This is the first part of the business process automation software implementation series. In this part I’ll be describing implementation strategies. The second one will speak about how you choose a strategy and the third one – about methods and tools used in the implementation process.
As far as I’m concerned, nowadays there are two business process automation software implementation strategies that are particularly popular:
Objective: to implement as much of the functionality as quickly as possible to get the necessary reports.
This approach requires the project manager to be ready for the following consequences:
- This strategy requires a much more thorough preparation than the second one.
- There’ll be more user requests – in case the number of support specialists is insufficient or their response is slow, user dissatisfaction will grow;
- Software training will take longer for each user because more functions are being implemented at a time;
- The users will be complaining and/or screaming, which is even more likely if they had to enter less data into the old software (or if no software was used at all);
‘Soft’ step by step implementation
Objective: implement a minimal number of functions that are necessary to solve the most important issue while causing minimal resistance from the users. Then gradually implement additional features.
This strategy usually has the following effects:
- The whole implementation process will take quite a while (from several months to a couple of years);
- Users will complain less as they will gradually get accustomed to the software;
- Not all the reports can be extracted from the software unless all the necessary features are being used.
Here are some conclusions from my experience of implementation projects:
- Most of the employees don’t need the new software because they think it’ll reveal they don’t work enough. It’s the business owner and the CEO (plus the management team) who need thorough planning. That’s why the CEO should have enough power of will to convincingly explain it to the employees that he/she needs them to use the software and that it’s actually a new policy.
- Any innovation (even among such advanced teams as marketers or IT specialists) causes resistance. People are inert, and only about 1% of the people really want to try something new out. More commonly, 99% of the employees can’t envision how the software can ease their lives, and those responsible for the implementation find it hard to explain.
- At least two things need to be done in order to begin the implementation:
- announce it to all the employees that the reports will now be generated by the new software only;
- organize user support.
In my next article I’ll be explaining how to choose the right implementation strategy.