It sounds like a simple question, and you’re probably thinking: Yes, of course, I do! The business is operating, my staff is getting paid, and everything is working as it should. That means we have enough resources, right?
But IT transformation takes more than that. You need to look deeper to understand if you have everything you need to embark on a transformation project. Even a simple application launch can tax your resources beyond their limits.
We’re not just talking about capital. We’re talking about the resources you need to identify, purchase, and implement new technology. These resources include the time, knowledge, budget, experience, and willingness of your team. Together, these resources make up the capacity of your business to change.
What are the “Resources” You Need?
In our experience, the resources you need for a successful technology purchase are different than the resources you need to operate your business. There are 7 key resources you need for a successful transformation project:
1. Skills and Expertise
The most important resource is your ability to understand and manage new technology. In order to purchase and launch a new solution, you need to be able to understand the technical aspects of the tool, as well as the financial data validating any cost savings. Beyond simple understanding, you need to have the skill to move from your current state to future state.
It sounds overly simple. But your team’s skill is a resource. If you don’t have enough technical, financial, or organizational knowledge, you’ll be unable to get your purchase off the ground.
Given the demands of the attention economy, Attention is currently the scarcest resource in the workplace. Having the patience and dedication to pay attention to what actually matters can allow you to foresee the incoming risks your business will soon come across.
Workers are more distracted than ever. Pre-pandemic that stats weren’t good.
According to a 2018 survey by Udemy, more than 70% of workers report feeling distracted on the job, with 16% saying they almost always feel unfocused. All of this lost work is costing American businesses upward of $650 billion per year, and it is leading to vicious cycles of employee dissatisfaction: Productivity loss causes a longer workday, which causes stress and frustration, which leads to a lack of engagement.
So when it comes to your staff having the time and attention to manage major tech implementations on top of their “regular” job, chances are attention is a scarce resource.
3. Project Delivery Capacity
Does your company have an internal PMO? Have your team members overseen a large-scale tech migration before? Coordinating between business leaders, vendor engineers, and internal resources is a complex task that requires more than just checking a few boxes on a status call. Effective project delivery begins before the contract is signed, and continues through test and turn-up. You need to ask yourself: who will coordinate all the moving parts, and do they have the capacity to do this on top of their other responsibilities?
Third-party consulting firms like CXponent can help you iron out the Path Forward and Level of Effort (LOE) to ensure that your capacity isn’t overburdening your workforce but is still producing outstanding results. They can also work with existing project management resources to ensure nothing is missed in the preparations.
Change Management, Operating Readiness & Capacity
All transformation projects bring change. Do you have the resources to document these changes and confirm your future state?
Proper change management continues throughout the life of a project. It takes time to detail new changes, communicate them to stakeholders, and troubleshoot problems along the way. Defining your new operating model also takes time and effort. Implementing a new technical solution requires you to review your entire existing environment. Gathering the right stakeholders, confirming business goals, and articulating new business processes is a large undertaking. Failure to do this means that your new tool will be used incorrectly, or worse, won’t be used at all.
The resource of time can be defined in two ways. First, it’s the bandwidth and capacity of your project team. Are they currently utilized 100% on day-to-day tasks? If that’s the case, who’s going to shoulder that burden while they work on the project?
Secondly, time is the timeline you have to get your transformation project complete. The timeline can be impacted by busy seasons, change windows, contract end dates, compliance requirements, or leadership demands.
Balancing the demands of your team’s time with the demands of your business’s timeline can create immense stress, but it’s imperative to nail this down.
5. Business Knowledge & Engagement
Your understanding and knowledge of your business are critical to any transformation project’s success. You need to be able to translate business goals into technical solutions. If your company isn’t aligned on project goals and success factors, you’ll waste resources rowing in opposite directions. The knowledge of your business’s goals serves as the compass to your decision-making, to trade-offs, to prepping for negotiations so you can meet more favorable outcomes.
This amount of knowledge is also powerful for risk reduction. This applies to understanding the future of the business and its historical context. Most organizations have some level of undocumented or tribal knowledge that sets them apart from the rest.
The financial assets you need to get the business running. It’s best that we have a sufficient reserve for capital by being meticulous about your expenses. With IT transformation, there are two kinds of expenses:
Capital Expenses (CAPEX)
These are usually one-time expenses. We recommended investing CAPEX on minimizing impending risks that could jeopardize the project. For risks that we can control, it’s worth funding extra resources to mitigate those risks.
Operating Expenses (OPEX)
These recurring costs keep the business afloat and operating. The goal of any transformation project is to keep these as low as possible without the risk of underfunding any essential systems we have for operations.
7. Vendor Management – Relationship Capital
A good relationship with your software vendor is key to long-term product success. Together, you’re both invested in making your company shine. But you need to consider – how much time can I realistically spend on this vendor relationship? How important is this relationship to the overall health of our company?
A key business application may require a full-time team member to manage the vendor relationship. A more niche application may not need much time at all.
Do You Have All of Those Resources?
Assessing your company’s resources is key to the success of any transformation. Before embarking on a large-scale purchase and implementation, you need to understand the resources your company currently has, and the resources it will need to successfully complete any project.
If you feel lost, CXponent can help you get a holistic look at your organization’s resources and provide a constructive solution to enhance the resources you lack and sustain where you stand strong.