Last week GeoNexus attended the Maximo Utilities Working Group in Portland. The theme of the conference was “Making it Work” and as such, the presenters addressed the challenges of implementing the Maximo product in their presentations. As we sat listening to the speakers we were struck by how similar the issues that utilities are experiencing during asset management implementations are to the issues experienced during an integration project. Much of the advice given for Maximo implementations rang true to what we recommend for our integration projects.
So that got us thinking, what does it take to make an integration project successful? We started recalling our most successful customers and came up with three of the most important ways to help ensure a successful implementation and ultimately receive the full benefits from your integration.
1. Interdepartmental Engagement
This point cannot be stressed enough, in order to be successful with integration you need to have the right people involved. We had a customer who recently reimplemented our solution and they took this very seriously. During their first attempt at implementation there was only one GIS Analyst working on the project, no EAM engagement, and an overall lack of internal awareness and support. For their reimplementation effort they made a concerted effort to seek investment from key stakeholders and involved them in the process. This included support from the GIS Team, the EAM Team, as well as input from their IT Deputy Director. Having all these voices in the room allowed them to make data decisions and create interdepartmental awareness about the purpose and value of the product.
Training is another critical piece of the puzzle during an implementation. We have observed time and time again an urge to reduce costs by trimming training; this is ill advised. When you reduce the number of training hours or trainees you are losing the opportunity to build a foundation of internal knowledge about the product. When only one person is trained and then that person leaves or retires taking that knowledge with them, the successor often has no idea how to operate the software and is unable to take full advantage of it. By training multiple people from the get-go and implementing a process for training new hires you ensure that the knowledge will stay and grow inside your organization.
Even after you have your software installed and configured, the work shouldn’t end. Reliable integration options should include error reporting that informs you about errors, discrepancies, and orphans that are discovered during synchronization. Inevitably, unless you have perfect data, errors will occur. Having processes in place to handle these errors from the start will save you from errors piling up and becoming overwhelming. The training piece, mentioned above, can also be placed in this sustainment category. You not only need to have a robust training program during the project, but continued training after the project ends is also extremely critical.
You can have the best product on the market but with a lack of interdepartmental buy-in, zero or little training, and an insufficient sustainment plan for the integration, your project will likely fail. Making sure you have the right people involved, training multiple stakeholders, and planning processes to handle errors – that will certainly come up – will save you time, money, and help you receive the full benefits of your software.
Want more information on ways to make your integration project more fruitful? Contact our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.