It’s a shocking statistic for any credit union that has a technology implementation project on the horizon: Analyst firm Gartner estimates that 55% to 75% of all Enterprise Resource Planning implementation projects fail to meet their objectives.
Why is this and what can your credit union do to avoid having your next tech implementation project run into these pitfalls? It really comes down to the difference between effective and ineffective change management related to technology, just as it does when you change any other process or system.
It is important to proactively plan ahead to help you head off technology implementation issues. The tools below can help you ensure your next technology implementation project, large or small, happens smoothly and successfully:
Tool 1: Implementation champions. While your credit union may assign technology implementation to the IT team or a leader on your senior executive team, it is equally important to have a group of champions for each project in the areas affected by the implementation. Having champions from across your organization will create support from day one for any changes. It will also ensure that multiple perspectives are considered, which will help you avoid as many potential pitfalls as possible.
Tool 2: A total touchpoint checklist. This is a critical tool that many organizations overlook: having a list, or better yet, a map of the people and processes that your solution implementation will impact. By having a clear picture of all the touchpoints for your technology, you’ll be able to manage issues arising due to changes in processes and personnel and be more efficient in every aspect of your work.
Tool 3: A strategic plan with outcomes for every project. It may seem like a no-brainer in hindsight to start with the end in mind, but as our support and implementation team at SmartVault will attest, many organizations try to skip this step with negative results. Make sure you have a clear use case for your technology implementation and keep that front and center as you roll out your new solution in your credit union.
Tool 4: Research potential pitfalls and models of success. Utilize this tool in your credit union’s technology implementation arsenal before you start your project. The best place to research pitfalls and success stories is by reaching out to other credit unions that have implemented the same solution that you want to use and the solution provider themselves. They should be more than willing to put you in touch with other users who can offer advice from their own experiences.
Tool 5: A comprehensive communication plan. Communicating both the progress of your implementation, when it’s successful, and any issues you are running into is critical. Keeping everyone in the loop will help you sidestep short-term stress and problems for employees and preserve long-term support for the implementation itself.
Tool 6: A contingency and debriefing plan. Chances are, even with the best-laid plans, your credit union’s technology implementation plan will not go exactly as you predicted. It’s best to accept this fact and have a contingency plan at the ready rather than taking a wait-and-see approach. In addition, make sure you build time to debrief as part of your project schedule, too. That way, you will have time to evaluate the success of your implementation at every stage of the project and hopefully avoid the need for a contingency plan along the way.
Implementing new technologies may seem daunting for your credit union, but if you prepare ahead of time with the tools presented above, you’ll decrease your chances of running into pitfalls with your project. Never underestimate the power of soliciting buy-in across your organization, planning, ongoing communication, and frequent debriefs to keep your implementation on track. In addition, be sure to ask your technology vendor for support along the way. Ideally, they will be your greatest resource and partner in the implementation process.