Avoiding Implementation Failure: Summary
So in this last blog in the series, I’ll summarise the core reasons for implementation failure and how to avoid it.
The previous posts in this series covered the four main corners of failure:
- The company bought software that was not fully suited to the way they run their business;
- After buying the software, they didn’t pay sufficient attention or place enough focus on getting the implementation done;
- They didn’t think through the problem of their own data, how clean it is and the implications of getting bad data into the new system; and
- They set themselves up to fail by being too ambitious, expecting too much too quickly and viewed what otherwise would be a solid start towards a successful implementation as a failure
In some way, these are all aspects of the same failing, “not taking the process as seriously as they should”. This is your company, it is a serious process that is not to be rushed.
A rushed purchase of a PSA tool, drinking the sales person’s snake-oil and signing up driven by a month-end sales target is only likely to end one way: badly. You may feel you’re OK as you can cancel, but what about your time and the wasted implementation fees they are unlikely to refund? To say nothing of the staff disruption and loss of new business that may have arisen out of the distraction.
So, make sure it does what you need it to, and has the capacity to change as you do in response to market pressures. Ask every hard question you can, not about the vendor’s roadmap but existing features and how adaptable they are. Ideally, you only want to do this once every 5 years, max. Don’t be afraid to challenge and confirm. If you take a trial, take it seriously, test the boundaries of the configurability and then decide if they give you the room for your business model to flex and grow. If you plan on a move overseas, how good is the multi-currency aspect? If you plan on acquisitions, can you add multiple legal entities? etc.
Future-proof your choice, there are platforms out there that do all these things, so there is no longer any need to buy one that is limited.
Setting unrealistic deadlines and/or not making space or priority in people’s diaries to do this properly is not a path to success. Remember, it’s not done once it’s live, it’s done once it’s all working properly. Make sure you pay attention to data cleaning; don’t build on a weak foundation.
And, lastly, set achievable goals. You have to run and change the company in parallel, don’t think this is a normal project, it’s not. Lead from the front and be not only decisive but also pragmatic.
Done correctly, a solid PSA implementation will place a rocket under you to propel your business forward. Do it badly and it will hold you back.