Have you ever seen the movie “There’s Something About Mary”? It contains a funny scene where the Ben Stiller character picks up a psychotic hitchhiker who pitches him on his new business idea ‐ 7 Minute Abs. The guy tells him, "You walk into a video store, you see 8‐minute abs sitting there and then you see 7‐minute abs on the shelf right beside it. Which one are you gonna pick man?" Stiller then proceeds to tell him that his is a great idea – at least until someone comes up with 6-minute abs.
I am reminded of this scene when I hear some of the vendor claims on how quickly customers can implement their ERP, PLM, or other business software solutions. Perhaps you too have heard the 30, 60, or 90 day claims being tossed around. Is this really possible? What are buyers to believe when they see some high profile fashion companies engaged in massive, multi‐year implementations of the same technology?
Accelerating software implementation cycles is very important in the fashion industry; where success depends on the ability to rapidly respond to changing business requirements. While it once took years to complete full scope implementations, today’s fashion companies often need to go‐live with critical system components in a two to six months to meet competitive pressures.
Some buyers attempt to shortcut implementation by installing new software without redesigning their related business processes. While this might be quick, continuing to perform tasks in the same way as before virtually removes the greatest opportunity to achieve sustainable benefits from the project. Keep in mind that the system implementation is, first and foremost, a business project that also has a technical component. Technology is simply a means to support business initiatives and achieve business goals.
Recent changes in business and technology have indeed opened up new opportunities to permanently reduce long implementation timelines. The custom application development that was common in older business systems has given way to packaged software that can be quickly configured to meet specific client needs. Modular software design enables buyers to take on smaller, focused projects rather than massive, full scope implementations. These and other changes have shifted much of the control and responsibility for implementation timelines to the buyer. So, that vendor claim of rapid implementation may not be a pie in the sky after all if you are ready and willing to do what it takes to make it happen. Five the things you can do to ensure your rapid implementation include: