As technical consultants, we often are asked, “I have [insert problem here]. What software should I use?” If the answer were this simple, our jobs would be a breeze.
The truth of the matter is, businesses are complex. No two organizations ever have the same problem or the same operational requirements. For example, a Not-For-Profit and a Manufacturing company could both need a solution to Automate their AP processes. However, they are going to have completely different routing policies and approval structures. They also probably do not receive invoices in the same manner or same volume. They have the same problem, but the solution will be very different. This is why we encourage our clients to do one thing before they dive into selecting a new software… document, document, document.
KTL starts every new solution implementation with a JAD (Joint Application Design.) This is where we come together with the client and document current and to-be processes, pain points/problems, and meet with End-Users as well as C-Level Executives to discuss their needs. Going through this process is key to ensuring a successful implementation. Every User in the organization could have a different take on what the problem is and how to fix it. An AP clerk may see that the organization receives a lot of invoices via email and believes there should be a way to automatically capture these invoices into the system; whereas a COO sees vulnerabilities and security risks with physical filing cabinets with paper invoices. These two needs would be documented in the JAD, and a software solution would be recommended to fit everyone’s needs.
Another reason we start with a JAD is that organizations already own a lot of technology that they do not utilize. We see this with almost every client. For example, many business software, including Dynamics GP, are SQL based. If you own SQL, then you own SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). SSRS is a very powerful reporting tool and can be used with a data warehouse on the back end to pull in multiple data sources. The reports can then be accessed via a web browser for Users to come in and run their reports based on their security rights. Now an organization has a reporting and analytics tool with self-service capabilities without purchasing any new software. Had the organization not taken a step back, examined their processes and needs, and did a technology audit, they would have spent at least $60k on new software when the problem was taken care of with existing tools.
Finally, a reason you absolutely want to perform a JAD before the start of a new implementation is to make sure everyone is on the same page. When I say everyone, I mean the consultant doing the work, the End-Users, the Project Sponsor, the Project Manager, the CEO, your mom, the janitor, everyone! Anyone involved in an implementation has seen it… You get to the point of pilot testing, and someone comes out of the woodwork saying that this is not how the system should operate and it does not solve the problem of x,y, and z or someone asks, “Wait, has Martha seen this?” (You have never heard of Martha up until this moment.) A JAD, where all their requirements are documented, and everyone has signed off on the same set of requirements, would prevent this.
Implementations are tricky all around and can be quite stressful. Before you select a software and dive in, take a step back and examine what is going on in the organization internally, document your processes, and talk to key Users. This will save you a lot of grief and ensure you get a solution that will last and grow with the organization.
Interested in having KTL Solutions write up a JAD for your company? Contact KTL Solutions at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301.360.0001
[avatar user=”mcharuhas” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” /]MARY CHARUHAS | Account Manager
Mary Charuhas has been with KTL since 2013, starting as a sales intern in the summer of 2013 and moving to Business Development and Internal Sales in the spring of 2014. She is currently pursuing her Associate Degree in Business Management from Frederick Community College and hopes to continue her education at the University of Maryland next spring. Mary also possesses several Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM Sales certifications. She manages KTL’s existing customers through providing them with ongoing knowledge of the products, assisting them with upgrades and continuing projects, keeping them informed about updates/new releases, events, and training opportunities. Her charisma and passion for providing excellent customer service make her a valuable asset to KTL’s sales department.