Checkpoints in Software Package Delivery

Choosing most productive service and products to make use of is an crucial a part of working any commercial SaaS implementation. And, choosing a cloud system integrator is not any different. Determining should you be higher served by a smaller, specialized SI (Systems Integrator) or an accomplished global one, there are a number of primary issues to deal with. You will want rapid and simple deployment to be sure that there’s no impediment to commercial operations.

They instead be offering a simpler option that supplies near-immediate deployment, coupled with ongoing strengthen to repeatedly adapt the product to suit your commercial needs. In brief, the SI you select will probably be a partner of varieties for a number of years. To be able to do so result the SIs would have to stay things simple with reference to coding and their purchaser base.

SIs frequently have a calculated means of determining their prospective clients. They focus on particular markets and grow their wisdom of them accordingly. This approach gives the SI a bonus when looking for clients inside of that marketplace and permits them to create code that can be used throughout multiple businesses, quite than having to tailor-make each and every consumer’s software.

The use of a extra “common” code across a collective cloud allows the SI to adapt the platform as required for every shopper that inhabits it. After all, none of this eliminates the inevitable modification management so that it will occur upon utility.

Settling on a cloud system integrator is as necessary as any determination you make in your online business. You’re essentially bringing in a new partner — somebody you’ll work with to strengthen and achieve ever rising objectives and subsequent needs. It is worth taking the time to find a SI that has enjoy in your marketplace and is able to get you put up briefly with little disruption to your online business.

The platform need to be adaptable and able to fit the evolving necessities in their purchasers. Moreover, the SI should be capable of provide consequently for impending change control prerequisites all the way through and after implementation, keeping similar prices down. This can be a difficult balancing act to handle, but one so that you can get advantages your online business and establish a running courting for future years.

That is the place adaptability and working carefully with the SI could be very the most important. Ideally you need a smooth transition in a short amount of time with a minimum amount of extra price. The applying must accommodate this construction and act in concert to ensure that this happens. In the long run, this relates back to deployment and integration pace. Cloud systems are generally publicized as clean and straightforward to set up, however companies would have to nonetheless account for the modification management prices associated with them.

You only need to look at the success of SaaS startups to understand the potential of building a business within the cloud technology sector. From data storage on demand to scalable cyber security services, today’s businesses are clamoring for dependable cloud services Entrepreneurs who have enough foresight to realize the coming need for enterprise-level cloud services will far out-distance other entrepreneurs building software in sectors like 3D technology, collaborative sharing, or advertising. The ablitty to discover a market ripe with explosive growth opportunities Is what will set the next generation’s entrepreneurs apart from today’s Investment-chasing founders.

Choosing to build a company at the intersection of two exploding sectors Is one of the smartest moves an entrepreneur can make. Creating a company that delivers value to cloud-enabled international enterprise business will have investors tripping over each other hoping to invest. To discover some of the best opportunities In the cloud/enterprise space, AI is a great vertical likely to be in demand over the coming decade.

Artificial Intelligence & loT Security for Data Mining

With increased machine learning APIs and SDKs becoming available to developer’s, the ability to marry artificial Intelligence and enterprise data mining will Influence everything from content development to pricing structures. The more data companies are able to track on their customers, the better their targeting across all verticals will be. Entrepreneurs who conned the dots between cloud technology, data mining, and Al stand to reap huge rewards. loT technology will play an Increasingly large role In enterprise-level companies Smart buildings and connected workplace devices are lust the beginning.

SaaS Adoption

The general background and advice to assist readers in decisions related to implementing complex application software packages such as ERN (Enterprise Resource Planning), SCMs (Supply Chain Management) and CR, (Customer Relationship Management) packages. Please note that no representations, warranties or guarantees of any sort are made as to the applicability of the advice presented In this article to the specific needs of anyone, and that readers must take appropriate care to evaluate them in light of their specific needs.

The remainder of this Overview discusses major categories of risk attendant to complex package Implementation, technical and political, as well as techniques and actions available to a management team to minimize and manage the risks. Following the Overview is a set of phases required to actually introduce fully functioning stdtes into an organization. In each phase, major activities, deliverables and required actions are discussed, as well as the risks and some available remedial options relevant to the phase.

The major categories of risk discussed below are: Complexity, Change Software Modification, Participation of Employees, Effective Sponsorship, Organizational Stability, Legacy Systems Enhancement


Complexity generally can be defined as the interaction of many moving, interrelated parts. This definition describes complex software package Implementation well. Many things need to happen in such an effort, often concurrently including:

  • Re-engineered business processes
  • New policies & procedures
  • New computers & network environment
  • Parameterized software product modules
  • Converted historical data and reports
  • Modified product software
  • Custom-developed software
  • Interfaced legacy applications
  • Trained user and technical communities

Effectively orchestrating all sets of moving parts is a difficult exercise, requiring extensive complex program management experience. Indeed, experience on the part of program management Is probably the single most important means available for effectively managing risk of failure related to complexity. Next, team composition and team structure below program management are extremely important Are roles dear? Are stalls complementary? Is each business process “owned” by a senior internal individual thoroughly familiar with business process and authorized to approve change?

