A fool with a tool is still a fool
Any software you implement in your organization should enable or enhance a business process. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe that the software or technology itself is the solution, when in reality, technology is at best 10 percent of the value equation—the other 90 percent is based on the human factor.
Knowing this, it’s no wonder 70 percent of technology implementations fail. In other words, seven out of 10 applications that are installed and that companies spend millions of dollars for the implementation aren’t being used one year later. Talk about wasted resources!
How does this happen? All too often, company or department leaders hear about new software and view it as the “next shiny thing.” They call the software provider and say, “We heard you have a great tool and we’d like a demonstration.” The software is certainly seductive with its bells and whistles, but its effectiveness and usefulness depend upon the validity of the information going in and how the people actually work with it. Having a tool is great, but remember that a fool with a tool is still a fool (and sometimes a dangerous fool).
So, if technology is not the answer, what is? The answer that will really solve organizational challenges and enable business processes consists of three parts that, when done correctly in conjunction, will lead to long lasting results.
1. Get the business process design right before you implement any software.
The first step to a smart technology implementation is to get clear on what information goes in and what analysis comes out, which has nothing to do with software itself. This is called business process design. Unfortunately, many companies fail to align technology with their processes. That’s because some companieshave no processes, while others have a stated process (the one they talk about) and an emergent process (the one they actually do). So, what is a business process and how do you design one?
A process is like a recipe. If you have a great recipe for New York-style cheesecake that calls for folding in three eggs one at a time, yet you decide to blend in all three eggs at once, you’ll get a completely different (and probably not very good) end product than if you had followed the directions. Make the recipe again and follow the instructions in the proper order, and your cheesecake will be edible.
If you do anything more than twice in your organization, you should define a process for it. Once you have done so, you should continue to improve upon it. In the absence of a defined and documented process, subsequent actions become experimental. Process design is an investment that’s easy to understand. But while the idea of it usually gets an enthusiasticr esponse, actually doing it gets shelved.