A promising solution doesn't really solve the problem if the business isn't ready to adopt it. Online chat sessions with customers won't help the customer service team deliver faster service if they don't know how to use the chat tool, and chat sessions won't deliver faster service if the customer service folks are rewarded for using email instead. The business must be ready for the solution, just as the solution must be ready for the business. So how can you know if the business is ready?
Start by identifying the changes. What are the key differences between the current state, the "as-is" (pre-solution) state, and the goal state (post-solution)? Break the changes down into categories of people, processes, and technology to help you think through the organization's readiness.
Next, ask yourself the following questions about the changes (a gap analysis may be advisable for some or all of these factors:
- People changes. Think through any roles that will be added, altered, or eliminated by the solution. Are people available to fill the new roles? Will they have the training and support they need to perform their new roles? Are there people to fill the changed roles? Do they have the training and guidance to perform their roles? What will happen to the people who filled the eliminated roles? How will the organization respond to their situation? A training needs assessment can help with questions like these.
- Process changes. Think through any processes that will be created, changed, or eliminated by the solution. Will updates to training and/or manuals be required? Will the hand-offs be clearly communicated to those involved? Will the people involved in the process know when the process will change, and what the new expectations will be? Is someone prepared to own, measure, and continually improve the new or changed processes?
- Technology changes. Think through any technologies that will be changed, replaced, or eliminated by the solution. Is anyone using a technology that will be eliminated for other reasons? Has a replacement for that application been identified? Does anyone need to be trained on the new technology, or on the changes? Do the help desk and online help staff have all of the information they need to support the new technology? Is the solution compatible with all technology it interacts with, or will technology upgrades be required? Do you need a discontinuance plan for any technologies that will be eliminated?
The organization won't be ready until the right prep work (training, updates, etc.) is done. Watch for signs that the organization isn't ready, and take proactive steps to help it prepare. Identify the individuals who will be do the training and updates, and take steps to ensure that it gets done.