New product configurator software is exciting and can give your company a competitive edge. Implementing that software can be a long and tedious process, involving downtime and resources. It can be painful if you don’t have an experienced implementation team in place with the tools and proven strategy to get you from where you are now to a market leader. Here are five steps to a successful product configurator implementation strategy that will help you reach your new reality.
1. Develop a Transformational Roadmap
For the best results of a product configuration implementation, it is recommended to develop and follow a roadmap. As in any goal in life you must understand where you came from and where you want to go. Same applies here. Defining the end-goals of the implementation, and what it’s going to take to get there is a must, and has to be understood by all involved. Laying down this groundwork reduces additional work later, if a problem arises. The roadmap should include the following:
- Benchmark current processes
- Review current state versus best practices
- Prioritize based on core business processes
- Define initiatives roadmap
- Publish Transformation Plan
2. Success Factors List
You know what you want out of the product configurator implementation but is everyone else on the same page? Laying down the manageable and tangible success factors of the project will help keep the project on track. Breaking the project into definable and manageable segments and placing them on a timeline keeps the project moving forward and on track. The success factors should be reviewed and demonstrated on a regular basis. This process provides a predictable cost and schedule for the implementation. The process of delivery should be done in a fast and highly visible manner; this provides early feedback to the team and Project Owners and starts to build credibility within the organization for the project.
3. Understand the Risk
Be able to identify what might cause a problem in your implementation process. Depending on the risk limits, countermeasures can be created to help mitigate the risk. Being able to assess the risk before it occurs allows your team the chance to produce an acceptable final deliverable, and allow communication of this risk throughout the organization. The more you are aware of the risk the better prepared you will be when something goes wrong.
4. Benchmark Against Best Practices
Benchmarking your practices will allow you to see where you stand against other businesses. Is this implementation going to help you level out against companies in the same industry? Or is it going to be a transformational change redefining the standards across your industry? Without benchmarking you’ll never know where you fall among your competitors. Your benchmarking practices should answer the following questions:
- How is excellence achieved?
- Does your process lead the industry?
- Does your process have appropriate performance measures?
- Can you target improvements?
5. Understand Your New Reality
Being able to understand where you are going and buying into that new reality is the most important secret for a successful product configurator implementation. If you don’t fully believe what you are doing, all of the pre-planning and work you and your team have put into it is not going to be worth it.
[click image to enlarge it.]
In the end all roads from where you are now should lead to your new reality. Being able to pre-plan all of the groundwork it takes to get there will save you and your team a lot of headaches in the long run.
For more information on product configurators please visit, www.acquire.cincom.com.