Critical Success Factors to a Successful Smart Factory Analytics SaaS Implementation
Implementing a Smart Factory Analytics solution can seem like a risky proposition. Senior leadership is constantly banging the drum for progress on gaining competitive advantage and they’re likely reading about IIoT or Industry 4.0 technologies and are anxious to demonstrate some successes to ownership. This can mean that the spotlight can be intense on projects like this.
As someone advocating for all of the advantages that a Smart Factory Analytics solution can bring, you may or may not be surprised to learn that:
- Only 9 percent of businesses fully realize the benefits of the software they’ve implemented
- 57 percent of implementation projects go over budget
- Just 43 percent of projects stay on schedule
- 80 percent of businesses offer little to no change management during software implementation
How do you minimize the downside of a SaaS implementation to your company (and your career)? In our article, Strategic Roadmap for IIoT Success we identified 5 CSFs (Critical Success Factors) that experience has taught us will be critical to your success:
1 - Walk Before You Run
2 - Set Achievable Goals
3 - Identify Your Champion and Your Team
4 - Select Your Test Program Platform
5 - The Forgotten IIoT Critical Success Factor - Process
In this article, we’re going to take a deeper dive into what successful software implementations have in common.
In their whitepaper ERP Implementation: a compilation and analysis of critical success factors from Cape Breton University and Warwick Business School the authors identified the following critical success factors for a successful software implementation:
- Project champion
- Top management commitment and support
- Visioning and planning
- Build a business case
- Vanilla (Pilot) Project
- Project management
- Change management / Managing cultural change
We’ll take each of these in turn:
Assigning a project champion is the first step in SaaS implementation success. This person is often the individual who first advocated for the advantages of a particular software technology (perhaps this is you!). Sometimes, a champion is assigned by senior management to lead a project implementation. This person sees or creates the initial vision and has some leadership skills that enable them to get things done across groups or teams that quite likely don’t report to them.
Top management commitment and support
Nothing happens in a business of any scale without sign-off from top management. This is where the budget comes from and the ultimate authority that the champion wields to keep things moving through ups and downs.
Visioning and planning
Creating a vision is one thing and requires a certain set of skills.
Skilled transformation leaders:
- Create an inspiring vision of the future.
- Motivate people to buy into and deliver the vision.
- Manage delivery of the vision.
- Build ever-stronger, trust-based relationships with people.
Build a business case
Building the initial business case can be difficult. That’s why in our previously mentioned article, we recommend that you keep your goals more modest. “While a 15% reduction in downtime is eminently achievable, and it’s possible that your organization has the opportunity for that and more, a more realistic first goal is ‘to create a dashboard that will let us manage and optimize the X process’.”
As we also noted in the article reference above, working with a supplier that’s delivered demonstrable business results in your industry can decrease the risk involved in getting to ROI.
Vanilla (Pilot) Project
Starting with a low profile implementation with an achievable goal reduces risk. Creating a modest ‘win’ enables you then to go back and make a case for more resources for bigger scope implementations. You should be able to work with your prospective technology partner to select a pilot project that meets these goals.
Interested in starting your pilot project?
While 'Planning' is noted above in 'Visioning and Planning', it often falls to a role other than senior leadership to develop an implementation or project plan. Project management is often the lonely step-child in this process. It’s critical that someone develop a project timeline with resources allocated and regular stakeholder meetings in order to drive, and demonstrate progress.
Planning requires the ability to break down a large project into a series of tasks, and managing resources and timelines to hit the end goal. In the software space, this falls to an Implementation Manager.
Implementation managers, “carry out the activities described in the work plan. Depending on the job requirements, they may be required to implement technical systems and processes, collect data from operational teams and manage project administration. These professionals are largely responsible for facilitating the use of new technology, such as software-as-a-service packages, computer systems and hardware.”
An essential element in the project management process is taking steps to assure user adoption. Many software implementation projects fail (lack of customer success in SaaS speak) due to lack of the intended users actually adopting the software in their day-to-day workflows. There are many well-known reasons to lack of adoption. In their article Convincing Skeptical Employees to Adopt New Technology, Harvard Business Review suggests among other things, customize your training and getting influencers on board.
Change management / Managing cultural change
Our own experience is that getting people on board and delivering business success with SaaS requires understanding the impact on people and culture. That’s why we’ve developed so many resources related to the people side of implementations:
- Why connecting workforce outcomes to business outcomes matter
- The Connected Workforce Employee Experience
- Improve Outcomes by Connecting the Employee and Customer
- How to Build a Connected Workforce
- Connected Workforce
- Tips to Creating a Connected Workforce and Improve Employee Engagement
- Rethinking How the Food and Beverage Industry Understands and Tackles Workforce Challenges
Below is a matrix of roles that a successful software implementation requires.
In a large company it’s possible that there’s a person for each role or possibly a team. In much smaller businesses one person may wear multiple hats. This matrix should help to guide internal discussions of what a successful implementation is going to take.
|Role||Champion||Executive Sponsor||Implementation Manager||
|Create Initial Vision - Rally Internal Support||X|
|Build a Business Case at Senior Level - Establish Budget||X|
|Overcome Internal Roadblocks||X|
|Promote Adoption - End User Training||X||X|
|Main Vendor Contact||X|
|Keep Up With Product Updates||X|
Interested in speaking with a Worximity Solutions Consultant about what your next steps might be? Book a demo now!