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The economy is strong these days and many engineering and manufacturing companies are looking to make investments in enterprise solutions, such as PDM, PLM, MRP, ERP and the like. As strong as the economy is, many of us have had experiences in the past that have molded us into what we are today … more cautious, skeptical and calculating buyers.
So, let’s talk about “risk” and more importantly, risk mitigation. With any large investment, some degree of risk is inherent. I’m not aware of anything that you can do, to remove risk completely, from any investment in technology. However, there are definitely some steps that you can take to mitigate much of the risk.
The truth will set you free! The truth is that most of the solutions out there will work for you. The market will typically squash products that don’t work, very quickly. Social media has given the market a much stronger voice and the “junk” out there typically gets called out very quickly and usually crawls back under the rock that it came from. This is good news. That said, as long as you’re doing your due diligence, your real risk probably does NOT revolve around whether a product will work for you or not. The number one risk related to all of these solutions is software adoption.
Regardless of how strong and capable a solution might be, if your team fails to adopt it, the solution will likely fail. So, what can you do to ensure a successful adoption? These two things can really help
- Invest in a team/company who has a proven track record of successful implementations and high adoption rates. Ask for references, search the forums … find the people, teams and companies that can “make it happen.”
- Focus on ease of use. I’ve said for years that “a PDM systems is only as good as it is easy to use.” We’re human; as such, we are problem solvers. What do you think people will do when you put a hurdle in front of them? They will figure out how to get over, around, under or through that hurdle. So remove the hurdle! Invest in a solution that is proven to be easy to use and has high adoption and retention rates.
Whether it’s PDM, PLM, ERP, MRP or something similar, the truth is that MOST of these products today are at least “good.” These products are generally robust, stable and feature-rich. “Better” and “best” solutions are easy to use and are paired with implementation teams that focus on high adoption rates, leading to excellent ROI. Again, look beyond the features … if people can’t figure out how to use the tool, it will fail.
In summary, you can mitigate much of the risk associated with these investments. Redirect your focus away from features and towards successful adoption, which stems from ease of use and a competent implementation team/plan.
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