Avoid Common Pitfalls of System Implementation Projects

At PeopleResults, we work with clients on a variety of systems implementation projects every day. Based on my own experiences over the years, I recommend avoiding these three VERY common pitfalls:

Design & Build for the Future State

Not the current state…do not “lift and shift” your current business process. This project is your opportunity to do things differently for the future of the company. If you need to adapt your business process to the way the system is designed, then adapt. Current packaged software strategy and design comes from extensive research and best practice analysis, along with feedback from the customer base.

Avoid AT ALL COSTS customizing the system to follow your unique business process. This leads to extensive, expensive IT costs – not only during the project in the short-term, but over the lifetime of maintaining the system in the long-term.

Factor in Upstream & Downstream Implications

No system sits on an island. Invariably it’s part of a larger ecosystem, an IT and data landscape.

How do the decisions you’re making to configure the system(s) in scope for your project impact the downstream systems receiving data? How must the business processes change? And conversely, what transpires upstream that influences the data your systems receive?

It helps nothing when your system(s) work standalone, but the puzzle pieces do not all fit together, end-to-end. Your project team must connect the dots.

Focus on the User Experience

Systems implementation partners rarely (if ever) gather requirements this way. They may go at it by business process or type of transaction.

But system adoption and sustained behavior change dictate return on investment. A positive user experience (or lack thereof) determine rates of adoption and behavior change for the different types of users of your system (ex: employees, managers, administrators).

This means drive an overall Employee and/or Manager Self Service strategy and culture, for example, then implement the business processes and systems to support them.

Betsy Winkler is a partner at PeopleResults. She can be reached on Twitter @betsywinkler1.