You have probably spent a lot of money on all sorts of enterprise software in recent years. And you have probably spent years researching and building dozens of software ‘solutions’ for your organisation, not to mention months or, more likely, years rolling each out. So, I know how exciting a ‘go-live’ day can be. It feels as celebrated as a birth or graduation. It is an enormous milestone that some people probably felt would never come. To most, it signals the finish line, and that is a big business problem.
Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but whenever I hear someone pronounce a software rollout a success, I worry because that means someone or perhaps an entire team is about to deprioritize this application and focus their energy on bringing another software platform online. That means your employees will be asked, or perhaps told, to use a software tool that may not be properly optimised for their jobs or ready to use at all.
I know your organisation’s main objective may be to deploy a solution focused on meeting the business requirements usually AS IS from the software being replaced on time and under budget. However, in most cases, this means that you are only scratching the surface of the software’s true potential. You are going live with a minimally viable product without considering whether MVP can actually make a positive business impact. It is more of a check-box goal to keep the project’s sponsor happy than anything else because the reality is that making a software tool available to the intended beneficiaries does not mean that the available tool is actually beneficial in its current state. That is why the go-live date is typically different from the payback date.
Software’s return on investment comes over time. The more it is used, the more value you will extract. However, your employees will quit using the software on day one if it does not feel like it is helping in some way. If the software is making their jobs more complicated after they have been properly trained on how to use it, then they are not going to use it or they are going to try to use it and then complain about how much slower or harder certain tasks feel.
Simply put: if many of the software features designed to enhance business operations, streamline processes, etc. were not part of the project team’s defined MVP criteria even though they would have been MVP criteria among the intended beneficiaries your employee, then you risk losing money on your software investment on the go-live date.
That is where ongoing consulting services come into play.
I realise your in-house resources will need to move on to the next big rollout or perhaps the backlog of tickets built while they have prioritised this software launch. So, now’s the time to tap into the consulting services offered by your software provider.
You cannot have your software sit in its current state for another week, much less forever, and hiring a new in-house resource dedicated to ongoing software maintenance and optimisation will take time. Even then, there will be some learning curve unless that person previously worked for the software supplier and in your industry. Their impact will not be immediate and may never be what you hope.