While this is a topic that seems obvious to some of you, it should be discussed. Along with training, it’s one of the most vital factors in a successful implementation.
Insist that as many stakeholders and users as possible get involved. Show them the proof of concept. Then demo it to them every step of the way. They will still have changes when it rolls out, but at least they can’t say they haven’t seen it before or been involved. Why go to all of this effort if they want changes? I like to say that no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy (that statement might not be original to me). If you’ve built your system flexible, you know that you can modify it after implementation. Even if end users see and test the system, they will feel differently once they get their hands on it. Sometimes the changes will be iterative. Get the software into the user’s hands and tell them you are still looking for feedback. Let them know that a phase 2 will occur after you’ve gone through a cycle.
Too often the finance department will get an idea and believe that this is the way things should go. Not too many companies actually run that way. It will work far better in a system where you have to convince others that your method is correct. My experience is that we can usually keep the core idea, and with some editing, make everyone happy. It’s amazing how often a small compromise will bring people on board of your implementation. Building out every single possibility rarely works. This is the biggest mistake that many companies make regarding initial Hyperion implementations; assuming that they will get everything right the first time. This is a case where the perfect is the enemy of the good. Get it as good as you can, and plan to make changes.
Why should you do all of this? Success of the project. The more people you have that have a sense of ownership, the more that will want your project to succeed. It’s human nature for people to be suspicious of something dropped with no warning.
How does this tie in with the prior blog postings? I’m glad you asked. You need to have a consultant that can present your ideas clearly to all users. A deep understanding of what is possible technically, combined with the functional ability to speak to all departments, is what sets Brass Tacks EPM apart from our competitors.
I’ll be back in the new year with more postings. As always, comments are appreciated.
I was meeting with a prospective client last week when I put my foot in my mouth. Those of you who know me personally know that it’s not an uncommon occurrence. The reason it happened this time was over their plans for training. They had planned an interactive computer training for their users at the end of the project. I can understand why they wanted it. Neat, and easy to maintain once set up. A good training program like this is a great idea. If anyone new comes on board you can always refer them to this or to documentation.
And it’s not enough.
My experience has been that you can put all the effort into the implementation, but don’t expect that everyone gets software right away. Some people will of course, but you have to plan for those who won’t. The non-tech users, especially those outside of finance who don’t sit in front of their PCs all day. In person training is vital to a successful implementation. You don’t need every user to be trained by us, but training the trainers is the minimum. They all need in person classes.
During training people will check email and phones. They won’t be engaged. If you’re looking them in the eye while you’re speaking and checking over their shoulder while they work through exercises (you’re going to add in exercises to the training, right?), they’ll get it a lot better. It’s not that they can’t be trained the other ways, it’s that you have a better chance of success.
If you’re thinking, “Well, we’re only rolling this out to finance users” my question is; why? Hyperion can be expensive. So can the implementation. Very few companies want to spend this much for only a few users. To get the most out of the system, let the most people use it. Security is there. You can have more than one cube for data without adding to much to your overhead. The spreadsheet interface for non-tech users is something that almost anyone will feel comfortable with.
I’ve run out of time to write about the other part that I planned to include; Why engagement with the end users during the process is vital to the success. Look for it next week.