Fixing a broken software implementation

After a critical software implementation failed three times, this small business needed some help figuring out what was wrong.

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Another example of our work…

Situation

Medium-size financial services company A was growing, in part through the recent acquisition of a specialty services company (B) in its field.

After completing the acquisition, the plan was to improve processes and cut costs at B, beginning with the implementation of new software and the streamlining of the associated business processes.

In addition to the benefits at B, time and dollar savings would also be realized at A as a result of the gain in efficiencies.

But it didn’t quite work out that way.

Efforts by Company A to implement the software failed three times over a six month period.

In addition to not-realizing the savings, significant time and money had been spent in the failed attempts.

What is it going to take?!
Tempers were well beyond “flaring;” attitudes, and the project, were stuck in finger-pointing.

Overview of requested solution

We were asked to, “Get in there and fix it,” to find out why the implementations failed and what it would take to get it implemented. We were asked to look at the existing business, the processes, and the new software, and figure out if the new software was adequate, or, if deficient, find out what was needed. We were to provide a much-needed buffer between the business line and IT, and facilitate the process. And we were specifically asked to provide leadership at Company B.

Actions

Following a standard process, we:
  • Held a series of meetings with key individuals to learn the core of the business processes and the initial set of software requirements
  • Carefully allowed “venting” without taking sides, and listened to the “suggestions”
  • Ran fast-track process documentation and requirements sessions with the team at B
  • Discovered a fatal deficiency in the new software, and documented the required changes
  • Worked with the team at B to create a complete implementation and training plan, including changes to staff roles, responsibilities, and numbers

Results

As a result of our work:
  • Business requirements were carefully documented
  • A couple of key deficiencies were uncovered in the software
  • The software was modified to the point where everyone agreed it would do the job
  • An implementation plan was created and agreed to by all sides
The software was successfully implemented. Photo credits: Pablo Municio Tianyi Ma

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