The complete recipe for a successful software implementationBY STUART HARMAN
We all know the importance of having up-to-date, effective technology and the competitive advantage it can provide. Many Singaporean companies will invest significant money in implementing new planning software in to their organisations in 2012.
But how many of these implementations will be completed on time and will meet the return on investment criteria specified when the project was originally approved?
Unfortunately many organisations look to software to provide the ‘silver bullet’ instead of viewing the software as a tool to enable good process and to release the potential of the people in the organisation.
We still see many organisations prioritising the implementation of software over the engagement of their people to improve the way they do things. Typically organisations end up spending millions of dollars on software and hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants to rewrite business processes but just a few thousand dollars on training their people how to use the new tool. This usually has the effect of alienating the very people who have to use the software, who argue that had they been consulted they could have told the company that the system being
proposed didn’t provide the full functionality required. The effect of all this is that return on investment on the software is poor and elements of the previous system (usually spreadsheets) are maintained as ‘work arounds’ to cater for the missing functionality.
In my experience, the tools usually do what they say they will do but many vendors provide little or no real support in the key change management areas of user engagement and process redesign. The problem is that by not engaging the process users, very often the requirements of the software are not well enough understood and resistance to change is high, resulting in poor adoption of improved functionality.
Successful software implementation depends as much on people and process as the software itself, and the three (people, processes and tools) need to be integrated and aligned. Organisations that fully realise the potential of the planning software they employ, engage their people and ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of the business and extended supply chain in which they operate, as well as their role in supporting the value proposition for the organisation’s products and services. This way, the company can be assured its people and processes fully support the delivery of value across the supply chain.
It is only by realising this level of engagement and understanding from their people that organisations can fully exploit the capability of most of the sophisticated planning solutions on offer in the market place.
Stuart Harman, Partner, Oliver Wight