Project Health Check is Key to Business Transformation Success

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: June 18, 2021

There are components to a digital transformation that seem almost intuitive in nature. Concepts like organizational change management and software selection are elements of a transformation that seem easy to facilitate from the surface. When you think of it from the perspective of, ‘my team is used to change and they’ll adapt just fine’ or ‘I know my business well and will know which software will be the best fit once I do a bit of research’, it’s easy to write off bringing in a third-party to support you through the project.

However, this perspective is almost like looking through a half-silvered mirror. Once you start peeling back layers of all the countless components that make up a successful digital transformation, it becomes evident that reaching the finish line both in budget and on time is a fairly daunting task.

Many organizations walk into a digital transformation on their own, trusting only their system integrators and must-have partners and teammates on the project. Sure, an experienced, internal IT and project management team can get the job done. But no matter the type of software being implemented or the size and/or expertise of the organization walking through the change, there are always pain points that don’t always meet the eye of those working so closely to the project.

As the decisions begin to pile up and the residual effects of the new software begin to take hold, a lot of organizations find comfort in bringing in an objective, third-party perspective to help ensure the digital transformation is on track. This is called a project health check, and it’s one of the keys to facilitating a successful transformation project.

Why do a project health check?

You may be walking through a digital transformation with your team and see nothing but diligence and progression. On the other hand, you may be walking through a project and see nothing but scattered ideas and misalignment. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, project health checks are helpful in keeping you or getting you back on track.

It’s fairly self-explanatory of why you might want a third party, independent consultant to facilitate a project health check on a project that’s driving over budget, over deadlines, and ultimately, overwhelm amongst your team. The health check will help you identify the root cause of the challenges your project is running into and ways you can adjust to fix the problems. If the project is fully off the rails, it may be time to consider bringing in a dedicated unbiased third party to help support and guide the team to the light at the end of the tunnel.

However, it’s the project that seems to be going really well that often sees the most benefit to performing a health check. Project health checks are a case-by-case assessment of the status of a project. They are driven by the goals and objectives set forth by your team, and they take a third eye approach to make sure you continue on the right track as the project progresses. After all, it’s easy to overlook the common pitfalls of an ERP implementation, and the last thing any team wants is to be blind-sighted by obstacles that could have been avoided.

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Identifying pain points before they become pain points

An unbiased pulse check from an industry expert can often be the key to transformation success. Unless your company focuses specifically on implementing software solutions, chances are your team only facilitates a software integration project once in a blue moon. Yes, those internal to the company understand the ins and outs of the processes and culture that run the organization, but they are not necessarily seasoned veterans in understanding the ins and outs that come with a full-on system overhaul, system upgrade, or system integration.

How business processes will be affected depending on the software selection, how organizational change is being accounted for from the get-go to make sure employees take kindly to the new software, how to facilitate end-to-end testing in every workflow that the new system will touch, how to migrate data in a clean and comprehensive way - all of these pieces fit together like a puzzle to create the big picture transformation. Not to mention, each project is different depending on the unique attributes of the organization. Until you have done multiple integrations, it’s not necessarily second nature to know what common pitfalls are waiting for you behind the corner of each of these pieces of the puzzle.

A third-party health check will identify the pain points and indicators of what could become pain points. It uncovers the challenges that may not meet the eye just yet, but drive the risk of ERP failure without you even realizing it. It will give you the information you need to pivot and adjust minor practices along the way rather than having to go back and redo or reassess problems that arise after go-live. In the long run, it could save you countless hours and a lot of money making sure you’re doing it right the first time rather than cleaning up a mess that could have been avoided.

Don’t rely on your System Integrator

Your system integrator may act as if they are helping guide your transformation and supporting your project team along your way. However, it’s important to understand that everything they say will come from a biased point of view that is in favor of everyone they work with except for you. They make more money the longer your project runs, they make commissions on recommending certain softwares rather than recommending softwares that would be the best fit for your organization. There is an unspoken intent behind a majority of the feedback and direction they provide.

Yes, they may provide some insights that will help you along the way. But look at your system Integrator as a chicken wing - eat the meat and leave the bones. Use your best judgment and own your project to ensure you reach the goals and objectives that were set at the beginning of the implementation.

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A health check should be performed by a third-party, technology-agnostic consultant who has experience in successfully integrating various types of software. The objective third eye is what will deliver you to the finish line without running into any unforeseen problems that will set you back and delay your delivery. This type of perspective is very rarely one that can be derived from an SI.

If you are curious about a digital assessment of your organization or would like to know more about how a project health check works, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly. I am always here as an informal sounding board to answer any questions or bounce ideas off of.

Author:
Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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