• umlaut group

It is never about the tool... until it is

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

You are in the process of addressing a gap in your business user ecosystem. Perhaps this gap is a latent, long ignored need. Alternately, it may be cleaning up after a much storied disaster from days gone by. Either way, there is opportunity being missed – time for a shiny new tool. Surely the latest, greatest, category-defining, most buzz-worthy tool will make all the difference in the world.... right?

Not so fast.

Know specifically what it is you are seeking to improve – and why

Your users won’t utilize the entirety of the tool

Your business team will be seduced by what else might be possible

Your implementation team won’t be able to discern must-have from nice-to-have

Create a sharp focus on the specific actions within the tool that will drive value – helping the Organization to realize the benefit associated with the “why”. Maintain a humble definition for the MVP of your implementation. Relentlessly and tirelessly, sell the vision. Challenge the teams to discover how to best leverage the tool to meet these needs. Maintain an unwavering focus for what it is you are seeking to change. Make use of a backlog for non-MVP opportunities. Develop a value chain for each feature (addressing the totality of all the ‘things’ that need to be done in order to successfully realize value).

Get in front of the Organizational Change early

If training is when and where you hope to equip the users (the Organization!) with an understanding and appreciation for the new tool and net new behaviors necessary to realize the value ascribed to the vision, you are overwhelmingly likely to be late in realizing the business benefit. Very late.

This will be compounded if the focus was allowed to swell.... or worse, change.

Sell the hope and vision – not for the new tool, but for the impact of the net-new behaviors. Paint the picture of the impact of these changes for the business... the customers.... the strategic future. Do this religiously. Create a link with the users as to what their new behavior makes possible. Create this same link with the users’ Managers. No benefit will be realized simply by implementing a tool. Work tirelessly to get the users on board early.

Measure... Measure... Measure...

With the understanding of the value chains in hand, identify key activities for each feature and measure. These are your leading indicators. Publish these.. praise the incremental changes at this level. The more macro results are lagging indicators. While we want to answer the question of “so, what did we get?”, we can’t be content to only measure the top-line.

Invest in Success

Admittedly, achieving the above is hard. It takes effort... experience... focus... Some may view it as “too expensive”. I would assert, however, that a project without such a foundation – any project – is too expensive. Without such a foundation, the realization of value – real, meaningful business value – will be severely hindered.

Once the foundation is in place, however, it’s ALL about the tool. The tool is tangible and real. It’s easy to discuss. It is not, however, where value is created.

Invest wisely. We can help.

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