Ready, Fire, Aim – Color Inkjet Technology Implementation
By Richard Losch on August 29th, 2012
Color Inkjet print technology has great promise for the document industry. It is all the rage in many circles direct marketing, transactional communication etc. but is it fulfilling its promise. Companies are buying the capabilities at an increasing rate but are they a solution to a problem/need or are they a solution in search of a problem. Will the implementations succeed or fail?
In a Deloitte report in 2011 they state “A sound business case will provide the tool against which the degree of success or failure of the project can be measured. In essence – if expected benefits are not achieved, the project has failed and / or – if projected costs (and here we include project duration – as this has its own costs attached) are exceeded to an extent where the benefits are no longer viable – the project has failed.” This may seem obvious but for it to be useful the expected benefits and implementation time must be clearly defined.
Research on technology implementation failures show the most common causes of failure include:
- Failure to completely identify the needs/benefits
- Failure to distinguish between needs and wants
- Failure to evaluate technical requirements of the support staff and evaluate staff competencies.
- Failure to accurately predict implementation time requirements
- Underfunding/ poor or incomplete implementation budgets
- Failure to select the best product options.
- Deloitte concludes: “However, in our experience, lack of user adoption is the most prevalent issue currently facing the implementation of technology projects.”
The key to improving success rate is to do the work to clearly identify the target in significant detail and place a value on each element of the technology project. Inkjet technology is no different as it has many significant variables upstream and downstream from the actual technology itself. Do not rush into the program without a significant analysis phase and participation of the organization as a whole. In our experience using the tools of Business Process Improvement (BPI) provide a disciplined approach to assuring the current state process is identified as well as the future state process and the gaps between.
Deloitte concluded “the success or failure of a technology implementation project is determined in the initial phases of the project – like anything you build: the design and the foundations must be sound.
- Before the project is approved, a comprehensive business case that includes all costs and realistic benefits must be developed.
- Once approved, all employees who will be touched by the solution must be included or represented – preferably even before a solution is selected.
- A system integration partner who has both industry and implementation experience should be appointed.
- The analysis phase should be conducted by a team of experts including key business representatives and experienced consultants.
- Only after a meaningful analysis phase, can a realistic plan be developed – and maybe even a revised business case. By trying to fit an implementation into an unrealistic plan the expected benefits will not be achieved and the project will go over time and over budget – in other words the project will fail.
The best way to do this is get ready, aim carefully and then fire. Independent experts with experience and knowledge of printing and in particular inkjet printing technology can provide beneficial assistance in defining the requirements, developing test process and developing a detail end to end plan gaining staff buy in delivering a successful project on time and with ROI as planned.