Is Your Company Evaluating or Implementing HCM or ERP? A tip to consider to avoid a costly nightmare
Id like to share my story with you:
I began my career selling Software-as-a-Service for a great Human Capital Management Company. We offered a single solution to manage payroll, time & attendance and all human resources talent, available in real time with dashboards, metrics & analytics. I became a top seller for my company by quantifying value for my customers, that the quality of this product will bring great ROI to their organization. By offering this cloud solution, business practices will transform to a standardized and seamless experience where you can now manage your employees better and stakeholders have accurate data to make better business decisions.
What I failed to realize at the time, is that a sophisticated software also requires the client to have a complex team to implement and roll out the product. That changing there current business practices will have a massive impact on their organization. I assumed that implementation would take little effort, that simply the client can sit back and watch there investment already pay off dividends. I was so dim wittingly wrong!
With my failure to raise this awareness to my clients that implementation is very complex, most clients became overwhelmed with the project. As a result, data conversion was not cleansed and uploaded properly, rules & policies didn't add up in testing. There was so much miscommunication and a lack of transparency that took place which spiraled into further delays, war rooms, finger pointing and dollars lost. Some clients just routed back to their original legacy system(s). Some simply gave up and requested their investment be returned. Others went forward with a broken system and disrupted their entire business and culture. People became stressed, anxiety grew, their jobs were on the line! I couldn’t believe that this is a result of my displacement of knowledge towards software implementation expectations. I have witnessed people leave their company & I have seen implementations go from 6 months to 12 months (and more). Thousands of dollars were spent trying to fix problems. What first began as an exciting investment quickly turned into an implementation nightmare and poor financial decision.
If only I had raised awareness to the client that the amount of time, effort and expertise is needed to implement as well as a strategic organization change management plan must be in place, we could have proactively found a solution to prepare and deploy a team of experts to help the client. This would have mitigated the risks, kept the project on target, and fulfilled my original expectations of a perfect product that will make the lives of these employees so much better. I cant assume that all company’s have expert resources to implement and roll out. I cant assume they have done similar implementations before, nor can I assume that they the time committed to implement. Implementation is not an everyday job. People need to take time out of their primary job to put towards the implementation project. I also cant expect changing business practices would be easy, that once its deployed everyone will easily adopt and be satisfied with a new system.
I was so proud to be selling such a great product but it saddened to see some clients experience this kind of nightmare. I needed to find a way to inform and set expectations for my clients, that implementation is complex, and expert resources need to be in place to ensure its project success.
One day at an HCM conference I met the President of a consulting firm called Think Best Practice (TBP) that literally solves my biggest challenge! They help clients with implementation and change management on modernization projects! The President of TBP, Lee Traill, created a company to represent the client; to help clients that need the additional support to implement and roll out. To help the clients that lack the time, resources & experience to task such a large & heavily invested project. At this conference I shared my story to him… that I really believed in my product... That I wanted to make work lives so much better for my clients… Provide them a modernized solution that can manage their people.... But my reality was that this change resulted in more problems faced then actual benefits resolved because its a complex beast...
Ever since our meeting, I have included an introduction to Think Best Practice to my clients as a mandatory call in my sales cycle and it was the best decision I have made. The raising of awareness to them, the reality of implementation, the need for expert resources. This proactive conversation helped my client organizationally prepare. Most even chose Think Best Practice to support them. Not only did this help my clients but also made me as a seller more credible as they appreciated the concern and empathy I had outside of selling the software. As a new selling feature, I would always ask and gauge the clients need for additional support and sure enough my perfect scenario of a successful product offering was executed moving forward.
A seller cannot just sell a product! A seller must think as an extension of the buyer.. "what needs to happen internally to have this product better your company? What concerns do you have with implementation and rolling out a new change to your organization? Are you aware of the effort involved, and the level of expertise needed?
The lesson I learned is that it takes a lot of effort and skillset to make a change for the better. A roadmap and action plan needs to be in place prior to implementing, and most importantly, expert time and resources from the client side need to be resourced. As it's a big change to your legacy systems and legacy practices, a well thought out change management plan to get user adoption and employee engagement is needed.A product is only as good as how well it is adopted by your company! Don’t just think that a button will turn on and everything is set up correctly. Invest in quality experts to mitigate the risks, because there is too much at stake when a change impacts your entire company, culture and people. Investing in quality experts to support you will pay dividends in return.
I have now joined the Think Best Practice Team to support clients in need of evaluating, implementing, optimizing and rolling out Cloud HCM or ERP Software .
Author: Matthew Beiler