If you ask someone who recently implemented a collaborative operations software system how it went, chances are they’re starting to wonder if it was worth it.
It is common for collaborative operations software implementation failures, and it is usually because only a fraction of the capabilities of the collaborative operations software was effectively utilized.
Below are five primary causes of implementation failure:
- Lack of clearly defined objective
- Selecting the wrong software
- Lack of communication with technicians and consistency using the system
- Treating collaborative operations software as a tech project rather than a change in operation management
- Lack of support, training, and resources
- Answer the Big Question. Prepare Your Business Case.
Before you think about implementing a collaborative operations software, you should answer the big question of why. Why do you think your organization needs a collaborative operations software? Once you know the why, you can define what your goals are in terms of cost savings, efficiency, inventory optimization, return on investment, health and safety improvements, environmental objectives, compliance tracking, and standardized operating procedures
Understanding your goals and articulating how you can achieve those goals with a collaborative operations software is the start to a successful implementation process. This will ensure the collaborative operations software will bring real value to your organization.
- Get Management Buy-In.
After you’ve done your due diligence and prepared your business case with clearly defined goals and how collaborative operations software will help achieve those goals, you will have a better chance at getting management buy-in. It’s important your management understands it isn’t just about investing in a technology, it’s about investing in a new maintenance strategy.
It is important to educate management and include them in the process. Getting the entire team on board is key for successful collaborative operations software implementation.
Discuss the business benefits of the software, how it affects the bottom line, and put a plan in place. A collaborative operations software implementation is a change of process so expect some resistance and take into account company culture and communication.
- Do Your Homework. Understand the Business Requirements.
To fully understand and define your business requirements you must do your due diligence before you buy.
Below are some key questions to ask and points to think about:
- How big is your facility, company, fleet, and inventory? How many users in the system?
- Consider your tech requirements and review your existing systems. Are you looking to integrate with other systems? Will everyone involved be using a tablet computer or smartphone and what is their technical proficiency?
- What type of collaborative operations software is right for you and what do you need the collaborative operations software to do to accomplish your business goals outlined in step 1?
- Measure Your Goals.
One of the goals of using a collaborative operations software (if not the ultimate one) is to increase productivity and efficiency. But the mechanics of measuring that can be difficult.
Below are a few key measurements to keep you on track.
- Time to repair
- Overall equipment effectiveness
- Planned maintenance percentage
- Time between repairs
Below is just one example of what an organizational goal, business requirement, and metric might look like:
Goal: improve time between equipment failure
Business Requirement: ensure that the collaborative operations software has a reliable preventive maintenance program
Metric: reduce time between failures, improve planning and scheduling. Reduced repair and maintenance costs
- Define Your Implementation Timeline.
Implementation should kick off with a project planning event to define roles, responsibilities, milestones, and tasks. Key performance indicator metrics should be identified and agreed upon. Schedule time allotted to fully implement the new business process (and spot any issues or delays that could arise).
- Choose the Right collaborative operations software for You.
To pick the right collaborative operations software provider, you should first draw up a list of what functions are needed and what the corresponding objective is with that function. It is a good idea to form a collaborative operations software selection team that includes people in operation positions because they have first-hand experience and knowledge around what functions are needed to improve the company’s operations.
Next, decide on what is needed versus what is wanted in a collaborative operations software before you start comparing vendors.
When comparing vendors, below are a few key points to consider:
- Find out how long a product will last.
- What upgrades are planned for the software?
- What are their qualifications?
- Check the supplier’s ability to provide training and support, data migration capabilities and more to fully scrutinize the pros and cons of each provider.
- Define Who Owns the Collaborative Operations Software Implementation
Whether you designate one person or a small team, make sure they learn the system inside and out. Doing so will assist in getting others up to speed and will help each staff member or vendor become more familiar with features and functions.
(Helpful hint: make sure the person you pick is someone with maintenance knowledge).
One of the biggest reasons collaborative operations software implementations fail is due to missing data. Therefore gathering data is essential. Without complete and accurate data, a collaborative operations software cannot achieve its goals.
When implementing a new collaborative operations software, first gather all the data you will need—things like locations, contracts, assets, document related PM tasks, resources and more need to be considered. And don’t just look at the data you already have… look at the data you are missing and make a plan to get that data before the go-live stage.
Having a collaborative operations software platform that provides a user-friendly migration tool to help with the process is also key. When uploading, entering and configuring the data in your new collaborative operations software, it shouldn’t be a daunting task—especially if you clean up and organize the data prior to migration. The collaborative operations software migration tool should allow you to upload from Excel and other spreadsheets or third-party applications into a format that is acceptable and aligns with your collaborative operations software.
Below are a few easy data entry examples:
If you are managing maintenance and repair teams across one or more locations, you should be able to easily add all your necessary locations. A location can be any geographic area that you choose. For example, you can create a location for a property or facility that you manage, a job site that your team is working at, a business that you own, or even a city that you govern.
Another example is if you want to enter all your contacts, (and work with any of them) you should be sure to pick a collaborative operations software that allows you to work with anyone you choose so long as they have an email address. To request work from someone, it should be as easy as entering their email into the system and sending a connection request. Once the contact is added, you should be able to assign them action items (even if they haven’t accepted your connection request).
Education & Training.
Don’t underestimate the amount of effort required for successful collaborative operations software implementation.
Education and training are key. Devoting time and assistance towards the implementation process is necessary.
Below are 5 steps to be considered.
- Be sure you thoroughly train users on the software before you move forward with using the collaborative operations software system daily. Involve your vendors in the training process as to be sure all team members and vendors involved are up to speed. Most collaborative operations software are designed with an intuitive interface making it fast and easy for users to learn.
- Delegate and define user roles. Who will resolve what types of issues? For example, if preventative maintenance schedule details need to be uploaded, the user needs to be identified and know how to compile that information.
- Follow up by testing that the collaborative operations software works how it is supposed to and that those involved are performing their dedicated roles in the process daily. Communication is key here. This step will identify if something didn’t work or why a task wasn’t done. You can then adjust your process if necessary.
- Go live. Final assessment. When all the above steps are complete and you are satisfied with the current state, the collaborative operations software can go live. But keep a close eye to consider if anything is missing and to ensure that everyone is satisfied.
- It doesn’t stop there. After a collaborative operations software implementation, be sure to monitor the system and continue with ongoing training. Don’t forget to keep the lines of communication open about the process with your vendors. Most collaborative operations software platforms also offer complimentary access to their online self-service knowledge base, which includes training material to help you get started and answer most questions.
The collaborative operations software implementation process is done when all the necessary tasks are completed. At this point of verification, it is important to review the work, the statement, and the summary of what was done, how well it was done, and how things can be improved on moving forward.
How closely did the project meet the business requirements and goals? What are some lessons learned or best practices? Those are all key questions to ask when reviewing the success of your collaborative operations software.
collaborative operations software is more than just a software and implementation is only step one.
To be successful, the following are required:
- Applying user feedback
- Better Planning
- Monitoring performance
- Team encouragement
- Continued training
A collaborative operations software can increase your maintenance department’s efficiency by leaps and bounds but is by no means a quick fix. If used correctly, the platform will reduce confusion, promote accuracy, accentuate efficiency, and hopefully bring a bit of peace to the chaotic world of maintaining and repairing properties and facilities.