Implementing a business technology plan includes several criteria outside the actual technology solution, including the human factor: the processes in place to govern the function and accountability of the clients that will make use of the technology solution.
Too often we look at the technology and the processes of a business without looking at the people and their roles and responsibilities when they interact with the technology itself. A recent client hired us to look at why they kept failing to obtain improved plant function when implementing an accounting, distribution and manufacturing software solution.
After spending some time researching their existing plan, we realized they had little or no business process definitions for their company. We spent significant time visiting their multiple locations and assessed why some locations had success and others had little improvements after the technology implementation, if any.
What became clear after a few days was that most of these facilities had relatively similar business process in place. Why then did some work and others didn’t? The differential was due to a few factors.
In the successful locations, the following criteria (applied business process definitions) were true:
- Everyone who came into the organization was cross trained as well as given orientation to the specific product and product lines so they had knowledge of the products. Visual application is a great way to learn and gain perspective.
- Secondly, although they had the same business process in place as the other sites, the more successful locations had implemented different roles and responsibilities for each person involved within those processes.
- Finally, they forced accountability at each step and had senior management drive these controls as a “non choice” to all employees.
When we talk about projects we always talk about the triangle –cost, resources, and scope. These three variables are the only criteria that can be managed for successful delivery of a project.
In terms of implementation there is a different triangle – process, people, and implementation. A change to any of these variables will impact the others and the overall success of an ERP solution. As noted in our precious case study, the differentiated roles and accountability of the people involved had a significant effect on the outcome in each location.
What do you think? What business process definitions do you have in place to help govern the accountability and performance of your technology-oriented staff? How have they been a benefit, or bane, to your business?