05 Apr 5 ways to increase the success rate of your enterprise technology project
by John Pora
As the former COO of CirrusOne, and with over 18 years’ experience in overseeing and implementing customer services practices for software companies, I can tell you stories about strategies that turned this industry on its ear, and others that fell flat on their face. Either way, there was something to be learned. I am proud of the process we created and the success we accomplished as CirrusOne; in a space where there are many failures, we had none.
Now, as part of the Simplus team, I am delighted to unify those successful work philosophies with those Ryan Westwood and the Simplus team have worked hard to build. At CirrusOne, we boasted an excellent workplace culture and a loyal customer base, and we’re excited to bring these five principles that buoyed our success to the Simplus culture.
1. Work within the confines of the product
Finding a balance between what the customer wants versus the product’s capabilities is one philosophy CirrusOne brings to the Simplus table. It’s been my experience that some projects go wrong because the systems integrator allows the customer to customize outside of what the product is meant to do. Customer satisfaction is important, but sometimes the best service we can provide isn’t defined by giving clients everything they think they want. Rather, the best service is making sure the system they have is providing the best solution. Our focus must include questions about maintainability, upgradeability, and long-term success. With few exceptions, it’s better to stay within the confines of what any given platform can do.
2. Communicate parameters clearly
Some platforms, such as Oracle, are built to deliver enterprise-class solutions and scale CPQ. This involves complex channel management, pricing, and discounting, and highly complex configuration challenges that need to be discussed with the customer.
Having candid and frequent conversations with the client about the requirements, use cases, and system functionality is standard practice when we begin a project. To compel a successful outcome, it’s essential to discuss the budget, scope, and other requirements along with what a product can or should do.
3. Run projects as a series of mini-projects
The best way to eliminate risk is to run every project phase independently, as a mini-project. Think of climbing Mount Kilamanjaro—you need a series of base camps before you can get to the top. Technology projects should work the same way. Take your project budget, for example. If you see the budget as a whole rather than a series of small project budgets, you may be tempted to steal from future phases of a project. In this scenario, you run the risk of running out of budget just as you’re getting to a critical point in the project. When this happens, the perception is that your Systems Integrator is holding you hostage to get your project completed. Instead, our team initiates and drives the difficult conversations regarding scope and budget at every phase, so the customer never feels disconnected or taken advantage of.
4. Be proactive, not reactive
We are the experts!. When it comes to implementation and integration, we’ve seen it all. And, we rely on that expertise to identify and anticipate potential problems before they become obstacles. It’s our job to lead customers, not the other way around. We believe that every member of the project team has a responsibility to our customers to keep them out of harm’s way. We take this responsibility very seriously and possess the discipline to monitor and manage risk and drive the right conversations to meet the level of quality the clients expect on a proactive and ongoing basis.
5. Focus on early adoption
At Simplus, we operate in terms of “speed-to-value.” Customers are paying for licenses from day one. So the quicker we can get them up and running, the better it is for our customers.
Starting at the first design meeting, we discuss solution adoption and organizational change management so that we get the right people involved early in the process. We develop a plan to involve the stakeholders that need to adopt the technology and how we’ll give them the white-glove treatment to help them become change champions. Our success comes from creating specific solution designs that become roadmaps to direct new scopes of work. We are focused on achieving one goal – successfully getting customers to a successful platform implementation with a high user adoption rate.
Your enterprise technology project won’t be done right if it’s not guided by these five principles: working within the confines, communicating parameters, running projects as mini-projects, focusing on early adoption, and being proactive. Following these tips can set up any CPQ endeavor for the utmost success. Success simplified, that is.
John is the VP of Oracle Professional Services here at Simplus. He’s an accomplished business leader with more than 20 years of experience in developing and maintaining rigorous deployment and customer service practices for high-growth enterprise software companies.
If your business is ready to explore CPQ cloud technology, get in touch!