No, not the San Francisco party band, but those tenets and processes that were once the basic building blocks on which packaged software implementations and SI projects were built. In some surprisingly established organizations, they seem to be missing in action.
Is it just me or is there a developing trend whereby as technology advances, so the frameworks, methods and rigor that underpin successful project planning and execution are receding into the background? In fact, with the functional complexity of packaged software increasing, and the resulting increase in flexibility and implementation options, these fundamentals become even more important.
From a client perspective the fundamentals start with the buying process, from defining business requirements down to a level of specificity that enables effective software selection to selecting the right implementation partners to the due diligence around those decisions. Picking the right partners includes making sure that they bring not only robust, proven products, but that they also leverage suitable methods, approaches and experience to assist in the implementation process – and beyond.
Despite occasional claims to the contrary, commercial off-the-shelf business software will not implement itself. Even cloud hosted solutions have to be tailored to a company’s specific business processes. If complex business problems require complex software solutions, then surely complex software solutions require robust, rigorous project management and flexible, proven methodologies. In addition, clients need to ensure that they undertake solid due diligence in order to endorse or refute software makers’ claims.
Today, there are some tremendous innovations in the world of COTS, CRM and ERP software. For example, the growth of in-memory computing is revolutionizing the way organizations can perform analytics and business intelligence in a fraction of the time it took yesterday.
Similarly, the advent of service oriented architecture and the ability to leverage different modules of disparate COTS solutions combined with best of breed and bespoke applications in a seamless environment means everything is now plug and play, right? Wrong. It means organizations have to work even harder to make sure that business benefits are aligned with the target architecture and that the implementation process can deliver that architecture, wait for it, on time and on budget, and as designed.
At West Monroe Partners, aligning desired business outcomes with the investment in process and technology transformation is fundamental to delivering a return on investment for our clients. Are you seeing similar results from your internal project management efforts?