Young man and woman talking in a meeting at a coworking

In the rush to embrace the latest tech, many organisations overlook the critical question: “Are we ready for the changes that this will bring, as much as we are ready to buy?” Here we explore key readiness questions to consider before your next rollout.

As I covered in 8 reasons why digital projects fail, when technology projects fall short of expectations, it’s rarely due to deficiencies in the technology itself.

For example, any reputable enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) or marketing platform will function as promised. Systems are logical. It is the other key success variables in an implementation that are unpredictable and often overlooked.

Are we truly ready?

When you have identified a clear need, pre-implementation thinking can be along the lines of “We need a new CRM ASAP!” or “We need to upgrade to the latest platform.” Before rushing ahead, it’s important to first ask yourself “Are we truly ready to make this change?”

This simple question could save you significantly on delays, implementation stress and extra costs later.

  1. Are we ready at a project team level to manage such a transition internally or with the help of a vendor?
  2. Are we ready for all the implications of the change on our people, processes and operations? What support will they need?
  3. Are we ready with the available time, resources, internal capabilities, change bandwidth and experience to see this through if it is more complex than what we are used to?
  4. Are we ready in terms of the governance, approvals, consultations, buy-in and taken into considerations lessons learned from past implementations?
  5. Are we ready with a clear understanding of what we want as a return on our investment and want to achieve with this technology?

A false sense of readiness

Armed with a comprehensive business case for a new platform, businesses often jump into choosing a vendor and anticipating a plug and play implementation.

This is especially true for medium sized enterprises that may not have dedicated change management expertise, experience in managing digital transformation, or robust governance teams or frameworks for rolling out major projects.

To mitigate these common risks, it is critical to assess and monitor your change readiness prior to implementation, and continually review your progress during implementation, at go-live and consider your post go-live plan which is the real make or break period.

Key readiness questions to ask yourself…

Before you start:

  • Is the technical project team and leadership group aligned on the business objectives, technical requirements and budget?
  • Have you clearly defined what you are looking to achieve and what success looks like?
  • Are core requirements documented and prioritised using a system such as must-have, should-have, could-have and won’t-have (MoSCoW)?
  • Are individual roles identified, communicated, documented and accountable?
  • What could derail a smooth and successful implementation?
  • Have you set up clear project governance procedures and decision-making hierarchies? Do you have one engaged executive sponsor?

Remember: All change is ultimately local, so you must always think about the employee in the chair.

During development and build:

  • Have you regularly consulted and communicated the progress, timings, benefits and any changes in the project across the business?
  • Are department heads and team leaders still on board and supporting the project down the line?
  • Are you actively encouraging and addressing feedback both positive and negative?
  • Are you still tracking towards agreed objectives and success metrics?

During implementation:

  • Have the requirements of the minimal viable product been met and tested?
  • Are managers engaged and prepared to actively advocate and champion the new platform to drive uptake?
  • Are the end users aware of when, how and why (benefits) the new platform will impact their role? What training and ongoing support would help them?

Post implementation:

  • What is the level of usage and engagement?
  • What are the feelings on the floor? Is there any negative sentiment festering?
  • If there are gaps, what remedial action needs to be taken? (Functionality gaps, training and awareness gaps, uptake and usage gaps, resistance issues etc)
  • Many projects fail because they take the view that going live is job done. You can ‘go-live’ at a technical implementation level but whether this is successful requires much broader consideration of whether the technology is delivering on what we imagined.

Ready, set, go…

There’s no such thing as a perfect project. However, understanding change readiness and looking at your project through a holistic change management lens will improve your chances of a smooth and successful implementation.

Whether you need help assessing your readiness for change or support implementing the solution and managing the transition, Nexon’s change management services and technology readiness assessments can help you pinpoint risks and fill any gaps.

To explore how Nexon could help enhance your next project, please get in touch.

Eoin Doyle is the Change Leader at Nexon Asia Pacific. For more information about our change management consulting and IT service delivery solutions, contact Nexon.