Good technology roll-outs really count. Many people I have worked with over the past few years often face the tough experience of having to make decisions around new technology that will fundamentally affect business results. In the years, I have noticed many clients have been pushed into situations where things must be upgraded urgently (due often to a merger).
Often this technology is something like a new platform, a best-of-class project management system or a set of core capabilities the business has never had. At times, these needs arise from a system that was put into the business 20 years ago and since then the IT team have been building bolt-on solutions. Eventually it reaches the point where there are so many workarounds for the users that everyone just considers the system a massive handbrake. Organisational change has to occur, as the focus for increased performance is greater than ever.
A good example of this kind of new technology is how Schneider Electric approaches its ambitious goal of bringing energy to everyone on the planet in a way that is safe, reliable, efficient, and green. By using what was at the time of implementation a new technology Salesforce, Schneider is much better able to connect with customers, provide greater service and speed in the field, and now leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to connect products and users around the world. A great example of high performance technologies making a difference http://www.salesforce.com.
The general solution is to spend many millions on new technology to consolidate workflows, reduce time taken to get information, or find the right information etc.
What often actually happens though is this:
- The project goes over time and budget and the change management process fails
- Only specific users get the new technology right and they were the high performers anyway
- The strategic planning done prior to implementation was nowhere near robust enough & so major gaps appear with the implementation & roll out to users
- The final product offers only 60% of the capability promised and the system workarounds continue
If these were the only blocks faced after implementation, funnily enough the situation would actually not be too much worse. The problem is that this is only the start often there are many other implications. Like while implementation is occurring, sales and/or service levels drop and sales managers start to get punished for their lack of results.
Many users get disillusioned and they start to either leave or look seriously for jobs in competing businesses in the same vertical. This causes increases in staff turnover and a need to then recruit more people at a time when training and reducing the time to competency for new team members is not the highest priority. Finishing the implementation and knowing the systems core capabilities actually collect “all” of the data accurately and can be used to get results is the priority.
So what’s the answer? Consider the following:
- Who is on the roll out project team and why are they there?
- Who is missing that should be there? E.g. possible managers of users who know what functions have to keep on going not matter what
- Have you looked at who your absolute best talent is and how they can add value to the project?
- What kind of mini pilots have you or are you intending to run prior to getting serious about the roll out?
- If you have gathered groups of high performers to do the testing, have you then ensured these people are trained in knowledge-transfer and work-place training techniques to get your population back to its core results capability ASAP? How is this behaviour change actually going to occur on the ground?
- What kind of knowledge-capture processes do you have around the more “tacit” or informal smarts the high performers have? How do these apply in the “New” technology platform or world? How are these to be transferred? How is your talent management process taking this into account?
Making sure you have covered off the above at the very least will enable you to keep leveraging your best people to transfer their results across populations. Sometimes you may need to bring in technology providers you have never thought of prior to the project. In fact, this might not become apparent in any of the project design phases and might only be discovered during implementation.
Author: Hunter Dean see https://www.linkedin.com/in/hunterdean/ for LinkedIn Profile
Based in Melbourne Australia