Article from Implementation Accelerator ()
October 22, 2007
Creating Implementation Readiness
Why installation isn’t enough to get to ROI, and what to do about it

It’s no secret that most new technology falls short of delivering all the anticipated benefits that were used to justify the investment.  In fact, our field research at Implementation Management Associates (IMA) over the last 30 years indicates that 70% of major system installations fail to achieve the promised benefits. Plus they miss the mark in coming in on time and on budget.  And technology integrity is not the issue in over 85% of those failures.

The problem can be traced to the failure to integrate the human element with the technology so that users both accept and build commitment to the optimal utilization of the new system.

Too often, organizations measure success based on “installation”—meaning the system functions and is up and running. Based on what we know about system utilization, the real definition of success should be Return on Investment— meaning system optimization is achieved.

It’s ironic that organizations understand the need to invest in hardware, software, and even process definition, but fail to adequately invest in the “people side” of the initiative.  Yet the failure is virtually always on the people side of the equation. 

To create readiness, organizations must plan for, and manage resistance as part of the implementation plan. User resistance to the new system is inevitable and unavoidable.  It’s not a function of whether users like or even understand the technology.  Rather, it’s a reaction to the disruption they confront in having to do things differently—the change of current methods, processes, and behaviors.   What’s more, traditional organizational responses such as communication and training will only have a limited impact on the strength and durability of this resistance.

Maximum Return on Investment in technology is gained by understanding the process of creating readiness, and investing in building it well before the end of the Design phase.  You can’t begin to create readiness after you “Go Live” on the system.

The typical sequence in most organizations is to attempt to deal with resistance after the Go Live launch:

Design….Installation….Go Live….Resistance….Utilization

When it should be:

Design….Plan Implementation….Create Readiness….Manage Adaptation….Achieve Optimization

To proactively build readiness, we recommend that organizations apply IMA’s proprietary Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM). The methodology considers 6 critical factors that serve to determine readiness, including Willingness, Ability, Information, Control, Confidence, and Adaptation. 

The responsibility for creating readiness must be transferred from IT executives to business sponsors as the implementation progresses from Design to Implementation Planning.

Sponsorship is a very active condition that requires business leaders to express their commitment to the new system by demonstrating the importance of the project through their own behavior change, and by applying appropriate rewards and penalties for system optimization, not installation.

The AIM methodology provides a disciplined, structured approach for creating readiness that goes well beyond what is traditionally called “Change Management.”  Organizations can either invest resources to create readiness, or be forced to expend them to manage resistance. 

Unmanaged resistance increases cost, reduces speed, and delays or prevents Return on Investment.  If you ignore the inevitable resistance, you will pay in the long-term for system sub-optimization. Pay now, or pay later.  It’s your choice.

IMA can help you develop an implementation plan that will build organizational readiness for any change.  To learn more, contact Paula Alsher, Vice President, Client Solutions, at 866-996-7788 or by email at

Published by Paula Alsher
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