Low Expectations. And no I am not crazy.
I have met very few companies who have a well thought out plan for implementing new systems. I emphasize systems because they include people, process and technology. Most companies have a team of people responsible for implementing new technology. They may design a plan for how the technology will be rolled out to the company, but it never occurs to them to have a people plan. As a result, many new technology solutions end up abandoned or under utilized, and IT is left wondering where they went wrong.
The need for a solution is sold internally by outlining all of the ROI benefits, efficiency gains, and cost reduction realizations. The emphasis is on the technology and less on how (or if) people will adopt it. In fact, I’ll contend the harder a solution is sold internally on these factors the less likely the solution will be seen as a success.
I recognize the quandary of course, solutions need to be sold hard in order to get internal buy in from those with the budgets. Yet, the people part of the success equation needs to be addressed differently.
For example, when presented with fancy, sophisticated tools that promise to deliver the next evolution in the workplace, people’s expectations for the solution start to skyrocket. The more benefits and features you present to employees the higher the expected satisfaction. But what they get versus what they expect provides them less satisfaction even though the results are good.
When it was just Oracle, IBM, or SAP there was low expectations or sometimes no expectations about employee value. It was just an unfriendly tool that gave the workforce access to departmental data. Yet perceived satisfaction was higher because overall expectations were low.
The reason it is was okay before is because there was an opportunity for a pleasant surprise. Since you didn’t expect much (low expectation) from the ERP providers, any incremental improvement appeared to be seen as good (higher satisfaction).
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Even though the tools are better, they may be seen as worse. Sell the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 with decision makers, but set a conservative expectation with employees. Enterprise 2.0 promises to forever change the workplace. I believe that. But due to all of hyperbolic claims from vendors, special care must be taken to lower expectations to increase perceived success.
As a reminder I have created a few whitepapers to help you with your implementation strategies. They are high level guides which you can modify to meet your needs.
(Cross-posted @ Seek Omega)