When it comes to implementing a business solution, it is not only critical to pick the correct tool but also the correct project leadership and implementation partner. Of the two tales represented here, the one succeeded for the following reasons...
- High degree of executive buy in - At key intervals, the executive board previewed the actual system. This made it possible to accurately gauge system completeness and to conceptualize the status reports. Too many times, the executive board settles for high-level status reports and fails to "get their hands dirty" with the actual system. This lends itself to theorizing system readiness. It also allows the implementation team to hide behind the high-level summary and its many interpretations.
- The project was organized and targeted - From the project kick-off to the conference room pilots, project organization and focus were paramount. The business had spent the time drawing up the critical business process flows and had communicated these to the implementation teams. Something often overlooked here is the fact that many businesses do not know their critical business process flows but assume they must exist because orders are placed and payments are received. Many pitfalls that can ruin a project are hidden in the details of "assumed-to-be-working" process flows.
- The Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) were the experts - There is a danger for projects of this magnitude to become political. Poor managers see large projects as an opportunity to grow their fiefdoms. It is critical that the business knows who knows how the business runs. Having the right experts attached to the decision making process will keep the project in scope and targeted. A takeaway here for the Human Resource department is to implement a 360 degree, peer review system where employees can score the business knowledge and acumen of their colleagues and managers.
- Had selected a more integrated solution - Selecting the correct solution is dependent on the first three points. With engaged leadership, a well-defined project, and empowered SMEs, the best solution, and implementation partner, for the company has the best chance of being selected. It also really helps when the product has integrated Marketing, Quoting, and Data Quality from the start.
|Project A - Competitor Products||Project B - Oracle CRM on Demand & EBS|
|$60+ Million||$2+ Million|
|Marketing + CRM + Order Management + Financials + Mobile Sales||CRM/Marketing/Mobile Sales + Order Management + Financials|
|7 Sales Groups||5 Sales Groups|
|CRM Quoting||ERP Quoting with CRM Seed Information|
|Hard Coded Duplicate Check||Bolt- on Data Quality Engine|
|100+ Consultants||15+ Consultants|
|2+ Years - No Systems Live||6 Months - Marketing/Sales Live|
|Full System Go Live - another 3+ years||Full System Go Live - another 6 months|
Major differentiators between projects:
- Project Leadership/Ownership
- A - not organized, sloppy kick off, disconnected teams, teams poorly identified, celebrity SMEs, status meetings too high level
- B - very organized, solid kick off, interconnected teams, identified teams with functional and technical leads, true SMEs, status meetings driven by system demos and issue logs
- Solution Architecting
- A - Attempted to solve 95% of the problem; tried to move pricing engine into CRM; had no built-in Marketing engine so had to bolt on another solution; had to customize the hand held solution exponentially due to the broad scope of the project; had to custom code the data quality engine; in short, the solution broke its own back.
- B - Targeted 80% of the true business hurdles; kept complex pricing in the native tool; integrated On Demand Marketing; able to implement a moderately modified mobile sales tool; able to use a bolt on data quality engine; in short the solution was targeted and manageable