13 Mar How to Realize the Value of Product Implementations
Many sales methodologies are grounded in determining customers needs, then aligning a specific solution to fit those requirements. Many software companies even have prebuilt solutions to speed delivery and reduce cost, assuming the canned solution meets the customers needs exactly. This can be a good starting point. Any additional value services may or may not be defined early on to create a well rounded customer centric solution. The sales process is tailored to ensure the solution aligns to business and value is well defined. So why do so many product implementations go off the rails during delivery.
One major issue is when a consultant has a workshop asking “what are your requirements”. This is a very well intentioned question that aims to ensure that the customer needs are fully met. However, new customers generally lack the technical knowledge and product best practices. Very quickly conversations move away from business value to technical requirements that do not always provide the expected value that business intended.
Here are some tips to ensure that the delivery process better aligns to the value outlined during the sales process.
Be agile. Big bang approaches rarely work.
Start small and build on. Many development teams have learned that trying to build the perfect solution, will find that it will ultimately not meet the customers needs and be too late to market. By the time the product is ready the market has likely shifted and a competitor has taken your market share. Utilize an agile approach to all implementations. Scope will change for most projects before they are completed. so start with the basics, quick wins, and high value features first. Regular demos and reviews with executive leadership and key stakeholders will ensure continuous alignment.
Align with the business vision, objectives, and goals.
First you will need to define your vision, objectives, and goals of the company and organization. “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get there”. In the end if you feel that you did not get what you wanted (cost to much, took to long, did not meet the needs), look back at the beginning of the project and see if you clearly defined the value that will be delivered and how it aligns to the organizational goals. If there is not a direct, tangible, and measurable benefit to the business or customer then stop work and define it.
Define KPIs for success
If you can’t measure success, then what is the purpose. Almost all sales are based on some value (increase revenue, decrease cost, better customer service, speed to market, increase market share, etc). The improvements made to the business through technology should always justify the cost. If the ROI is not there then reduce the scope. If there is an ROI, then there is always a metric. Define what the metric will be and how to track it. Don’t forget that most metrics require a baseline to compare against later. Finally, put together a dashboard that shows progress over time.
Prioritize on a regular basis
Should changing a color of a button be prioritized over the new feature that will get you the sale that adds another $300K to your sales. Every feature should have a tangible business value (market value, capability building, mitigate risks, or intangibles). These value assessments should be used to continually prioritize and re-prioritize your efforts. The reality is that some requirements may never be implemented. However, those features provide the most value will be delivered faster and with more regular success.
If an implementation is taking too long or if it is not providing the value you expect, it is never too late to stop, slow down, and refocus your teams and partners on the business vision, objectives, and goals. We are all working for the same goal and with the same honest intentions. Technical resources can find themselves more concerned about implementation details, rather than why the solution should is being implemented. Remember it is always about the business goals, which should always be providing the best service and product to meet the customer’s needs.
Cloudland Technologies has been providing business value engagements for 10+ years. We strive to focus on the value of delivery at all points in the implementation process. We utilize the agile methodology to stay aligned with the business and drive delivery success. If you are at the beginning of your Salesforce or Cloud journey, or are ready to to build onto the value of these technologies, give us a call or set up an appointment for a free consult.