Businesses are always looking for ways to improve efficiencies and processes, and more often than not, this means implementing a new system or tool throughout their organization or customer base. Of course, these opportunities come at a high price in terms of financial cost, implementation nightmares, and human issues. Often these implementations fail miserably as they run behind schedule and over budget; but with proper planning and techniques they can be successful. In order to ensure a successful rollout, your project team must be able to answer the following questions.
Why are we implementing the system?
The first question your enterprise should ask is why are we implementing this system? The reasoning behind how the new system will improve processes needs to be clear and well thought out at the inception of the project so that all parties understand why a transition to the system is important. Failure to adequately identify the pain points that caused the enterprise to implement the new solution can not only hurt user adoption further in the project, but can also lead to rollout of a tool that doesn’t properly address the pain points that lead to the purchasing decision in the beginning.
Who is going to make it happen?
At project inception it is vital that the targeted user group and an internal project sponsor be identified. The targeted user group can range from a few individuals to the entire enterprise, but needs to be defined early in order to properly coordinate and communicate implementation details. Since the success of a system rollout relies on the end users, it is key to properly identify and inform those individuals to ensure that when the project goes live, all parties are clear on their assignments. To help drive communication and adoption, an internal sponsor of the solution, typically in a position of management, must be identified. The internal sponsor is responsible for coordinating the rollout, communicating dates and initiatives to the individuals, and championing adoption to ensure that the rollout goes as smoothly as possible. Without a champion for the project, mismanagement of resources and communication can cripple user adoption and cause a system implementation to fail.
What are our criteria for success?
In order to solidify a successful rollout, the internal champion and the project team must define the criteria for success? Defining the terms of success is vital in any project, but when it comes to rolling out a new solution, a whole host of “wins” can become important. These can include high level goals such as adoption of the solution by the target users and measurable process improvement, or can include simpler goals such as delivering a single report to specific individuals. Regardless of the scope of the win, having criteria to measure the success of the rollout by will be crucial in coordinating training and adoption after the system has gone live.
How do you want to stage your release?
To ensure successful adoption at your enterprise, it is essential to determine how you want to stage the release of the new Big Data & Analytics solution. Historically, the two primary methods of rolling out at the client site include the “big bang” or the “bite size”. The “big bang” method implements the solution throughout the total user group as soon as the system goes live and is typically ineffective. The “bite size” approach calls for the solution to be rolled out to an initial smaller user group (Group A) once the product has gone live. Once the rollout has been completed with Group A, the project team looks for lessons learned and updates their approach to user adoption accordingly before rolling out to the new sub group, Group B. By cascading the rollout throughout the organization, trainers are able to focus on teaching users how to use the solution to better the practical and tactical components their jobs, resulting in a well implemented solution.
What are your plans for post-implementation support?
Before implementing the new solution the project team must make plans on how they will support the tool in the future. Significant post rollout challenges such as how the enterprise will train new employees, install updates, and mitigate user regression must all be thought out prior to project kickoff in order to ensure that all supporting documentation or training materials have been developed. Another vital aspect of post implementation is identifying any lessons learned from project inception to launch. Defining what went right and what went wrong with the rollout can help the enterprise augment their approach, making executing system implementations in the future much more successful.