Let’s be honest: deploying enterprise software can be challenging.
Every organization has its own complex processes, ways of doing things, and expectations for how new software will support the business.
And packaged software can feature embedded processes and default settings that may or may not match the customer’s requirements.
Connecting the dots between software and customer operations is often the job of enterprise service providers.By ensuring that the softwareis customized to meet the customer’s needs, and that current and required business processes are reflected in the software, service providers can create asuccessful deployment outcome. Most customers also expect their service providers to reduce the time, cost, and risk of the implementation, while quickly and simply meeting their business goals.
Seek the following essential qualities
Yet enterprises are notoriously complicated – with multiple offices, geographies, divisions, and lines of business, each with their own processes. To achieve real success, service providers must be able to manage the software for the customer using a simplified approach – one that includes efficient, linear implementation steps and mitigates complexity.
With these goals in mind, how can organizations select the best service provider – one that can manage the inherent complexity of enterprise software deployment while helping them embrace simplicity and innovation?
In a recent interview, I spoke with Michael Krigsman, industry analyst and host of CxO Talk, about the challenges of running simple in the face of enterprise, software, and deployment complexity.
Krigsman advises that companies look for the following qualities in their service providers:
- Technical competency
- Industry expertise
- Trust and shared values – Willingness to partner with you and put your interests at the center
of the project, ensuring that you achieve real success
Measure what matters
What’s more, it is critical to choose a service provider that is committed to making your engagement more simple and straightforward. By creating packaged services that group common services into standard bundles, for example, providers can avoid time-consuming and inefficient redundancies in each engagement.
To understand when packaged services are appropriate for your deployment, the provider must be able to fairly assess which of your business processes provide strategic value or genuine competitive differentiation and which are more like commodity processes.
Another way to simplify the engagement is to align the service provider’s efforts with your outcomes through contract incentives for timely completion. It’s also important to focus on business results of the implementation, rather than just process milestones.
“By themselves, delivering the project on time and on budget are almost meaningless if the project doesn’t ensure the customer gets what it needs,” says Krigsman. “If the project delivers real value to the business and helps the company solve problems, that’s the true measure of success.”
Breaking up large projects into smaller pieces can help shorten implementation cycles. Iterative development cycles or phases can also break the project into more manageable chunks.
Finally, it is important to choose a service provider that is willing to exert both oversight and influence on the overall services environment, managing all of the partners throughout the project ecosystem. Certification, quality assurance, and training programs can all be helpful in ensuring that everyone on the project performs at the top of their game – and that you gain maximum benefit from the deployment project and your new software.
“No software implementation is perfect,” says Krigsman. “But when you find a partner you can trust to put your needs and interests first, you should stick with that service provider for a long time.”
About Richard Strattner:
Richard Strattner has worked at the intersection of technology and professional Services for his entire 25-year career. He has worked for a number of different firms in the areas of management consulting, technology startups, and education technology, and for the past nine years he has been with the Global Marketing team at SAP.
He holds a BA from the University of Rochester and an MBA from New York University.
When not at work, Strattner enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is currently the president of the board of directors at the Country Children’s Center. Strattner lives in Westchester County, New York.
About Michael Krigsman:
Michael Krigsman is recognized internationally as an analyst, strategy advisor, enterprise advocate, and blogger. For CIOs and IT leadership, he addresses issues such as innovation, business transformation, project-related business objectives and strategy, and vendor planning. For enterprise software vendors and venture-funded startups, Krigsman offers advisory services on marketing, positioning, and influencer strategy.
He started the influential Web-based video show, CxOTalk, which brings together the top CIOs, CMOs, and chief digital officers in the world for insightful conversation. Krigsman has a BA from Bard University and an MBA from Boston University.