Getting your business processes online is not an easy job! According to Gartner
Group, a renowned research firm, a full 75 percent of all e-business projects
fail due to poor planning and unrealistic expectations of new technology. The
productivity gains and cost savings promised by e-business solutions are often
lost not because of the technology itself but because of improper management
of their implementation. In most of the cases, when a massive e-business solution
installation goes wrong, the management of the business is to blame. Failure
to understand the scale of the project, oversimplification of the project, inappropriate
expectations and lack of resource commitment are few of the mistakes made by
management that debilitate the implementation and use of the systems.
Pitfalls of E-business solutions installation process
A large distribution company has decided to use a new online supply chain management
solution. The people – those who were supposed to use the system – were quite
skeptic about the ability of the system, as they did not have enough knowledge
and had very little or no training in using a similar system. As a result, it
took over a year for the company to bring the solution to its full operation.
Productivity suffered severely. The final implementation cost came out to be
several times more than initial budget. A large number of companies are
reporting to face similar difficulties with the implementation of their e-business
The problems that occur while a company tries to implement e-business solutions,
most likely, include:
- Senior managers do not spend enough time and efforts to learn and understand
the solutions. As a result, they have no idea how their workers will adapt
to this new solution; and fail to set forth quantifiable objectives for them
in terms of efficiency and productivity.
- The end users do not receive required training. As a result, treat the new
solution as an added burden rather than a tool to increase efficiency and
- In many cases, IT infrastructure is not up-to-date enough and lacks power
to support the new solution.
- Due to inadequate understanding by the management of the e-business solutions
that they plan to adopt, often, the time and money allocated to the project
are far less than required.
- Often the advanced Internet based e-business solutions require to be integrated
with portion of old systems that the company is presently using, which in
turn, sometimes generates software and system incompatibility.
How to avoid pitfalls
E-business solutions are sophisticated systems that encompass significant areas
of the company and its relationship with customers. That’s why implementation
of these projects should be carried out according to detailed plans.
Create a well developed scope. In creating the scope involve all end-users
of the solution, not only the technical and business model experts. Get answers
to the questions like:
- What is the single most important goal that the company is planning to reach
thanks to this solution?
- What critical problems the solution is meant to solve?
- Are the time and money spent justifies its implementation?
- What are the implementation milestones?
- How you will know that you have reached those milestones?
Once you got all the relevant people of the company involved in the process,
choose an implementation taskforce of experts from all required sections. This
team should be responsible for developing the implementation plan. According
to this plan assign resources and deadlines. Upon completion of each stage of
implementation get senior management involved in order to review the progress.
Education and Training
Education should cover the “why” side of the solution and training the “how”
- Identify the people that required getting trained and educated.
- Define objectives
- Define training and education criteria and select syllabus
- Set the evaluation method
- Conduct the actual learning process
- Assess their progress
Implementation of the solution should take place according to the strict predefined
Upon completion of each stage of implementation get senior management involved
in reviewing progress. Conduct reality check!
- How does the solution meet your expectations so far?
- Is it doing what it’s supposed to do?
- Do you need to revise any of your priorities?
Once the implementation is over, set up a thorough post implementation meeting
with the taskforce and the relevant end-users. The important thing here is to
identify if everybody involved with the project is satisfied with the result
In order to successfully implement e-business solutions, it is very important
that you fully understand the technologies behind it. If require hire a consultant
and work closely with her. In the long run, this might save you substantial
time and money.
Here are other things to remember:
- E-business solutions are mere tools. Don’t expect them to radically change
everything that you learnt about business processes.
- E-business solution implementations like any other project require strict
step by step project management.
- Before considering an e-business solution, make sure that there is a sound
business need to get it. E-marketplace, Private exchange, Business portal
are few of the e-business solutions that help you attracting new customers
and markets. These solutions also allow streamlining many of the vital business
processes. In your e-business strategy these solutions should be at the top
of the list.
- Keep track of the new technologies and keep an eye to your competitors’
e-business strategies. E-business is an extremely fast moving segment; you
should be ready for changes and embrace them whenever it’s necessary.