Implementing large-scale IT systems can seem like an overwhelming task for any organization, especially when working with publicly procured solutions. However, by following the right approach, it can be a highly rewarding experience. Our experienced senior subject matter experts have identified practical tips that have helped our clients achieve their implementation goals successfully.
- Secure top management support: It is absolutely crucial to have the backing of top management to drive business transformation within the own organization as well as cultivate a healthy relationship with the solution provider—especially as the project sets the basis for a long period of close collaboration during the later maintenance phase.
- Embrace change: Allow room for scope and requirement changes during the project to adapt to evolving needs and ensure the final solution meets all necessary requirements. Identify and empower early adopters who are motivated to take the lead during the change management process. Be open to new cultures since most of the solution providers are global actors.
- Explore cloud solutions: Consider cloud solutions, which provide benefits such as flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, to achieve better system performance. Make sure your cloud solution provider has a clear and well-developed implementation approach, as well as best-practice business processes that suit your organization’s needs.
- Build a decisive team: Assemble a team that can take ownership of the project and makes informed decisions to drive results. Often, the best team leader is not necessarily the most knowledgeable team member but the one who excels in decision-making, taking action, and motivating other team members.
- Be pragmatic: Your current IT system is most likely well-suited to all your business needs since years of enhancements and gradual adjustments. Your new IT solution will never be the best fit in all areas of your organization—that is just something you have to accept as a trade-off being part of a much larger journey together with your solution provider.
- Don’t select a project method without consideration of the consequences: Different methods can significantly impact IT implementation project success. The organization’s needs as well as aspects of public procurement must be considered when structuring, for example, program activities and contractual terms. Alignment between these and the chosen methodology must be assured whether selecting a traditional waterfall approach or a more agile one.
- Don’t do everything at once: Set the foundation in terms of system architecture and core processes before discussing finer areas of process details, routines, and development. This will save time and resources, as well as limit the need for rework later on in the project. During periods of low progress, it can also be effective to make some work streams temporarily inactive to allow resources to focus on the most critical issues.
- Don’t underestimate complexity: IT implementation cannot be assumed to be plug-and-play. It’s essential to have the necessary resources and expertise within the organization to implement the solution successfully. Effective communication with the solution provider—and within your organization—is critical to explain needs and understand requirements. Underestimating the complexity can lead to costly delays and failure to achieve desired outcomes.
Last but not least: Make sure to have fun and support each other as true team members during this journey. Many who have been part of a large-scale IT and process implementation project refer to it as one of the most challenging and frustrating times in their professional life, but also as one of the most thrilling and developing experiences in their career. 1+1 can certainly be much more than 3 if you manage your large-scale IT implementation well!