Technology should provide huge benefits in procurement. So why do so many projects fail at the implementation phase?
Join our webinar on the 7th of November and find out how to drive successful technology implementation.
If you’ve been a procurement professional for any length of time, this is probably a familiar situation.
Your company has decided to implement new technology in the procurement function. A date for go-live has been set, and some training has been arranged for current users. There are grumblings about yet another system to be used, but that doesn’t fit with current procurement processes.
When you ask around, very few, if any, of the department have been asked to input into this decision. The company certainly doesn’t seem to have spoken to people who are actually going to be using the system.
When the time comes, the technology is implemented, and training is rolled out. The procurement team accept the new system (perhaps grudgingly), and start to use it.
Within a few weeks, the (very short) honeymoon period is over, and the issues and bugs have appeared. Far from improving or simplifying the processes, the technology isn’t working out as planned. It’s begun to make even simple tasks more difficult.
Within months, the shiny, new, purpose-built technology is being used for the bare minimum that the procurement team can get away with, and they have begun to come up with novel ways to work around the system.
Difference Between Success and Failure
While situations like this may be decreasing in number, they still occur with uncomfortable regularity. When it comes to technology across organisations, not just in procurement, implementation is the stage in the process that is most associated with the success or failure of the project.
Ahead of the free webinar between Oracle and Procurious, Darryl Griffiths, Acting MD at Enrich, and implementation expert, shares his key reasons for why implementations fail.
Alignment of Strategy and Technology
Ensuring that the business, procurement and operational strategy all aligns is the first step in this process. However, too often, strategies aren’t aligned, or have been created in isolation without proper discuss.
Without fully understanding the strategy, the objectives for the technology implementation can’t be fully understood. This can lead to the wrong technology for the project being selected, and not being fit for purpose against the objectives.
Lack of Change Management Plan
The plan for how the technology is going to be implemented should be laid out clearly from the start. Frequently, organisations work towards their go-live date, but give little thought to the short, medium, and long-term plan following the launch.
Too few plans take into account training requirements, or how new users will receive this training when they start in the department.
Lack of Communication or Champions
Without good communication, it’s likely to be a fight to get buy-in. Without buy-in, the implementation is doomed to failure.
Organisations don’t take into account the end users of the technology. This leads to the ‘why’ of the project never being disseminated.
This leads to the perception of new technology being forced on them, and breeds resistance. This resistance undermines the project, creating a situation where users are expecting the technology to fail, rather than having an open mind on how it can help them.
Poor or Out-of-Date Data
The old technology didn’t work properly because the data wasn’t right. But there’s no data clean-up been carried out before the new technology is implemented. Which means the new system won’t work any better.
There is a vast amount of data available to procurement, which technology is frequently implemented to help sift through. However, putting poor data into the system, as well as not keeping the data up to date, will inevitably result in bad data out.
Built to Last vs. Built to Change
In years gone by, products were built to last. It was common for things to last 10 years or more. However, in a marketplace and environment where agility and flexibility are valued, a built-to-last system may not fit the bill.
If the system hasn’t been built to be changed easily, then it’s going to go out of date very quickly. And it’s unlikely that budget will be available for a new system after 1-2 years, when it was designed to last 10 years.
Secret of Success
It’s easy to pin-point where technology implementation fails, but far harder to ensure that it’s a success from the outset. However, if the right strategies are in place, and all the planning is carried out, procurement gives itself a greater chance of success.
If you want to find out more about how to manage your implementation, and hear more from Darryl on how you can set yourself up for success, join our free webinar on the 7th of November.
Darryl will join Oracle Business Development Direction, David Hobson, in a discussion chaired by Procurious Founder, Tania Seary. The webinar is aimed at helping Procurement Leaders come to terms with volatility, understand the role and benefits of technology, especially cloud, in procurement strategy, planning and decision making.
For more information, and to register, visit our dedicated page.