You, and your associates, agree that you need to improve your business processes. Your team uses a combination of spreadsheets, ERP and accounting systems and lots of meetings to help ensure that you communicate with each other and meet your objectives. But, despite having dedicated and passionate people, you know that there is a more sustainable way to achieve predictable, positive results. So you start your search for an integrated system. This system will complement your current systems and in-house processes and integrate a maximum number of currently discrete, silo-based systems, processes and people.
Or, you simply want to fix a nagging, annoying spreadsheet that holds way too much data to be safe.
The Conventional Path
In 30 years, this path is essentially unchanged. It follows a predictable process:
- Define your requirements
- Review the OTS (off-the-shelf) systems on the market
- Choose one
- Implement the ‘winning’ system
This simple process belies the complexity and expense of this conventional approach to system selection and deployment. Many factors contribute to reducing the expected gains, including:
- Changing requirements after purchase – this is a normal, expected aspect of a deployment that always surprises the deployment team and upset the deployment process and causes delays and overruns;
- High cost of training – long and complex training for complex systems, that is often lost due to a highly mobile workforce;
- High cost of implementation – often due to the use of expensive consulting firms and compounded by the frequent use of inexperienced (high margin) personnel;
- Long deployment cycle – as the team has little incentive to speed things up – it’s more lucrative for them, the longer it takes;
- Once the deployment is complete, spreadsheet usage continues to grow – and this is a sure sign that the expected gains have not materialized, and that users are ‘making do’ with spreadsheets, just as they did before this great initiative.
By the time the deployment is complete (often years), many of the people that helped to write the requirements and who made the decisions are now shunted off to other assignments and a whole new crew is now doing the work. This lack of continuity ensures that hard-learned corporate lessons are not transferred to the new people, and they get to make the same mistakes all over again!
As astounding as all this sounds, this is the norm in the world of corporate, large system deployment.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Third Wave or Disruptive approach. Third Wave is the name that Steve Case called this approach in his 2016 book: The Third Wave.
The Disruptive Path
“Instead of continuing to try to do things better, we’ll focus on doing better things” says Harold Burak, Quality Evangelist.
The disruptive approach starts with no software being deployed. As is the norm in cloud-based apps, a monthly or annual user fee is levied for for key users, super users and analysts. All other consulted and informed people are in the collaborative loop, at no additional cost – this ensures that all obstacles to true collaboration and system-based communication are removed.
Step 2 is to address the business process that is the most problematic – the area that you know will improve the company’s bottom line. Get the solution implemented in a month. Then, turn to the next most problematic issue. Continue with this approach until each person in the company team feels that they and their needs are being served by the solutions and that they feel included and in the loop.
The end result of this integration is so vastly different from what is seen in corporations today, that we can honestly say that their business systems and associated processes were disrupted. The result of this disruption is a new, business-rule-driven, repeatable functionality that is achieved at a fraction of the cost of conventional methods.
This seeming ‘pie-in-the-sky’ approach has been described by potential clients as too good to be true. For this reason, we held our breath until we proved the process. TeamWork Group‘s TeamWork Integrated Solutions Technology or TWiST is easy to deploy in virtually any business environment that currently uses silo-based spreadsheets, ERPs, CMMS, EAMs to manage business-critical data. TeamWork Group personnel are trained to spend time ensuring that client needs are met – as these needs are drivers for the business.
Management of your business, projects and maintenance programs will all benefit from this approach to implementing integrated processes.
Choose the right path!