With “turnkey,” “frictionless” and “low-touch” solution designs driving expectations on time-to-value, it's important to focus on the intangible value drivers that have a tremendous impact on the return onn investment (ROI). Centered in the value of knowledge and expertise, a strategic partner can make all the difference. If your solutions vendor has an in-house team offering professional success services, they can help ensure even the fastest implementations yield the right level of results, thus moving beyond vendor status to become a trusted advisor for your team.
Here are my favorite tips for maxing out ROI:
Round out your project team
Maximizing ROI starts long before deployment, when you take the first steps to create your project management (PM) team. Not all implementations are created equal, and as such there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to assembling a PM team. The team you ultimately choose to handle your solution’s deployment should have a well-rounded skillset, including a balance of company knowledge (culture, process, etc.) and knowledge of the specific solution you are implementing.
This is about building a joint partnership, so ask your partner about its project team structure and look for its ability to create a combined team approach. The partner’s knowledge of the solution and similar deployments will be invaluable. Equally valuable will be your organization’s PMs. They can contribute their unique project leadership skills, also bringing their own value to add to the implementation (such as knowledge of culture, sentiment, capabilities, etc.). A reputable vendor will understand the value of creating a team that brings unique perspective and combined skillsets. This will make all the difference in managing change and maximizing value down the road.
Prioritize user adoption
Even if you have the utmost confidence your solution of choice is truly turnkey, never forget that a solution only works to its full strength (and yields a full ROI) if its user adoption is strong. Training comes to mind first, and it must be thorough and tailored to the users’ specific needs, which may (and likely will) change over the different stages of deployment.
It can be tempting to provide some light, general training on the solution, with the rest left to be learned via hands-on experience. This certainly works in some cases, but by no means is it a guarantee of success. The priority should be maximizing user adoption to extract the most value out of the solution. Typically, that requires extensive, expert-level, hands-on training for users along with ongoing partnership and support.
Your solutions vendor will know that adoption is about more than just training and will have resources in place to augment it. You should leverage those resources whenever possible. An especially useful service involves running “health checks” with analytical capabilities to determine what end users need help with and how to adjust your strategy, as necessary. Your vendor’s resources can help you expedite time to value and increase the amount of value.
Look to the future
With the excitement of a successful deployment in front of you, you are likely focused on the here and now. Your solution may work out fantastically and achieve its objectives this year – but what about beyond that? Expectations could increase, the business could evolve or your solution may need to be augmented to match new objectives, to name a few scenarios.
What if your investment today could continue delivering value and ROI over time as needs change?
Every solution should be “future-ready” – that is, set up to be scalable and compatible with future solutions and existing infrastructure. This could involve designing your solution strategy with a technology roadmap in mind, extending your relationship with your partner to add progressively more value over time or linking your solution to various platforms, sites or locations to improve the analytics that help capture your key performance indicators (KPI). With the right partner, there’s never a shortage of ways to increase ROI.
With a few simple steps, you can ensure that your solution is set up to deliver continuously more value for years to come. Above all, remember never to overlook your solution vendor’s in-house resources. They can – and often do – make all the difference in maximizing your ROI.
This post originally published on Medium.com.