Buying software simply is not enough to deliver the best results, the final part to the series looks at other factors involved in achieving business aims.
In parts one and two of this series of articles we looked at how demand for consumerised services is changing internal service delivery within the organisation, and then at factors to consider in choosing a solution to meet that demand. In this final instalment, we will highlight how simply buying the software isn’t enough: organisations must put processes, training and support in place to make everything work and deliver results. Here are the top 11 tips.
1. Define the roadmap
When establishing the roadmap, project teams must involve the business process owners and present what the platform covers and what it is capable of. Then they need to establish a list of needs and for each item in the process and identify:
- The business process owners;
- The annual cost
- Target dates
With these in place, and the roadmap approved by the process owners, work can begin!
2. Get the right team
It sounds obvious but having the right people on the team from the beginning is key. It should include process owners as well as process users with each role clearly defined. Specific roles may include:
- End users: They should be involved as early as possible to give feedback and act as a communication conduit to others.
- Agents: The people delivering the service such as facilities field agents or HR managers.
- Dispatchers: The dispatchers are facilitators. Their role is to coordinate internal (or external) resources and make deadlines are met.
- Process Owners: Responsible for accurate process definition and redesign if necessary.
- Sponsor: A ‘knowledgeable’ individual with some leverage within the organization so they can clear roadblocks.
- Architect: Ensures the consistency of the application and that the application maps to the business.
3. Plan for roadblocks
While these can never be avoided completely, these tips will help minimise them:
- (Again) Make sure you have the right people
- Keep it as simple as possible and avoid over-customisation
- Consider quick-wins based on the native features
- “Push” the business to get as much information as possible about its requirements including reports and KPIs
- Clarify any security aspects
- Always keep scalability in mind
- Implement state of the art apps
4. Hold a discovery workshop
It is easy to forget that not all the people involved in a project may be familiar with service management technology. A discovery session will demonstrate the platform, its native features, reporting capabilities, security aspects, and interfaces. The outcome should be better informed and enthused team members.
5. Get a whiteboard
“A picture is worth a thousand words”. It is quite hard for business users to imagine how the app will look and behave. A good practice is to use a whiteboard to depict forms, mandatory fields, the view for the back-office, view for the end users, workflows with stages, notifications, etc. This will help everyone feel they can “touch” and “influence” the app during development.
6. Focus on Priorities
Find out what really matters to the business and adopt a phased development if necessary in order to deliver quickly on the real priorities. However, you may need to reassure users that the ‘next phase’ will really happen and not get quietly forgotten!
7. Go for a prototype
Launch a prototype as soon as possible and don’t wait for the application to be fully “polished” as this gives users a chance to raise comments, provide inputs, or ask questions, as well as strengthening their trust in the project as it becomes a partnership model.
8. Have professional support for User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
UATs are undeniably stressful for the business users and the project team – failures and lack of knowledge can lead to frustration, so it makes sense to have someone in the room who can answer questions, remind users of the process and suggest responses to problems.
9. Plan (enough) training sessions
Don’t underestimate the time it takes to train people and make sure they get enough training. The simpler the app, the less training will be needed and always bear in mind that non-IT users may need more and different training that those familiar with IT projects.
10. Keep checking in
At the beginning, there will be a lot of information for the users to take on board, so encourage them to remember what they can do first, and not how to do it (provide support for this if necessary). Meet up regularly to support them in becoming more familiar with the platform and more proactive in using it, and enable tweaks and iterations in the app as it develops.
11. Measure satisfaction
And finally – keep the end goal in mind: the delivery of better, more streamlined internal services that will drive efficiency and greater user satisfaction. The more you measure key service indicators the more you will be able to identify blocks to take-up and learn from your successes.