Positioning Technology Changes for Success
Today’s businesses expect the technology they adopt to not only perform the intended function but seamlessly integrate with the rest of the organization. It takes the right level of technical expertise, processes, communication, collaboration, and training to complete IT projects on time and on budget. This is why an IT implementation is just as much of a technical endeavor as it is a human one, and why IT changes have the potential to be a company’s greatest advantage or its tallest hurdle.
Maximize the Value of IT Projects
Companies who successfully implement IT project plans understand that technology only offers the potential to improve business results, and implementation is what determines whether the change is beneficial to the entire organization. They value the strategic integration of their critical applications, systems, and processes, and are aware of the risks an ineffective implementation can pose to the long-term health of the business. Key stakeholders actively collaborate with the IT implementation team to establish what success looks like and how to get there with minimal disruption and project delays.
In the past, if you were a growing business looking to move to a larger facility, you were primarily concerned with the physical move of office furniture, files, and of course, your people. Today, you have to consider how your business will coordinate with technology vendors, set up employee workstations, configure the company phone system, and more. One person alone cannot handle such a transition successfully and insufficient resources and planning can stall the project and business growth.
At Aldridge, our implementation team uses a combination of technical expertise and an understanding of each business’s unique needs to set the right expectations for our clients when executing technology implementations. By acting as both a business partner and technology consultant, we help organizations avoid surprise IT costs and extended downtime so they can stay on track to meet the bigger-picture goals of the business. With every IT change we make, our team uses what they learn about the client’s organization to create an implementation plan positioned to complete projects as expected.
Align IT Project Implementations and Business Strategy
For a successful implementation, companies need the technology they implement to both fulfill an immediate need and align with the overall business strategy 18-24 months down the road. A lack of proper planning and collaboration can result in unplanned disruptions and poor resource management that may end up costing more than the IT project’s expected budget. Implementations can be expensive, time-consuming, and when done incorrectly, can impact the productivity of your employees and wound your relationships with the people you serve.
Businesses with small IT teams often approach technology changes with a “ready, shoot, aim” mindset, and do not understand the time and resources needed to effectively plan for the IT projects. As a result, they overlook the organization’s unique needs and are faced with financial and operational hurdles throughout the implementation process.
- Signs of a weak technology implementation include: Excessive downtime
- Surprise costs
- Decline in employee morale
- Reduced productivity
- IT projects that never get 100% completed
- Employee resistance to technology adoption and use
- Inadequate support and management
- Failure to integrate new technology with other business-critical applications and departments
- Damaged customer relationships and credibility
Technology Implementation is More Than a Process, It’s a Mindset
Creating an IT implementation plan that doesn’t get in the way of a company’s long-term goals requires an extensive amount of expertise around the specific applications, systems, and processes that support a business’s daily operations. Our team works with clients to understand how each piece of their organization works together and leverages this knowledge to implement IT changes without disrupting the leadership’s vision of success.
6 Key Elements of a Successful IT Implementation
When an IT team lacks the expertise and resources for a successful implementation, the IT project plan they start is riddled with delays, if not abandoned. In addition, the frustrations experienced by their staff generally breeds resistance to future technology implementations and changes. This makes it even more difficult to successfully integrate new tools across the organization as employees become skeptical and fear such changes will reduce their productivity and prove to be a waste of time. The following four components are critical to our team’s ability to help clients achieve their vision for technology and their business with minimal roadblocks along the way.
Companies with a small IT provider or internal IT team generally do not have what they need to achieve a successful IT project implementation. They underestimate the time and effort involved and fail to account for the overall impact and potential risks. As a result, the business experiences disruptions such as extended network outages and the implementation of software that’s incompatible with the rest of the business. Our team compiles a detailed list of our clients’ unique requirements and outlines what their technology needs to accomplish and how.
Communication is key to a successful implementation as it sets the right expectations between IT and the rest of the business. Companies with small IT teams struggle to maintain consistent communication before, during, and after an IT implementation. By establishing why, how, and when changes will occur, we help avoid disconnects between our clients’ expectations and the outcome of an IT project.
A lack of clarity as to the scope of work, final deliverables and timeline associated with an IT project plan implementation can lead to varying perceptions of what success looks like, delays in hardware procurement, employee resistance to adopting new technology, and more. Each project should begin with a kickoff meeting to establish what success looks like, the cadence of communication, roles and responsibilities of the parties involved, the expected budget, and a timeline of initiatives and completion. At Aldridge, we collaborate with our clients to ensure all parties know what to expect and are held accountable for completing initiatives on time and on budget.
When IT teams execute projects in a silo without getting insider input, employee productivity and morale generally suffer as a result. Without understanding the overarching vision of the organization’s key stakeholders and the relationships between departments, IT cannot mitigate against potential risks and predict their impact on the rest of the business. This oversight can result in mistakes such as implementing technology that is too difficult for users to operate and long, drawn-out IT projects that get in the way of business initiatives. We work with our clients to organize pilot groups to test new technology and identify issues before rolling it out to the rest of the organization. As a result, we can confirm the implementation was successful and the technology is working as intended.
On-Time, On-Budget Projects
Small IT teams are almost always certain to miss project deadlines and cost significantly more than expected. This is generally a result of poor planning and requirement discovery on behalf of the IT team, causing projects to become a burden for the organization and its staff instead of a value add. Implementations that drag on, get “stuck” in the final stages of completion drain time, money, and good morale from the business. To prevent implementation delays, we collaborate with clients to create an IT project plan, timeline, budget, and review process before implementation begins. This allows our team to create an accurate budget to cover all of the necessary resources for completion and ensure they are available when needed.
Training and Adoption
People are naturally resistant to change, and businesses are always looking to implement technology to remain competitive in their industry. When employees are resistant to adopting something new, it’s generally because they don’t understand how it makes their everyday life easier. When the value of a change is not communicated, employees are more likely to perceive responsibility shifts, mandatory training, and any interruptions to their daily productivity as an inconvenience. This outlook often results in lower technology adoption rates and resistance to future changes.
Small IT teams already struggle with the task of implementing IT projects, which is why employee buy-in and training is frequently pushed to the wayside in the process. Our implementation team works to communicate the value of IT projects to both our clients’ leadership and staff. We facilitate training on new technology for our IT support team so they can assist our clients when it is rolled out to the rest of the organization. By shifting this mindset, we help the business get the most value from the implementation and justify the associated costs.
Make Changes with the Bigger Picture in Mind
If your IT team is implementing technology changes too early or too late, they may be missing the bigger picture for your business. If your organization is not yet ready to maximize the value of the change being made, or if the implementation is a reactive response to an issue or overlooked need, the productivity of your business and your people will suffer as a result. A successful IT implementation relies on more than a project plan and must take into account how the change being made fits into your overall strategy to support your business, customers, and the security of your information and systems. Learn more how implementation fits into the Framework for Successful IT.