Implementing software is a constant balancing act. Focus too much on the Executives, and you’ll use the End-Users. On the other hand, focus too much on the Digital Natives, and you’ll lose the Digital Laggards. A fundamental way to see where your scales may tip is to reflect on your Organization’s core elements: Confidence & Capability.
Confidence is the perception of how prepared an Organization’s user base is for implementation. High-confidence organizations coincide with the belief that the team is prepared for anything – bring it on! Conversely, low confidence Organizations are concerned about whether the team is ready for anything new. Regardless, Organizations should only take on new implementations when they believe they can succeed.
An Organization’s capability is the technical aptitude to take on new implementations and the infrastructure to make the software implementation long-lasting. High Capability organizations have a technically adept team – familiar with technological change. Also, they may have an infrastructure to handle the evolution of the software over time. Conversely, a low-capability organization has little technical or Change Management capabilities. This Organization does not have the structure, the team, or the change management expertise to successfully handle either the implementation or its use and maintenance after launch.
What type of Organization are you?
High-confidence, Low Capability: Run! This implementation will hurt unless you figure out a way to improve the capabilities within the Organization while lowering confidence just a smidge. In my experience, these organizations are the most demanding implementations, not because of the technical challenges but due to the mismatched belief that usually translates to the Organization’s disbelief that they are not ready for the challenge. The primary implementation focus requires shifting from the technology to breaking through that disbelief due to unnecessarily high confidence.
Low Confidence, Low Capability: Take any change introduction slowly and methodically. This Organization is realistic about its capabilities and is as close to the last adopters (of new software) as you can find. As long as they aren’t required to transform their tools drastically, they are OK with their QuarkXPress, Hypercard, and WordPerfect; thank you very much.
High Confidence, High Capability: The sky is the limit. More correctly, the budget and the focus are the limits. This Organization can be cutting-edge as long as it doesn’t do too much, too fast. In my experience, these organizations need to deliberate in their advancement approach. Otherwise, they risk going in too many directions simultaneously – being ineffective in all of them.
Low Confidence, High Capability: This Organization is ready for more but scared to progress. This Organization has highly technical folks that will leave if they aren’t given the systems and processes to support them. Though understandably skeptical, this Organization needs to learn how to channel its capabilities to overcome its confidence constraints.
So, what are you, and how would you classify your Organization?