Finally, the program plan is crucial. Complexity is best managed by organizing it effectively, and a strong plan based on a proven methodology for carrying out key activities and producing key deliverable is central to minimizing the risk of missing important steps or performing them badly.


The degree of change required of an organization to Implement and effectively employ complex package suites varies widely but is usually significant, and sometimes very extensive. All types of change are involved, including technological change, organizational change and business process change. Change Is a major element of risk because people fear it and will resist it. Regardless of the commitment of management to effect change, people who perceive their interests threatened by it will support its failure.

The environment where the greatest degree of required change is often observed is the multi-divisional enterprise where the software suite Is Intended to be a means of standardizing business processes across divisions in such environments, everyone must change almost everything at least to some degree.

So, how is this risk managed?

By recognizing it, analyzing it and preparing for it. These activities involve a discipline known as Change Management. This discipline seeks first to identify the barriers to change within an organization, then to prepare for the change by developing specific programs that address and lower each barrier.

Barriers to change can include a workforce with obsolete skills, which will produce much fear on their part regarding their role in a new environment. Key people will fee- loss of their value to the organization, with predictable and dire career consequences. They will resist the change, sometimes in very subtle ways difficult to detect and counter. Enough resistance and the effort will fail, very expensively. Yet a selective program of re-training and inclusion of key people In the process of change can often lower this barrier substantially.

Other barriers to change can be quite simple, such as inability of current facilitation to support new technology: Insufficient physical space, inadequate Internal wiring, etc Such barriers need to be anticipated too, but effective planning typically is sufficient to manage risk In such cases.

One of the central elements in any change management exercise is a Communication Plan. Such a plan identifies all the stakeholders in an organization, those individuals whose interests are affected by the new environment in some way. Often, this can include almost all personnel. Then, means of communicating status of the program are developed and put In place. Such means can include a newsletter, regular emails, an internal web page or regularly staged meetings with particularly important stakeholders By whatever means, keeping all stakeholders upto date on progress and results is key to avoiding unnecessary delay and potential resistance.

In a small cloud package software Implementation the extent of change management night be the part-time efforts of one knowledgeable professional with assistance from support personnel such as an administrative assistant. In a very large implementation, the effort could be a discrete team managed full-time by a very senior change management professional.

Software Modification

The temptation to modify packaged software to meet the demands of a particular business process almost always is intense. This occurs because, while often very flexible, the software may not accommodate everyvariation in business process across an enterprise, particularly mufti-divisional enterprises and, important people will champion the need to retain each variation. But modification will: complicate an already very complex process and increase the risk of failure; complicate upgrades In software version, thereby driving up, perhaps dramatically, the cost of ownership and use of the software; and require a company to maintain the modification themselves at their expense rather than require the vendor to add functionality and flexibility to a standard product at his expense.

This problem may be addressed by analyzing the business process or variation In question and determining:

  • Does its uniqueness truly support competitive differentiation?
  • Does it honestly lower cost or improve quality relative to more easily supported alternatives?
  • Does it support a level of customer service not obtainable by competitors employing different processes?
  • Or is its apparent importance really tactical convenience for a number of people who find change inconvenient?
  • Does it represent a best-in-class process alternative demonstrated in other companies to yield optimal results?

Often, this structured approach can get beyond the emotion of the moment to the real issues. it also helps when management anticipates this problem and states a policy, Including it as part of the Communication Plan, as one of several guiding principles for the implementation. That guiding principle might be expressed this way:

Customization is very expensive to do, even more expensive to support, and often not necessary, yet It’s always tempting. According unless the process can be demonstrated to deliver value we need and that we cannot reasonably get any other way, we will always modify the business process before considering software modification.

All this said, customization sometimes is unavoidable. However, without a highly structured process in place to filter unnecessary customization, the first one often has the affect of opening the floodgates. This should be anticipated and its dangers discussed openly with all stakeholders

Participation of Employees

Key people will need to participate fully in the process, which can disrupt business. This is often the most poorly appreciated risk by managements about to embark on major Implementations, and it can be very serious in Its effects. Expect that no less than ten percent of a key person’s time will need to be dedicated at any time to the implementation. Up to eighty percent of that key person’s time may need to be dedicated during particularly intensive portions of the Implementation, such as process re engineering and testing.

