In a recent study results showed that 68% of ECM/Workflow (BPM) Solutions fail regardless of the software’s capability. Many of these fail because the salesperson lacks experience with the technology and promises unrealistic or rushed delivery times. Other reasons ECM/BPM failures occur are due to improperly trained users, project derailment due to internal politics, and organizations underestimating the impact on business processes. Another key deficiency is the lack of a seasoned “process” and good communication. Often, communication in a large company is challenging due to all of the players, limited time and scheduling conflicts. As you can see, none of the reasons listed are due to the software or technology being less than adequate. In fact, it’s not the software’s fault at all, but the way in which your vendors implemented the solution.
The importance of selecting a vendor who not only provides the software and training, but also implements the solution adequately is extremely important. In most cases this can be the difference between a successful implementation or a failed one. Choosing a vendor who doesn’t dedicate the time and specialize in implementation or training for their solutions can be detrimental to its success. In nearly all cases, issues with an implementation have nothing to do with the software. We have taken over many accounts where the software is fine, but the customer is not happy. In addition to improper training and support, proper go-live planning and staying on-site after go live, what we call “Post Go Live Support”, is imperative. In fact, some of these items are so critical, that we no longer allow customers to remove them from the plan. Must have items: A design document, project plan and tracking, proper test staff and a defined test plan, a go live plan, end user training, customized end-user manuals, a go-live plan and on-site go live support.
Most large scale solutions cost upwards of a million dollars depending on the size and that can be a complete loss if the right steps are not taken. Now add the cost of converting into a new system because your previous one failed. This becomes a large price many companies are stuck paying because they select the average vendor.
To avoid extra costs and failed solutions simply pay the price upfront for a great vendor who supplies the product as well as implements, trains and supports it. Check references on the system integrator, ask for sample documentation, project plans and a summary of their methodology – good integrators will have all of this information readily available. If you feel the sales person is lacking the knowledge required, be sure to speak with the head of their services group to ensure the solution is being implemented correctly from the start with enough time built in for additional analysis. Like any project, building a solid foundation with good planning, analysis and a documented design will help eliminate pit falls further down the line. All of these documents and planning, which are part of the bigger process, result in improved communication – the customer will understand clearly what they are getting, the time line and how the solution is supposed to work. In many cases, the kickoff and analysis process, which should not be rushed to try and save money, will uncover significant issues that need to be addressed. Some may be political, some related to roll out or eventual use of the solution.
Proper project management from the beginning by both the buyer and integrator need to be laid out and explained clearly in order to assure a smooth and successful transition into your ECM/BPM Solution. Choosing the correct partner capable of doing this can be the difference between a successful implementation or a great waste of time and money. I recall a quote from my Dad that applies here, “If you don’t have the time (and money) to do it right the first time, you definitely don’t have the time (and money) to do it over.”
Published By: Paul Pitts
All Star Software Systems, LLC