I’ve recently moved to a new house. It’s gorgeous, built in the 1920’s, original trim work, pocket doors; just lovely. It has been painted and wallpapered with some very questionable colors and patterns, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed.
I know how I want it to look, so I run out to the nearest hardware store, where I buy lots of paint, rollers, brushes, sanders, steamers, and all the other tools I need to bring this gem into the current century.
I place all of these expensive and nifty new tools neatly in the living room, shut off the lights and lock the door, confident that now that I have the right tools in place I’ll come back to a serene and lovely home.
Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. Someone, and I’m afraid it’s going to be me, will have to actually pick up these tools and use them!
Seems pretty basic, doesn’t it? Your business has certain problems or needs, and there are literally zillions of tools available online, on your phone, in your car even, that can help organize your life, your data, communicate with your teams, run your payroll, hire employees; in fact, if you identify a need you can find a tool that promises to help you out.
Here at WyckWyre we are all about tech, obviously, and we test drive a ton of solutions to our changing needs, with varying degrees of success. Some we find are just too big and can actually do too much, and we realize we don’t have the time to scale them to fit our needs. Some are so simple to use, so elegant in design, we fall in love, only to discover they aren’t as customizable as we need, or only work for small bits of our organization.
We’ve tried several customer relationship management tools, we’ve been on multiple AP/AR platforms, we’ve used email, IM’s, tickets, excel spreadsheets, databases; you name it. We’re a SaaS company, you’d think if anyone would be able to take advantage of the dizzying array of workplace tool kits out there it would be us! In reality, we’re in much the same boat as everyone else, always on the lookout for new ways to cut down on missed communications, to ensure data integrity, to help us deliver on our promise of mind-blowingly excellent customer service.
The incredible ingenuity and creativity of the developers of the bazillions of systems out there will blow your mind, but there’s one vital piece of the puzzle that no software or app will be able to solve for you. I’m talking about actually using it! It all boils down to implementation and adoption. Every.Single.Time.
At WyckWyre we’ve been on both ends of this problem, and it’s frustrating for everyone. We’ve purchased and installed and then abandoned more systems than I could count. We get excited about a new tech solution and oftentimes we fail to actually use it. Either we never make the time to actually get it up and running, or we fall out of love quickly and just stop using it.
We’ve also had customers who haven’t properly adopted our system, and then cancel because it’s not “working”. They end up unhappy because we didn’t magically solve their original problem, and we are disappointed because we know we totally could have helped this customer and we’ve now also wasted a lot of time setting them up.
Both of these scenarios boil down to the same problem. Not implementing and adopting the tools. Somewhat like my living room, all the great gadgets in the world will not get the job done by themselves.
When you have a new item on your menu you run it by your entire crew, and make sure that everyone’s up to speed and ready to sell it. If you had a server who (for unknown and unfathomable reasons) absolutely refused to offer this new dish, or discuss it, or even acknowledge that it exists you’d have a problem, and I bet you’d take action, swiftly.
Software implementation is exactly the same. Let’s say for the sake of this blog that you did your initial homework. You properly ID’d the need, you researched possible solutions, and you’re close to 100% sure that this tool is going to help. According to a 2005 Harvard University Study ,up to 20% of IT projects fail at the implementation phase, no matter how well designed and perfect the system actually is. Leadership in implementation is critical, so here’s a basic outline of how to get it done:
- Appoint a person or a team (depending on scope) to head the charge. Someone’s got to be the foreman, the crew leader, the supervisor! If you don’t have the time, find someone who does.
- Create a timeline, again depending on scope, that is realistic. Allow for time for training, for glitches, and for your users to get the hang of this new system.
- Communicate clearly with the users. Get them on board, tell them the plan, and keep them in the loop. Make sure there is also a channel for feedback once it’s in use.
- Create accountability. This tool was purchased for a reason, and it’s going to hopefully meet the needs of your business. Your team must be aware that there are consequences if they don’t use the proper tools.
- Keep track of your success. Make sure to monitor that it’s actually working the way you’d hoped. Make note of your adoption super stars, you will need them for the next implementation. Keep track of any challenges you faced, and know how to avoid them next time. Review the steps you’ve taken to map out future projects.
Not all projects will go as planned, or work as expected, and happily, sometimes your business growth determines that you need bigger and better solutions. Bottom line is, no matter how big or small the project may be, all the fancy tools will do is cost you money if you’re not also willing to invest the time and work to use them.
Now, would you rather use a brush or a roller?