The readiness guide for Software AG products
The path to your digital transformation lies in knowing—and being ready for—what’s ahead.
Your business faces new challenges and market demands practically every day. To keep pace—or better yet, to stay ahead—you need to quickly choose and adopt the right technology. But you need to make sure your organization is ready to make the most of these technology investments. If not, you are left with all of the cost and none of the benefit. Indeed, the three sweetest words to project owners may be “time to value.”
We understand this, and it’s why your path to success with Software AG products is our top priority. This guide is here to help. It will walk you through the six phases of the implementation journey, each outlining service capabilities and best practices for a successful adoption of your project in your organization.
- Phase 1: Purchase. Discover how to best align value with ROI right from the beginning of your project so you get the most from your investment.
- Phase 2: Plan: Put the right people and plans in place to drive towards an expected (and ideal) outcome.
- Phase 3: Implement. Ensure your organization is ready with the technical requirements and resources to carry your project through implementation, onboarding and production use.
- Phase 4: Communicate. Effectively communicate change and the business impact of the new technology to your organization.
- Phase 5: Adopt. Understand the training and enablement your team needs to successfully adopt the product.
- Phase 6: Realize. Measure and validate how the product aligns with your core business drivers and ROI objectives.
With this readiness guide, you will learn how to form a strategy that delivers value and addresses your key business objectives. It will help you take steps to identify, plan and deliver both quick wins and long-term objectives—and of course, enable your organization to adopt and promote your Software AG product from day one.
Phase 1: Purchase
From our first contact with their sales team, to their help in designing our solution and integration architecture, Software AG has been a true partner in every sense. With the best product on the market, we've rapidly transformed our operations, achieved a fast time to value and are free to shape our future as a truly data-driven enterprise.
While you know you have work ahead of you, it’s important to understand the timing and set of activities that will happen when the contract is signed. More importantly, it’s critical to outline the value you want to derive from your purchase to plan accordingly and help your organization unlock the potential of your new technology across the value chain.
Your first step is to identify key stakeholders within your organization to understand their concerns for this procurement. More than likely, your buying team spans more than one department. Manage expectations of as-is and to-be states by bringing teams together early to ask questions and get feedback.
Second, align your expected ROI to where you think your organization can most benefit. Start mapping out your organization’s KPIs to get a clear picture of how your solution will be measured. With your buying team, understand where you can align along the value chain, rather than being solely focused on singular outcomes.
- Who is going to deliver the value?
- What does successful implementation and adoption of this technology look like for my organization?
- Where can I realize value quickly, and then, over time?
Phase 2: Plan
Dale Carnegie famously said, “an hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.” Chances are you need to stand your project up and realize value from it quickly. Having the right plan and people in place will help you be better prepared to avoid common implementation pitfalls and mitigate any known risks (and lessen the impact of unforeseen ones) for a smooth implementation process.
The overall approach to your project relies on clearly defining a strategy that delivers value by addressing your business opportunities up front.
Key planning factors that lead to success:
- Start with the end in mind. Develop an implementation roadmap that drives toward your organization’s desired outcomes.
- Lead your organization to adopt change. To effect real transformation, speak directly to the stakeholders and champions in your organization to influence the cultural mindset that will drive productive technology adoption.
- Track your progress. Establish goals and measures for expected outcomes as you work toward your objectives.
Phase 3: Implement
Now that you have clearly defined your strategy and your stakeholders are engaged, it’s time to make sure your organization is ready with the technical requirements and resources that will carry your project through implementation, onboarding and production use.
First, gain an understanding of the skills your organization needs to adopt the solution. Ask yourself:
- Is your organization structured properly to accept the new tool?
- Does your team have the skill sets necessary to complete this project?
Identifying skill gaps early on will help you better prepare for what’s to come. After all, your people are as valuable of an investment as your technology. If your IT team’s main objective is to focus on innovation, consider working with an outside managed services provider to help accelerate implementation and to see results faster. Bringing in outside support can help operate your platform and ensure business continuity, so you can make sure your strategic digital projects get the attention they deserve. (Software AG offers a team of Managed Services experts that can help.)
Next, consider change communication that focuses on engaging, informing and enabling your people, processes and technology to orient your implementation toward success.
Critical activities include:
- Planning & strategy: As discussed in phase two, align business needs and goals with desired outcomes. Knowing your plan will help you “do the right things and do things right.”
- Delivery excellence: Determine how to best enable your internal team and/or leverage partners to instill quality.
- Operations management: Prepare and enable your operations team and/or infrastructure to support the platform. Equally as important, consider if your team is equipped to maintain the solution or if you will need additional support from Managed Services, Cloud Operations or Partner services.
