13 of the rules of introduction of IT systems
How to avoid the loss of money and time when investing in information technology
We, system integrators, are ashamed of our market: in the whole world it grew during the crisis, but in Russia it fell. So, the owners of companies are confident that their profits are not related to investments in information technology.
For the reputation of all the integrators being watched. We have a small company, and it is not profitable for me to implement projects that will not bring money to people or will not be effective. What is it? There is a strong prejudice against the introduction of IT-technologies. When you offer customers a tool that can solve their problem, they say: we have and without this business goes. There are few markets in Russia where there is fierce competition. Where it exists, for example among mobile operators, the question of why technology is needed does not arise.
Paradoxically, projects that save money go harder than those that are in fashion. When you come up with a solution and say that it will help save money, reduce the number of project participants and salary costs, you give examples of Western companies that have implemented this technology and achieved such an effect, the answer is one: expensive. If you invest $1 million and save $5 million — is it expensive?
On the other hand, there are too many projects that either did not take place at all or did not bring the desired effect to the companies. And it does not matter whether it was about the implementation of CRM (Customers Relationship Management) or the organization of a call center, video conferencing or project management system. Mistakes are the same. What does a business owner need to know to avoid them?
— The employee of IT service in the company is closer to the market of integrators, than to that branch in which the company works, — owing to education, professional and not only professional interests. In the business of his company, he usually understands worse than it. This leads to the fact that it works more on our market than on the business of its shareholders.
— The market is highly susceptible to fashion. Vendors invest in the promotion of their new solution, someone installs it, and the wave begins: “Vasya has, I also need.” The fifth year, for example, it is fashionable to implement CRM. Before the crisis, the fashion for call centers began. Sometimes it seems that they are created simply because it is interesting. Why, for example, a call center for five agents? If you conduct a short-term advertising campaign, if we are not talking about the processing of confidential information about customer accounts, call center services can be outsourced. We must assume that it is more profitable.
— Owners do not need a narrow specialist in information technology, but a person who understands how technology can help increase sales or reduce costs. He has to walk and watch how people work, what moments can be automated. In practice, this is rare. Those projects where the initiator is not the “it specialist” of the company, but the Director of sales or development — people who clearly know what task they want to solve – go faster and much more efficiently. The initiator of the project should be the one who will use this project. Otherwise, the idea dies at the level of discussion of the commercial proposal.
— Technology is not a panacea. The same CRM is just one of the systems for automating processes organized in a certain way. An example of such a system — the Soviet library, where the letters are distributed cards to all readers. You know who took it, when last accessed, there is debt. If the business processes are organized in this way, the implementation occurs without problems. And if we are called to automate chaos, it will be automated chaos. The same goes for other systems. Often the implementation of an IT project is comparable to the diagnosis of a business — as soon as the owner or a top Manager begins to describe to us the business process that needs to be automated, he understands that either he does not know how it works, or it is not optimally arranged. If the business does not make any effort to change the situation and does not think how to build processes inside, there will be no effect from the implementation. The money spent in vain.
— We always ask how the company sees its business in three years. It makes no sense to introduce an expensive system if it solves only momentary problems. It is difficult to plan anything in our country. But at least the company needs to know what’s going on inside. Once we were invited to make a call center from scratch. The client indicated what power is needed, based on the data that calls 1000 people a day. And it turned out that they counted only the load of operators, in fact, the number of calls — 30 000 per day, just before people did not get through. And within a month after the start of the project on the new equipment capacity was not enough. It took another 250 jobs for the company to be able to take the money that people could not give before because they could not get through.
— There are no identical projects. Even if we take two banks of the same size, the business processes in them will be built differently, because the owners are different. In order to calculate whether a particular solution is profitable for his business, what result can be achieved, the client must give us information about his business. For example, if we are talking about video conferencing, it is necessary to calculate how much he can save on travel, travel, hotels, how much is the time of top managers spent on travel and waiting at airports. In one Bank, the decision that it is necessary to implement the project on corporate telephony, was made instantly, as soon as they considered what could be savings. The Bank has an extensive and geographically distributed branch network, PBX branches were connected through a common telephone network. Only due to the fact that the PBX was combined into one system, using broadband data channels, the costs decreased by 25%. If the client has never been puzzled by the collection of such data, we can not prepare a feasibility study, where it would be possible to show the planned effect of the implementation.
— It is necessary to understand that the implementation of the project of the two companies. It will never be different. There are representatives of the customer who at some point stop giving information, delay terms, say that they “didn’t give the order”. This is not our kitchen, these are problems within the company: people are not motivated to make this project to make the business better. No project is 100% on plan. But if both sides control the process and are open, all errors can be corrected.
— Ideally, the client should lead the project by a person who has enough authority and has a lively, very personal incentive to do this project well. Otherwise, the project will never be implemented or will be implemented poorly. And this will be the fault of the system integrator, as usual. We had a record for discussing the project — three years. Apparently, inside the company just do not understand why they need it.
— All technical measures should be supported by administrative measures. How to make sellers use the CRM system? Somewhere deep down, they know what they need. But this is an extra job — all the negotiations, all the reports to upload to the computer. And scary. The main capital of the seller — his customers, the less they know about the surrounding, the more comfortable it is. And here it is necessary to reveal everything. The Manager can at any time see what the employee is doing. Internal sabotage to innovations will always be. The only way to avoid it is to make it impossible to work without this system. For example, to e-mail went only through CRM. Or set the creation of a contact card in CRM at each phone call.
— There is the cost of purchasing the system and the cost of implementation. And calculating the costs, it is necessary to take into account the cost of system maintenance. Often the business does not want to pay dearly for the project, he does not understand that, paying at the same time 3 kopecks, will spread 30 kopecks all subsequent months for the maintenance of the system. And the project will cost much more in the end.
— There are no systems that work autonomously. So, the data in it zakolachivayutsya handles and transferred from it to other systems, too, handles — it’s labor, and errors. Any system must be integrated with all adjacent systems.
— The system can’t be cut in granite. Business is developing, the system should be improved and changed. This is what the market seems to be moving towards. Integration is an implementation and maintenance service. Integrator — family doctor of business.
— Service costs money. I had a case when the client something broke, the expert repaired everything in 15 minutes, and the client asks: “For what I gave money?”Immediately remembered the joke about “checkers or go.” She explained that if he needed it to work quickly, the services of a professional cost so much. If I caught up with 10 people who would be busy week, it would be more clear, for what it is paid? It is necessary to calculate what is cheaper — support the system or its simple.