Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Human Element of Technology Implementation Management: An IBM Datacap Use Case

A successful demonstration of IBM® Datacap Taskmaster’s latest and greatest capture technology concludes with a roar bursting from a conference room.  Hands shake, business cards fly and “we’ll meet soon” are offered and accepted with euphoric optimism.  A solution is here and it’s time to get busy.

Six months later, the customer’s favorite topics now include inconsistencies to what was demonstrated versus actual testing results.  Where did this come from?  Sound familiar? While the laundry list of possible causes is beyond the capacity of one blog and most certainly one's patience. In dealing with technology, I’d like to offer a common source to our legitimate frustrations: being human.

Flashing back to the demo and the blockbusting slide of the presentation deck exclaiming, “IBM® Datacap Taskmaster full text OCR capability can eliminate manual data entry and streamline your data capture processing!”  Did everyone during the demo receive the same amazing revelation?

I doubt it.

A CEO would lean forward in excitement and imagine benefits this could have on the company’s strategic direction, small details are insignificant.  An IT team member would laser into just how this miracle of technology is possible and make a mental note to ask for proof later.  An operations manager or front-line associate may have concluded exactly how they will no longer be needed and begin to mentally rebuild their résumé.

We are human and will react emotionally to what excites or concerns us directly.  We will create gaps that don’t exist, ignore those that do, make erroneous assumptions, and create facts from fiction.  Our emotions will manifest themselves into poorly translated requirements, creativity or indifference, and paradigm shifts in which little if nothing seems right.

So what can we do?  Accept our nature and incorporate steps within our processes and customer interactions to acknowledge perceptions and attitude shifts.  Examples could include:
Perform a detailed review of the demonstration to capture and clarify perceived benefits before defining requirements.
Stop using “documentation block” as a shield and avoid the tone deaf, never ending banter of “you didn't ask for it” versus “you didn't tell us we needed it.”  Instead expect misunderstanding, talk about it and plan room for it.
Focusing on small business group audiences to validate processes and measurements.
Include enhancement phases into the project and set the expectation they will be needed.  First swings rarely yield homeruns.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion”  - Dale Carnegie

Christopher Piskun is an award-winning senior consultant at Prolifics with progressive experience in directing complex operations, developing strategies, and leading high performance teams to advance key initiatives. Christopher’s 14 years’ experience, including ECM certification and BPM expertise, enables clients to increase efficiency, improve control of information, and reduce information management costs. He is adept at cultivating partnerships and building lasting relationships across global business sectors. He excels at driving results utilizing measurable, world-class planning, project management, and change control methodologies. Christopher possesses specialized knowledge in implementing business process improvements and quality, while leveraging his broad knowledge to consistently surpass business goals and improve operations.