The final of three posts highlighting the causes of failed asset management system software implementations and what can be done to increase the chances for success. The first post suggested that not setting proper customer expectations before an implementation begins is the root cause of failure. The second post looked at some of the critical points where expectations should be clearly laid out. You can read the first two post here:
Do You Need Outside Consultants
This part of the series looks at making a determination if the customer or vendor needs outside help (consultants). The key question for customers and vendors is; Do we have the resources needed to accomplish our objectives? As a starting point, to answer the question above, both customers and vendors can ask themselves 5 questions:
- What is the timetable for the implementation, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years?
- How many people will be required to execute the plan?
- What is the knowledge level of the existing staff?
- What is the availability of the desired staff during the course of the implementation?
- Do you have a change management leader who fully understands the organization’s work flow?
If the answers to the preceding questions indicate that there are not enough resources in-house to do the project, then a 3rd party possessing the needed resources might need to be approached. Like the customer-vendor negotiations, 3rd party help should have clearly defined expectations and roles.
Other 3rd Party Asset Management Implementation Factors
The use of a 3rd party can be very beneficial but also comes with inherent risks. On the plus side, the right consultant or consulting group can bring tried and tested procedures for making the implementation work. This helps customers avoid recreating the wheel when they run into an obstacle. In addition, an experienced implementation team or consultant can anticipate problems and then make use of their experience to find solutions that might otherwise delay implementation.
On the other hand, the more implementation that is outsourced, the lesser amount of buy-in within the customer ranks will occur. Customers must avoid the scenario where end users feel that the new asset management system has been forced upon them or Dragons will begin to emerge. Other factors to be considered include the cost of consultants as well as management control issues.
Implementations Are All About Communication
To recap what has been discussed in the three posts so far:
- The failure to set realistic expectations on the part of both the customer and vendor can and probably will doom an implementation.
- Implementing an asset management system constitutes a major change in operations for a customer. Buy-in from all levels is necessary.
- There are multiple points of failure during the course of implementation. How you handle issues is often more important that the actual problem itself.
- When setting expectations remember that training has a huge impact on EAM adoption rates.
- Beware of Dragons.
- If using an 3rd party to help with implementation make sure their involvement does not inhibit buy-in from customer staff.
- If the customer is unhappy with the end result, then the implementation was not a success. This may go against conventional thought that if the software system works the then the implementation was a success. But I disagree, a successful implementation goes beyond working functionality as an unhappy customer means no referrals, bad word of mouth, very little chance they will repeat (return) as a customer or in the case of Marin County, a lawsuit.
Successful implementations leave the customer happy with the value of what they paid for. Vendors wanting to grow should not plan to meet customer expectations, they should be planning to exceed them. The customer is King, exceeding customer expectations makes it a lot easier to keep customers and sell new ones.