You want to implement software out of the box? Here’s how

michael-garrett2.jpgHave you ever experienced this scenario? You’ve delivered a software implementation, it gets into user acceptance testing and users don’t like what they see.

 

This is a classic situation in IT—and unfortunately it occurs all the time. But why has it occurred? And how do you stop yourself from getting into this position?

 

We see this quite a lot in HP Software Professional Services, particularly in organisations that try to implement something out of the box. Customers will say, ‘Well, we want to go out of the box’. But then they don’t lay the proper groundwork. The software gets in front of users and they’ve got all sorts of problems with it. At some level the organisation hasn’t considered the impact this change is going to have on their business.

 

The 3 benefits of OOB adoption

Many of our customers want to adopt software out of the box (OOB). They’re looking to achieve benefits like these:

 

  • Improvement of where they are as an organisation
  • Significantly lower cost of implementation
  • Significantly lower cost of through-life ownership of the product

 

Like most enterprise software vendors, we build industry best practices into our products. So if you install HP software products out of the box, with minimal or no configuration and customization, then you’re automatically adopting best practices, and you achieve lower costs as a result. It’s no wonder this is something many of our customers want.

 

The challenges of OOB

I know from experience that actually achieving OOB adoption can be challenging. Most organisations look to implement software that gets them to that best-practice level. Many are not there yet. So implementing this new software can represent a major change. The challenge is that people don’t want to change.

 

Often when you show a new technology to users, they look to make changes. They’ll say, ‘Ah yeah, but we need it to do it this way and we’ve got this thing over here’. And then you start accepting change into the program and the entire program shifts. This puts your adoption at risk. Suddenly you’re no longer looking at OOB; instead you’ve got this increasingly customised and configured solution.

 

The importance of managing change

If you want OOB benefits, you need to really drive OOB adoption. This means bending the organisation around the technology, rather than the other way around. If you’re driving OOB, changes to the program should be absolutely minimal. Change should be highly governed and incredibly rigorous.

 

One important thing I learnt working with a global fast-moving consumer goods company who wanted to get OOB software adopted worldwide is that use cases are just as important in this situation as in any other. There is a temptation to say ‘We don’t need use cases because the software functionality is already defined’. Well, yes, but your use of it is not defined, and if you are going OOB the usage is what is going to have to change.  This means there needs to be more rigour not less in getting the user community heavily involved with IT to co-create and sign off on use cases upfront before implementation starts. Right upfront, you need to start that rigour in not accepting changes without senior-level governance.

 

Really, this is a management of change issue. You need your management of change, governance and adoption plans built into a program from the start. If you haven’t brought the organisation with you, by the time you get to user acceptance testing you’re going to see some heavy resistance. The problem is that technologists within a program don’t necessarily drive that management of change element as much as they should do.

 

Of course, it’s a balancing act. Sometimes you do need to accept change into a program (without over-configuring). You want to bend the organisation, not break it. Understand the impact that the change will have on your business—plan for it and manage it—and you’ll be in a much better position to drive acceptance and adoption. Only then will you get the benefits of implementing out of the box. I’ll write more about how to drive adoption in my next post.

 

Learn more about HP Software Professional Services.

 

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