7 Keys to a Successful Technology Implementation [Part 2]


Aug 19, 2014


Here’s Part 2 from Qvidian customer, Bo Crader, Principal Consultant at Blackbaud, on how to successfully implement a new technology solution at your company.

Be sure to check out his first three steps from Part 1!

Step 4 - Recruit Evangelists

Recruit evangelists to your technology implementation project teamIn addition to your Sponsor (see previous post), build a project team that incorporates evangelists from the various user communities of your organization: subject matter experts, business development, marketing. services, sales, and management, for instance.

These evangelists should be invested in the success of the project, as well as be able to influence others when it comes to supporting and fully utilizing the system. Be sure to include the natural leaders and influencers in the organization, as well as representation from the formal management of the organization.

Step 5 - Not the Field of Dreams

Not the Field of DreamsIf you build it they will come” only works in the movies. This is a hard lesson to learn after a project is complete.

In theory it makes sense to realize all of a system’s value in a single “big bang” go-live, but in practice this is difficult to achieve, especially considering the level of engagement required from SMEs and others who have full time jobs during the implementation.

I recommend smaller, more agile sub-projects that build toward your vision of a fully automated system. Soft launch and pilot the solution with a group that is invested in getting it right and making you successful. Use initial successes as a means of demonstrating and validating the value of the solution. Evangelize as appropriate and repeat.

Step 6 - Launch Readiness

The largest variable in the success of IT projects is user adoption at go-liveThe largest variable in the success of IT projects is user adoption at go-live. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) can be a helpful guide for understanding and preparing for the readiness of a user population. A very rough paraphrase would go something like this:

  • Perceived usefulness - Will the system enhance that person's job performance?
  • Perceived ease-of-use - Will the system be easy to learn and incorporate into that person's job?
  • Social use - Do peers and influencers use the system? (see evangelists above)

While this is a good theory and framework for looking at user adoption, I'd suggest looking to formalize both positive and negative reinforcement to make it stick. Write use of system into scorecards and evaluations where appropriate (e.g. are team members utilizing all of the tools provided to them).

And, consider recognition or other accolades to SMEs or others for contributions to the system (for instance, Qvidian Proposal Automation can report on user activity creating and updating content).

Step 7 - Don't Be Shy

Don't Be ShyIdeally, a proposal software system will act as a platform for other initiatives and grow over time with your programs. For instance, your team might start with automating a segment of responses to RFPs, but work to diversify to more creative solutions over time (such as presentations or custom brochures) or offer other solutions and services (both internal and external).

Realizing this vision of a value-add resource center and sales enablement function versus strictly an administrative team is key to getting funding for future enhancements and initiatives. For instance, Grant Thornton, another Qvidian customer, branded their proposal center as “theStudio,” and a value-add creative team rather than an administrative one. I’d suggest getting creative with how your proposal center is branded and positioned internally - beyond just being the “RFP guys.”

By following the steps outlined in this two-part post (see Part 1, here), ensures that your new shiny app, tool, or software will do more than just look pretty - it will produce powerful results that can take you and your team to new heights.

Download the slides for the recent webinar, “Best Practices for Implementing a Proposal Automation System,” that featured Bo and several other Qvidian customers.

Bo Crader, BlackbaudBo Crader (@BoCrader) is a Principal Consultant at Blackbaud, a provider of nonprofit software and services. Opinions, views, and positions expressed here are those of the author and not those of his employer.