Often, a key person spends as little as twenty percent of his time performing the high-value-added activities that make him key — maintaining a crucial customer relationship, solving rare but critical problems coming tip with creative new ideas, etc. As much as 80% of his time can be spent in non-key or commodity tasks, such as approving others’ actions or reviewing or preparing reports The commodity tasks may have evolved over time to justify a job title or as a means to fill a day until demand surfaced to employ high-value-added skills.

Shift the commodity tasks to someone else or recognize their nature and do away with them entirely. This could free tip substantial time that can be dedicated to the implementation. Not performing such tasks does not detract from the person’s key status — the relationships still need to be maintained, the problems solved, the Ideas generated; this is where he person’s value lies.

Key people also need to be shown where they fit in the new picture in order to motivate them to full and effective participation. This means that management must have a vision for the new environment and understand where people fit in the vision.

Effective Sponsorship/Organizational Stability

Success can be threatened by ineffective sponsorship of a complex package software implementation within a company. If the sponsor is not a major influence within the company, too much time maybe spent in achieving closure on contentious Issues and in acting. If the sponsor is positioned too low In the food chain, decisions, once taken and acted upon, may be revisited later as pressure increases to protect individual agendas. Such conditions could have dire consequences: They could Increase cost, perhaps disastrously, They will consume political capital required for other things, They will destroy morale.

A strong sponsor will help match accomplishments to expectations. He should: — be a senior executive of the company be directly dependent on the success of the Implementation and committed to It have substantial authority over large numbers of people be stable — not about to be lateral-arabesqued into “special projects” be a strong doer not be the person In charge of the IT/M IS function — that Individual already has enough riding on success or failure and will be perceived as protective of IT interests which may not necessarily be perceived as business interests.

Stability of the program team is just as essential if not more so. Without such consultant/Integrator stability, the program stands a very good chance of falling, at a very high cost. Company management should deal with constant changes In the integrator(s) program management team very quickly and very sternly. With the first significant change, the consulting should be put on notice that his continued involvement is under review; and with the next it could be terminated. This may seem draconian (and expensive), but the war stories of failed implementations due to revolving door consulting management we legion. A re-staged Implementation is less expensive than a failed one, but It requires strong leadership.

Legacy Systems Enhancement

Often, a poor balance is struck between implementing the new and maintaining the old, yet an optimal balance is very important. Other than an optimal balance will drain scarce resources Into unproductive paths and provide distractions from the important objectives. A common misconception is that all enhancements and almost all maintenance activity to the legacy, or current systems and other technology infrastructure. will be dramatically reduced while the new environment is put in place. Yet, the world does not stop revolving while new systems are implemented.

New products are developed, competitors come up with new ideas that need to be countered, new channels of distribution are identified, and customers come tip with new service demands, and on and on. A company often needs to address such things timely, not wait “until the new systems are in”. This may require enhancement to current systems, even while a new environment is being Implemented. Yet, a company also could yield to the costly temptation to chase such enhancements. How does one differentiate between real and unnecessary in a high-pressure environment?

As with other risks, managements must anticipate the Issue and plan for It: First, establish a policy that only clearly beneficial enhancements of any size to legacy components will be considered; Then, establish a committee to review requested legacy enhancements against dearly stated criteria of what is beneficial.

Another problem that crops up is the desire on the part of key IT professionals to be involved in the new implementation (not surprising, since the new systems represent future jobs while the old systems will go away); yet. often they are needed to simply maintain the legacy environment. What to do?

One option Is to put In place specialized outsourcing teams, legacy systems outsourcing teams, typically of consultants who go away when the old systems go away. While not cheap, this solution has the double advantage of permitting re-training of internal personnel in the new systems while keeping them motivated and available to address serious legacy problems. And at least part of the cost is rationalized by reduced need for consultants on the

Implementation team.

The moral Inherent in this risk category Is balance, In the use of scarce and expensive resources as well as In their mobilization and focus. The remainder of this article deals with the major phases of a complex package software implementation, as well as with major deliverable and specific risks that must be managed in each phase. The categories discussed are:

  • Complex Package Implementation Phase Overview
  • Staging and Change Management
  • Preliminary Business Process Reengineering Work
  • Prototyping and Testing
  • Roll-out
  • Post-Implementation Review.

Deployment pace of the cloud is vital, however it’s secondary to adaptability. A business is at all times rising and the functionality of the SIs product must have the ability to grow with it. As such, many SIs tend to stray clear of developing massive, all-encompassing solutions. You’ll desire a respected supplier that has experience in your trade. Possibly so much importantly, you will want an SI that understands the overhead of working a industrial and will paintings with you to stay prices down as the platform is implemented.

Thanks for reading!