By John Worne

Hard-pressed managers need to see an immediate direct local benefit from technology roll-outs before they’ll truly invest time in them.

Many IT implementations are conceived and sold on the ‘value-added’ benefits to the whole organisation. I call these ‘Nirvana benefits’ and they are seldom realised. 

Line and business unit managers will often play along with ‘corporate’ initiatives but won’t fully dedicate time, resources – or crucially make necessary changes to their business processes – unless they can see a tangible and rapid, direct, local benefit.

This is rational behaviour; so many tech roll-outs undershoot expectations and demand far more resource, input and business process change than is ever acknowledged. 

They all look great on the IT Department or Management Consultant’s “Convergence Roadmap”. But the reality is IT, systems and tech implementations in live businesses are messy, expensive, often a compromise; they should aim to progressively ‘improve’ more and promise to ‘transform’ less.

Selling-in and rolling-out important new tech solutions Finance/ERP, e-HR, CRMs or Content Management Systems has to pass the ‘meat and potatoes’ test first: what immediate tangible improvements will they bring, not just promises of greater ‘whole organisation’ effectiveness if everyone takes some short-term pain.

Put another way: local benefits first, corporate benefits second; Nirvana a distant third.

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