July 24, 2018

All About On-boarding: Why Successful Implementation Depends On It

Written by
Daniel Golub
Tags: CMMS

There’s the old saying that goes, “if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; but if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.” What place might an antiquated adage hold in the world of advanced management technology?

Well, efficiency and enthusiasm in the on-boarding process has proven imperative to the success of any CMMS implementation. In fact, a recent report from the US found that approximately 80% of all computerized maintenance management system implementations have presented glitches or even failures due to insufficient on-boarding at the outset.

If a provider installs a maintenance management system without offering a proper on-boarding experience, the company may experience optimization for a minute. However, if a provider takes the time to truly educate the company, and the company takes the time to truly accept and invest in that education, the company is guaranteed to see growth in efficiency and productivity well into the future. Indeed, proper on-boarding ensures a lifetime of fish. But how?

Let’s first begin by looking at what constitutes improper on-boarding, and what the reasons might be for these initial false-starts for many CMMS implementations?

There are four main factors that contribute to poor implementation experiences when initiating a CMMS for the first time.

Non-specific goal setting

The first big roadblock to a successful implementation are loose goals. If the goals and intended outcomes are unclear or poorly defined at the start, expectations of the program are very rarely met. Essentially, if you don’t know what you want from the system, how can the system know?

By defining these goals early and in certain terms, the system can be tailored to your timeline and expectations, ensuring that there are no disappointments come program evaluation. Taking some time to talk with your team, and your provider, about exactly what you want is the first step to a successful implementation process.

The big guys didn’t buy-in

The second roadblock is a lack of leadership investment. In short, everyone needs to be on board with the on-boarding process. Successful implementation, in many ways, is a top-down process. If members of the team who hold leadership positions do not establish a kind of fluency around the program, developing a language in which to communicate the aforementioned goals becomes nearly impossible. Team leads need to do as their namesake and lead the team in adopting the intricacies and functions of the CMMS. Period.

Not enough time to train

Unfortunately, a lack of training is another marker of a doomed implementation, creating the third roadblock. Taking the time to embrace the system and learn how it works is the best thing a company can do to ensure the system’s overall success. Many companies worry that this will be time consuming, and are intimidated at the thought of educating themselves on something new and possibly more advanced than they’re used to.

This makes perfect sense. New is sometimes scary! But a good CMMS provider will take the time to make the task of on-boarding as easy and painless as possible. An investment in your learning is an investment in the performance of their product. It only makes sense that the provider prioritizes your understanding first and foremost.

An Insufficient interface

Finally, if the CMMS does not have an intuitive user-experience, all bets are off. When a program appears daunting to the naked eye, or even to the trained eye, companies tend to avoid getting to know the ins-and-outs of the system. If the interface is clear, concise, and communicative in its function, on-boarding becomes much more palatable to the user, which obviously bolsters the outcomes in the end.

When selecting a CMMS software provider, it is in your company’s best interest to consider a provider that pays close attention to user feedback, and has been open and willing to adjust their product in response to that feedback. Rigidity has no place in the fast paced world of maintenance management, so flexibility is an excellent attribute for the provider to possess.

Further, a good customer service experience is essential to implementing your new system, and finding a company that will answer your questions thoroughly in the beginning will ensure expedited resolutions to possible problems in the future. Basically, finding a CMMS provider that is prepared to teach you to fish means less headache in the long run, a smoother launch from the get go, and a successful CMMS implementation overall!

So, what does a successful CMMS implementation actually look like then?

Embracing Collaboration

A good CMMS implementation isn’t about adopting new ways and abandoning the old ones. Partnering with a company that will help to align existing projects and strategies with new ones will make for the most seamless implementation. By doing this, there are almost always significant improvements in efficiencies, performance, and productivity overall, and these can usually be noticed quite quickly!

A good CMMS provider should recognize that the relationship between provider and recipient is entirely collaborative and is not just about coming in to your established landscape and mixing things up to the point that things are entirely new from top to bottom. A good implementation takes stock of what exists and future potential, and finds a place for them to meet in the middle. Efficient implementation, after all, is about solid on-boarding, clear communication, and partnership.

Unfortunately, it seems partnership is one of the most often missed ingredients. According to recent research in the field, a shocking 4 out of every 5 management executives are not sure where their business strategies and their projects should meet. By this we mean that poor planning and unrealistic timelines will inevitably lead to an implementation flop.

That said, sussing out a CMMS provider that will take the time to work alongside management to help evaluate current processes will benefit your company or project immensely. Further, if the company you’ve selected is able to provide accurate predictions regarding the overall impact of the CMMS on your project or business will lead to better planning, and better outcomes.

Trust (and continuously follow) the process

Finally, making a commitment to keep up to date on all things related to your CMMS is the best way to ensure its success. This means that each time a system update rolls out, or your company expands, take stock of your CMMS. Evaluate its capacities as they work to align with your goals. If they no longer align, connect with your provider and change it up. Remaining abreast of all things CMMS will help you to know what to ask for. Knowledge is power, so staying connected and up to speed will be your best defence from falling behind.

On-boarding is essential to the success of your CMMS implementation. It’s so important that a company be selective when choosing their CMMS provider, taking time to look for one that meets all of their defined needs, and prioritizes customer relationships and proper training. Happy fishing!

Daniel Golub is the General Manager at Hippo CMMS and has worked with the company since 2011. He has an MBA majoring in International Marketing.