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The Business Forum Journal


Enterprise Application Deployments


by David J. Gardner


Consider implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The new system is likely to be at least an order of magnitude or two or ten more complex than the current system making it harder to create efficiencies and have strong adoption by the people who have jobs that will be affected by the new application.

While the application experts have a strong familiarity with the tool, its definitions and its inner workings, at the end of the day, the people who will rely on the system day in and day out to do their jobs do not have the benefit of years of experience using the application. They are more likely to react like �a deer in the headlights.�

All too many application project schedules leave little time before activation to acquaint the users with all they need to know to be able to do their jobs seamlessly and effortlessly.  There are always two all-important questions to ask yourself prior to introducing Change: 

  • How long will it take for users to achieve �unconscious competence� with the new application? and . . .

  • How long will they be stuck in a state of �conscious incompetence?�

If your focus is on making the complex simple (and it should be!), crossing the chasm between the current system and the new system and how it will affect those involved, must always be a very high priority. So why is it that, most application deployments leave the end users and the managers charged with implementation frustrated, dazed and confused creating a bad impression that is very hard to overcome.

At the point of "going-live", you obviously want the team to be energized and you definitely do not want them to be frustrated, dazed and confused. That is why, of course, criteria needs to be established, not only for application readiness, but also for business team readiness to use the application at the point of activation.

The Information Technology team will be evaluated upon �hitting a date,� not how ready the business teams were to use the new application to do serious work. Delays in �go live� date mean that the whole Information Technology team needs to be present until completion, which obviously adds significantly to the initial cost.

The application executive sponsors need to focus on the people who have real jobs to perform and make the go/no-go decision to "go live" based on the capability of the business teams to be able to continue to do normal work with the new application.

On a personal note:

If this article resonated with you, why not schedule a phone call or a visit to discuss areas where your business is in need of making the complex simple. I work with the executive who can authorize a project to understand 3 key areas:

  • Objectives � what are the objectives/outcomes to be achieved

  • Measures � how will success be measured or determined

  • Value � an estimate of the value to the company of the proposed outcome(s)

Once this information is understood, I am able to create a proposal with different options for your consideration. Each project is customized to meet the unique needs of each client. Should we decide not to do business together, I hope our discussion will put you on a better trajectory.

Dave Gardner 775-722-8230 (Pacific Time)

David J. Gardner is a Fellow of The Business Forum Institute and held senior management positions in Product Development, Manufacturing, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Product Management.  He joined Tandem Computers in 1979 where he was responsible for Corporate Documentation Standards for Tandem's highly configurable and expandable computer systems. In 1983, he designed and implemented a Configuration Guide for Dialogic Systems instituting a process that greatly simplified a complex, modular product such that the field sales organization and international OEM customers could easily define their order requirements. This methodology satisfied the product definition needs of sales, marketing, engineering, manufacturing, customer service and finance. David founded his consulting practice in 1991.  He is a graduate of San Jose State University (BA) and Santa Clara University (MBA). David is a member of the Society for the Advancement of Consulting (SAC) and has been Board Approved in the Area of Configurable Product & Services Strategy and Implementation. In 2010, he was inducted in the Million Dollar Consultant Hall of Fame.  Out of over 1,000 consultants who have completed Alan Weiss�s mentoring program, only 26 have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Note:-- Dave Gardner can be reached on Twitter and you can check out his video describing why he is in business.

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