 20+ years in the technology sector, most of which was with emerging companies. Utilizing his diverse experience Dennis is often the “go to” guy when it comes to navigating change, establishing operational imperatives, or just plain getting something done. He gets no greater satisfaction than helping staff progress in their careers and mentoring new managers as they emerge as leaders.
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