If you’re lucky, investment in software - say to improve daily operation for an organization, can be a standard scenario where you compare solutions, look at the pros and cons, what is the impact on staff, customers and ultimately what is the Return on Investment, the ‘ROI’.
It can also be complicated, depending on how core the solution is to your business - is it vital or just a nice to have? Also, who gets involved can determine the smooth process of selection and implementation. Perhaps there is a bias towards certain offerings. Timing the assessment of the different solutions, getting all stakeholders together for each demo and post demo discussions and eventually coming up with a consensus for selection. Now you just need to pay for it and manage the project of implementation.
This is a simplified example but these stage gates in the selection process can deter organizations from making any decision at all. The road to the future will have to start in the future. Take the ROI topic, which tends to be primarily evaluated in monetary terms, a lot of it based upon trends and estimations. The more sophisticated ROI calculations can also include the less tangible categories of efficiency improvement, time saving, staff satisfaction and possible customer satisfaction. With all that in mind, sometimes the selection drags on and on. Other ‘immediate’ needs taking priority and the ‘New Horizon’, this IT initiative, goes on the backburner.
When looking at ROI, does anyone analyse the impact that ‘doing nothing’ has on an organization?
Let’s say that you have identified that visibility of the status of jobs is poor, calculations of time/money spent takes days possibly weeks to assemble and report upon. ‘Lessons Learned’ from projects are not based upon data but maybe handwritten reports or even worse, verbal anecdotes. So, you know you need to digitize those manual reports and communications to improve things, but the barriers outlined above mean you concentrate on the next project and leave innovation to ‘when we have time’ - you do nothing.
Based upon analysis of ‘obvious’ processes in organizations, the average efficiency wastage* is 36% (low of 15% and a high of over 60%).
So doing nothing maintains the wasted time and money that currently exist, which in itself is okay, as long as all your peers also remain inefficient and do nothing. Alas, that is not the case. An increasing number of companies are well into becoming more digitally efficient and can make decisions on their next project based upon accurate and immediate data which improves their margins, leaving the ‘do nothings’ still assembling spreadsheets and making assumptions on missing documents. Ongoing decisions during projects are based upon out-of-date information and lack of visibility.
Commitment To The Cause
The cold fact is that the future will not take care of itself and is based upon what we do today. If everyone decided to ‘do nothing’ and push innovation to the next quarter and then the next, we’d still be hunting with rocks dressed in loincloths.
If you have such plans, take the initial pain of selection and commit to it. Give yourself a firm timeline on selection and share it with vendors so they meet your deadlines and then make a decision and run with it. Ask the hard questions of price, professional services needs, project management, etc. Expect early adoption speed bumps, after all you are changing how people work and forge ahead.
*Efficiency Wastage is a calculation of time to money value including percentage potential extra work completed in saved time.
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