By Inge Magne Bruvik, Microsoft MVP and Solution Architect at Cepheo

 

In this article I will share 4 important focus points and 3 key takeaways that will help you to achieve a successful project launch and enable you to manage a modern business application throughout its lifetime.

 

We have all heard of IT projects that end up taking much longer than originally planned. Some projects run for years without producing a system that is ever put into production. Project teams find that the project owner simply cancels the project before they could deliver an end result. Later, when these projects are reviewed, it can be hard to identify which factors really made them turn into bad projects.

 

Never lose sight of stakeholder value

 

I think there are some key things we can learn from situations like this. Insights that can tell you where you should put your focus in your future business system projects.

One important thing is that the project must never lose sight of the value it needs to bring to the project stakeholders.

 

Maybe this value is not communicated clearly enough when a new business application project is launched, but there should be no doubt that the most important reason for switching systems is that the organization needs more efficient tools to grown and strengthen their position in the market they operate in. This also applies for projects in the public sector. They might not have an external, commercial market they need to serve but they are still dependent on delivering services that align with – and support – the delivery of their mission.

 

How to avoid delays and cancellations

 

So, what can you do to avoid your projects running far longer than expected or, in the worst case, end up at getting cancelled?

 

Focus on delivering value to the stakeholders. If you are a private company, these stakeholders will most likely be the owners, the end users and the market.

 

For the owner, it is important that the project can remove bottlenecks that are preventing growth and optimization in the business.

 

The end users expect a more efficient working day and tools that enable them to excel in their jobs. Achieving this will also help users achieve the work-life balance that is so important for employee satisfaction.

 

The market might not have any specific expectations to your project, but they will expect any business to deliver their goods or services efficiently and with the right level of professionalism. In addition, if they contact you for aftermarket services or support, they will expect you to recognize them as a customer, to have a clear picture of what they have purchased from you, and to be able to proactively suggest follow up actions for them as soon as possible after the initial service or support contact.

 

Where to put your focus

 

To deliver value to all the project stakeholders, you will need to focus on these key areas:

 

  • Delivering end-user value, so you enable people to work more effectively and efficiently. Your   employees should be able to work smarter, not harder, and have time to focus on what brings most value to the organization.

  • Focusing on core processes and the things that limit the growth of the organization. Consider going live with a minimum viable platform. The sooner your organization gains experience from working with the new system, the easier it is to focus on the most valuable areas of improvement.

  • Focusing on digitalization and automation. You should strive to remove unnecessary work and automate as many tasks as possible. This should be true not only for the final system, but also for the working processes in the project leading up to the go-live. Have you, for example, considered using automated testing? In a world where system updates come more frequently than ever, efficient implementation and lifecycle management is a necessity. Automated testing and efficient CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery) will not only help the initial project but will also be of benefit throughout the whole lifecycle of your new system.

  • Identifying the processes that really give you a competitive advantage and focusing on them. For all other processes, try to use as many standard procedures as possible.

 

There is always a risk that a project can end up being more focused on the project itself than on the original goals. Perhaps many failed projects could have been saved if the projects dared to focus on that risk from the beginning.

 

Part of a project’s mandate should always be to empower the organization to work better. If you do this with the best resources and the best digital tools available, then your project will deliver Digital Empowerment. This is what my colleagues and I at Cepheo work towards every day.

 

In summary, these are my 3 key takeaways:

 

  1. Focus on end-user value.

  2. Focus on core processes.

  3. Use digitalization and automation to reduce unnecessary work and automate tasks.

 

About the author:

 

Inge Magne Bruvik is a Norwegian Solution Architect with close to 30 years of experience in the Microsoft space. He is an MVP in Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professionals (MVP) program, which recognizes exceptional community leaders for their technical expertise, leadership, speaking experience, online influence and commitment to solving real-world problems. At Cepheo, Inge Magne specializes in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

 

Originally published as a LinkedIn-article in the fall of 2023.

Want to learn more?

 

Contact our Sales Director, John T. Hummelgaard, for a discussion about your company's digitization.

 

Phone: +45 2510 2050

 

Email: jhummelgaard@cepheo.com