Prepare yourself for the tough questions when proposing a new enterprise solution.
Editor's Note: This article is extracted from the Webcast "Avoid Document Imaging Project Killers" available free at the MC Webcast Center.
If you've got the green light for that new IT project, you're in luck. But before you take your buddies out to celebrate, watch out for the typical project killers. They are lurking around and can strike without notice.
You probably have heard of them, the deadly five. They are not exclusive to technology projects, but that's where you find them more frequently. The fact that technology drives most business processes makes them deadlier than any other obstacle you may encounter. Sure, getting funding was a hassle, and selecting the right vendor wasn't a walk in the park, but all your efforts will go to waste if you don't arm yourself with the right tools and the right mindset for when you face your opponents.
Project Killer Number 1: The Silo Mentality
This happens when the technology being implemented is thought to affect only one department but in reality is more widespread and can cause havoc throughout a process. Customer relationship management (CRM) and sales force automation (SFA) systems are notorious for that. Originally thought to be serving the sales department only, the new implementation ends up affecting marketing and even accounting. Document imaging is another prime candidate for the silo-thinking problem. If you are implementing it to handle Accounts Payable, don't forget that AP interacts with purchasing, receiving, and other departments that might be left in the dark when the process changes.
Project Killer Number 2: The Integration Nightmare
"Just plug it in and let it go." That's what you've been hearing your whole career and every time you purchase a new piece of software. Why would it be different this time? Integration is not only important; managed improperly, it may simply kill your project before it even reaches the end user. If you overcame the first killer (silo mentality), you now have a good vision of the scope of the project and areas/processes affected. Integration is the next step. Where is the data coming from? Where will it go? What systems should be considered part of the scope? Does the solution interact with your ERP, email, and other applications? Think this through before it's too late.
Project Killer Number 3: The Tech Head
We all love new technology. We work with it, we read about it, and we look for opportunities to get better at it. All fine and good, but as you go through the process of selecting and implementing a new system, beware of the "shiny object" effect. Forget for a moment that this cool new gadget/system/hardware is the next best thing after the iPhone, and think about what problem this will solve. What are the business goals? Are the business units and managers on board? Put the techie to rest, and ensure that the rest of the organization is behind the new solution as well.
Project Killer Number 4: The "Trust Me" Syndrome
Ever had a conversation with someone and when you probed for concrete justification of why doing something one way is better than another, you got a "just trust me" type of answer? It may work for small stuff but not for software implementations worth thousands of dollars. If you are looking for a solution for a business problem, there needs to be a solid business case and ROI behind the decision of moving forward. If your CFO is likely to be part of the decision-making process, then getting the vendor to help you out with concrete ROI calculations is the minimum they can do. If you don't have all the numbers ready for when the questioning begins, the project will be killed right in front of you.
Project Killer Number 5: The Lone Cheerleader
She wants to participate and be part of the group and is happy to wear the uniform, but she simply cannot get the rest of the team to pay any attention, much less the crowd, and so she cheers on, ignored by everyone. In the corporate world, we call it "change management." People don't like change, and they really hate it when others tell them they have to change. Managing this type of behavior is tricky, and unless you learn how to handle it, you will be the lone cheerleader who no one looks at.
How to Arm Yourself
Knowing what might be coming to get you is the first step toward preparing yourself for the challenge ahead. An even better tactic is to learn how to arm and defend yourself. That's why we want you to watch a Webinar recording titled "Avoid Document Imaging Project Killers." We explore each of the killers outlined above and give you some examples that you can take with you to any technology implementation you may face in the future. The challenges will be the same, but you will now be prepared to face them.