- Architecture: Establish a strong technical foundation by leveraging proper techniques and best practices around architecture, scaling and technological currency (new capabilities, patches, and upgrades).
- Customer experience: Customer needs drive business value. Organize to deliver value and improved customer experience to grow your business. Set up feedback loops for both internal and external customers to support continuous improvement and drive value over time.
ARIS has become an important tool not only for the BT process community but also for our business teams. BT is pleased to have SAG’s expert Premium Services Team manage our day-to-day operations so we can focus on our business objectives. We have a dedicated Software AG ARIS Value Engineer who knows BT and ensures our ARIS products are optimized to our specific business functions. In the end, we’ve found that working closely as a team makes all the difference in achieving greater successes!
Phase 4: Communicate
Communication is, without a doubt, one of the single most important things your project needs to succeed. Without engaged stakeholders and buy-in from your organization, your road to adoption may be rocky. Inclusion drives adoption. With clear change communications in place, you will best prepare your organization for change—and bring everyone along for the ride.
Establishing thoughtful change communication will focus and direct your organization to better understand your path to successful digital transformation. Planning for change will help you:
- Reduce barriers to adoption across your organization, ensuring that all employees are focused on a single goal.
- Gain support in planning and directing transformation initiatives while ensuring alignment with CxO goals and objectives.
- Gain employee confidence in the vision being shared by their CxOs so they know how they can best contribute to achieve the overarching goals of the transformation initiative.
Phase 5: Adopt
When calculated using sound methodology, training has been shown to provide significant return on investment: on the order of 5 to 200 percent.
68% of trained employees use products more often. Proper training is essential to get the most from your investment. Establish approaches to foster adoption, knowledge transfer and innovation to keep your team up to speed on the latest product capabilities and best practices. Assess the skill set of your resources to determine the right approach:
- Depending on the size and maturity of your team, self-paced training, product certifications, or instructor-led trainings can address your skill needs.
- Explore the Software AG Tech Community to gain access to our PRIME knowledgebase, forums, news, extended community, and operations and support organizations.
- Implement mentoring approaches that promote teaming and knowledge transfer within your organization.
- Understand where partners and XaaS services, such as our Fast Track Services, can assist you in improving your time to market and ROI.
You can shape your organization to sustain growth and deliver premium customer experience with champions and experts within your organization that can evangelize the adoption of the solution. Consider establishing Centers of Excellence (CoE) to spur adoption across teams. And finally, create resource plans to identify skill sets and understand gaps where you still need support once your team gets started.
Phase 6: Realize
The Software AG team was open, invested in the outcomes and supportive all the way through. Every touchpoint and engagement with Software AG felt good.
Tracking the realized value of your new solution against the goals and objectives you set out to achieve is only one part of the story. Your solution’s implementation must also map to the vision and drivers of specific outcomes. Maintain forward motion with your solution with sound IT governance and enterprise architecture. Once mapped these processes maximize innovation and minimize duplication of function. This in turns leaves you better positioned to leverage technology plans that utilize the capabilities of your technology today, while extending roadmaps that visualize and communicate the value of ‘next steps’ in your digital transformation. Gap analysis of as-is and to-be states aid in uncovering opportunities to focus on growth through standardization.
You may also consider establishing a Project Management Office (PMO) to drive projects to outcomes that deliver business value and improved customer experiences. Your PMO should be empowered to select "low-hanging fruit" as quick wins and manage the myriad dependencies within and across projects. With your PMO in place, establish an execution framework that focuses on “good enough” and iterative improvements to reach and achieve targeted outcomes.
Operational readiness is key to your success. Ensure your managed services or operations team has the knowledge and support to maintain the availability and currency of your technology platform. For these teams, consider implementing change control, security management and operational sustainability controls. Explore processes that will incorporate the latest product features and improvements and leverage DevOps techniques to streamline efficient deployments.
The digital transformation space is rapidly accelerating, and your business relies on the successful implementation of your solution. A well-defined plan and approach, delivered with best practices, gives you a solid foundation to deliver and realize value for your organization. Continuous refinement of your goals mapped to your overall vision will help you identify opportunities as well risks, so you can pivot where and when necessary.
5 key takeaways for your organization’s success
- Drive value from your solution by mapping your desired business outcomes to your overall business strategy.
- Work with our Services teams to better understand how our product capabilities can support your business as you grow over time. Build your solution to evolve with your digital transformation objectives.
- Leverage our expertise and experience to find ways to realize value quickly and gain adoption within your organization to reach your desired ROI.
- Your people are your greatest asset. A well-structured plan will give them the tools and skills they need to not only be successful, but to drive transformation in your organization repeatedly.
- Communicate early, often and throughout the lifecycle of your solution. Set up feedback loops with internal and external customers to continuously innovate and improve your solution.