The right technology can change your business. It can have an immediate impact on your bottom line, empower your front line to work smarter and faster, and help achieve longstanding organizational goals. But selecting a new technology tool and actually implementing it are very different.
It can be immensely challenging, with issues arising such as:
- Integrations with existing systems
- Training time for your front-line staff
- The cost of implementation and training
- Maintenance and management considerations
There’s a reason so many organizations spend months or even years piloting different platforms in an attempt to resolve long-standing issues, only to never fully onboard any of them. Let’s take a closer look at why this happens and the steps you can take to avoid it in your organization.
Who Are You Promoters and Sponsors?
Before anything else, identify your key stakeholders. Who will lead the way in implementing and managing the new platform? Who will have the biggest impact with your front-line workers, helping them to fully understand the benefits of what you’re doing?
The fastest way to lose traction when piloting new software is to force the responsibility on to someone who doesn’t have time or doesn’t believe the software will be beneficial for the company. If the project leader isn’t enthusiastic, no one will be. To ensure you find a true champion who understands the value of what you are trying to do and can guide the front line through its implementation, go beyond the high-level considerations.
Beyond the potential cost savings, what motivates your implementation team? How will they benefit from this software and what tangible way can you show them the value of their efforts? Most of the time, it’s going to be about time and money, but there are key elements that matter as much as if not more than those:
- Training and what front line workers are expected to learn.
- Onboarding and how long it will take to get back up to speed.
- Support for any questions or issues that arise during the pilot.
Sure, it’s important to know exactly how a new piece of software will integrate with existing software and hardware tools, but don’t neglect how it will impact your employees and subsequently, how they will respond.
Managing Potential Changes to Your IT Ecosystem
When evaluating new software, the amount of disruption should be directly related to the value you gain from the pilot. IT leadership will push back strongly against platforms that require the integration of entirely new hardware or systems that don’t “play nice” with what you already have in place. Implementations like stationary work interfaces, smart glasses, and new proprietary hardware can all be difficult to work into a carefully balanced IT ecosystem.
Web interfaces and apps are one way around this, allowing teams to use the devices they already have – smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers – to interact with the new software. At the same time, even in the case of new hardware implementation, consider the potential benefits.
Anything that eliminates paper from the equation, for example, can be a huge boost to not just overall productivity, but general accuracy and quality.
Defining and Measuring Your Goals as an Organization
The third piece of a successful pilot launch is having clearly defined goals that can be measured against your efforts. Specifically, how much time should this tool save? How much paper do you want to reduce? What are the specific metrics for quality and productivity you will be tracking?
This is where having an active champion who is fully engaged with the project can help. They will be better equipped to evaluate and identify what the pilot should be able to provide and then measure the performance over time.
Overcoming Pilot Challenges to Create Value
Getting stuck in pilot purgatory can be exhausting. It saps the energy out of an organization to try and do new things while using up valuable resources on tools that may not be a good fit. It’s one reason Andonix created Smart Work Station™ to onboard in just one day so companies can start seeing benefits almost immediately.
Learn more about our pilot implementation guidelines in our guide to preparing for the process or by downloading our flow chart to decide if you’re ready to take the next step. You can also read our eBook about best practices and next steps for successfully implementing a connected worker platform integration in your company.