Even at the point you are in process of launching a new enterprise technology initiative, ask 5 different business leaders in your organization their most pressing goals for the system – and how they will measure success – and you might just get 5 different answers.
Successful technology projects are first and foremost business projects, with clear and measurable outcomes tied to driving business strategies. This is especially true for enterprise systems such as Business Intelligence (BI), Finance, HR, or, most importantly, integrated systems that combine aspects of all of these.
At first blush, those statements might appear to be simple common sense, but in practice, organizational structures, business roles, and conflicting priorities get in the way. The truth is that today’s complex technologies and systems cross boundaries and roles in ways organizational thinking traditionally does not. Today’s technology decisions require a holistic, systematic approach in up front due diligence through implementation and rollout.
Here are 7 things you can do now to help ensure your future success:
- Align at the top. Make sure that leadership has a clear vision for the project, and that vision is aligned across roles and business units. This is a crucial best practice of all successful enterprise initiatives, but getting practical-minded leadership to prioritize alignment activities is notoriously difficult. Consider bringing in an impartial facilitator to ensure this step is both taken seriously and that all involved accept accountability.
- Take a Big Picture view. Research shows there are multiple performance factors that need to be in place for any enterprise initiative to rollout successfully and for results to “stick.” Systems changes are disruptive even when all goes well; make sure to get the most “bang for your buck” by treating this as an enterprise performance improvement initiative, not just a software rollout.
- Chip away at information silos. Today, every enterprise technology decision is an opportunity to begin pursuing an integrated approach to information management, aligning vision and process as well as systems and data. Before you begin adding new systems or processes, take time to ensure you have at least a thumbnail inventory of the current state of systems and processes.
- Identify Enablers and Barriers. With current state in hand, assess what you already have in place, as well as challenges you will need to overcome. It is not uncommon to find systems and processes hidden within your organization that can be used to springboard success of your new initiative, as well as easy, incremental changes you can initiate now for immediate gains.
- Make a bold declaration. Leadership needs to tell employees why the new system is important, and how their personal success will be measured. Establish solid baselines; then, as appropriate to each role, declare data sources, formulas, and how the data story will be shared with others who need to act on the information. Sharing internal success stories can help transform a quick win into a long-term culture shift.
- Don’t forget change management and training. As systems become more complex and data more readily available at all levels of the organization, this is a good time to start developing greater analytical competencies and institute basic business measurement and accountability training for all employees. Change is most successful when everyone understands their role and what is at stake. Establish success targets and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) around your new system rollout, then get managers and team members involved in meeting them – and making incremental adjustments along the way.
- Seek external help. Good outside performance consultants are not hindered by silos, preconceived agendas, or strong personalities. They are dedicated to uncovering the truth, and know how to spot hidden land mines. Understand your internal resource limitations and time constraints, and consider bringing in outside support that can help speed you down the right path from the start.
It only takes a little extra time up front to set the stage for future success, and the time spent now will pay dividends down the line. An aligned enterprise project with leadership buy-in and clear, measurable goals will save thousands of dollars and hours in manpower. The cultural bonus that comes from doing this right the first time, and communicating positive results and new best practices, are priceless.
Contact Bill Jones learn more about how Media 1 can support your next enterprise initiative, and help you build a measurement culture of accountability throughout your organization.