Systems, as with many processes, are important yet they too are often unseen, ignored, under-appreciated The reason is they are taken for granted. Driven by computer systems or ingrained into our mental behavior, they become part of the woodwork. There. But unseen.
Process and System are two terms often used interchangeably. To be clear, in my context I am discussing systems as those physical implementations (software, servers, manufacturing…) often required to drive processes.
“It’s the little things that make big things possible. Only close attention to the fine details of any operation makes the operation first class.” J. Willard Marriott
Systems are critical to daily execution. They are a simple requirement if you wish to scale your business (a fact not appreciated by many entrepreneurs/founders). One of the 4 Pillars of Change, systems need to be meticulously, carefully, analyzed and introduced along existing systems. Doing so ensures continuity and mitigates risk.
Even as new systems are introduced, often to supplant existing ones, continuous assessment is required. When both systems are running in parallel it is easy to overlook gaps in the new systems because the legacy systems cover for the weaknesses.
Similar to People and Process, not driving Systems’ change aggressively enough can also lead to failure. The Change leadership team needs to very actively work to maintain momentum in the development and adoption of new systems. Failure to do so leads to failed adoptions, abandoned systems, and a lack of trust in new tools. At the least, the efforts must be re-launched, requiring lost time and opportunity.
This has been true in each Salesforce.com implementation JT has been involved with. All too common, the CRM was simply treated as a glorified replacement for existing Excel spreadsheet submissions. Worse, management required the same data be submitted using both tools in parallel—without eventually abandoning Excel. Spending too long using new and old processes in parallel, use of the new tool struggled and was unproductive.
Eventually, the entire process needed to be restarted. Only with firm leadership, and after management itself abandoned a system based on the the weekly spreadsheet, demanding the new CRM be used in order to be compensated for closed sales, did the organization as a whole finally adopt the tool. Leadership, drive, and momentum, are key to driving use and acceptance of new business systems.
“If you need a new process and don’t install it, you pay for it without getting it.” Ken Stork
Grained Gears, Cuboid – zeusmedia