Thinking about New IT Tools and Platforms for Your Small or Medium-Sized Business? Get the Productivity Gains and Tech Adoption You Need with the Right Business Enablement Plan
It’s a tale as old as tech…You’ve decided to upgrade your systems or add new platforms. But it all ended up being so much more complicated that you anticipated. There were transition issues, and training issues, and software compatibility problems you never anticipated. Sound familiar?
If you’re running a small or medium-sized business (SMB), chances are you’ve run into this situation, maybe more than once. Yet, unless you have a CIO or dedicated IT management staff in house, it can be hard to see the obstacles coming. That’s where business enablement comes in. Consultants with expertise in this area can steer your organization through your tech changes without a misstep. If you’re working with a managed services provider (MSP) that can’t offer this, you should be asking—why not? So, with that in mind, let’s talk first about what business enablement is.
What is Business Enablement for IT?
Business enablement is a level of business consulting that focuses not just on the proposed changes you want to make to your business, but on the business results you want to achieve. Then, they work backwards from there to create a step-by-step action plan so you can achieve this goal. Organizations use business enablement plans for any kind of major change, from mergers, to new product launches, to expansions and more. This kind of plan is especially useful when you’re making a big tech migration, installing new software, or streamlining your processes with new tech. In this case, we often refer to it as IT enablement.
During an IT launch, enablement experts look at the whole change process, including:
- how the new tech will interact with other programming and systems
- your network capacity, both now and in the future
- who will use the tech, and how to train them
- technology procurement
- step-by-step implementation plans
- what to measure and how to collect the data
- who needs to have buy in, before, during and after the change
So with that in mind, what would a business enablement plan look like in your organization? It varies widely depending on the type of change that’s underway. But for most tech implementations, there are a few key priorities that should be included in every major tech migration.
New Tech Launch? Here’s What Your Business Enablement Plan Should Contain.
The best business enablement plans are not simply executed by your MSP. They involve leadership from throughout your company. You should have an MSP partner that can steer the process, but it’s the cooperation you get from your staffers that will ultimately determine whether a new tech launch succeeds or fails. Here’s what any tech launch plan should include:
Gather a launch committee
This crucial stage should loop in the heads of departments that will use the new tools. You’ll also want your leader in charge of HR or Training, any IT staff you have, and any other senior leaders who want to participate.
Define expected Outcomes
New technology is needed. But what impact will that tech have on your organization? What will it improve? How will it move the business forward? What will be eliminated, consolidated, or expanded to make way for it? And how will that impact the software, platforms or programming that’s used to create this change? Your tech initiative committee can tell you what’s working, what needs to change to meet your business goals.
Procure Everything You Need
There’s usually more than one way to implement a change. This is the stage where you evaluate how much comparison shopping you need to do for any software or hardware you might need. After exploring all your options, pull the trigger to buy the software or hardware you need.
Create a Step-by-Step Rollout Plan
This is where you have to ask the hard questions. Who needs to use this tech first? Should we do a soft launch/testing phase? Are there any legacy systems that will interfere with the implementaton of this technology? What resources do we need? What preparation or programming needs to be done before the launch? At the end, you should have a schedule for all steps of the process. Your MSP can be particularly useful here.
Craft a Communications Plan
It could be as easy as sending out a couple emails, or as complex as having company-wide training. But you’ll need to think about how your employees will support the change. Will they need to download or eliminate files to prepare for the transition? Will their work be interrupted during the migration? How will this new tech change the way they do their jobs day to day? Your messaging around the rollout must address this.
Measure, Measure, Measure
Now’s the time to debrief. What went well? How can we improve the process next time? Is the change helping users? Should you expand the use cases for the tech? Will the tech need any upgrades in the future? And, if you’ve created measurements for how it’s effecting your business goals, now’s the time to look at those numbers.
If you’re running a smaller company, you may look at this list and think—isn’t this a little complicated? But the good news is, each one of these steps can be big, or small, depending on the size of the change. Adjust to your organization size accordingly. So, now that you know what a business enablement plan looks like for IT, are you ready to put one to work for your organization?
The Next Step for a Better Launch
So, as you can see, IT enablement really is business enablement. If you’re ready to pursue a big tech change in your organization, we have some resources that can help. At Integris, we work with our customers on business enablement programs all the time. Check out our IT consulting and managed service packages. And if you’d like to take a deeper dive into what IT enablement could look like at your company, check out our ebook 7 Ways to Save Money on IT Services, part of our FREE IT strategy Essentials Kit!