“A majority of the total cost of a new technology system is the software or hardware itself.”
“Modern cloud-based software is intuitive and includes integrated support. Therefore, minimal training and ‘hand holding’ will be required.”
“A small dip in efficiency is going to be countered by a major improvement in productivity with our new software and systems.”
“Our vendor has assured us that our current servers, connectivity, and endpoints will all support this system without any major upgrades and that speed will not be an issue.”
A common rule of thumb is that implementation costs are equal to the retail price of a software application. Therefore, for a $300k/year application or subscription, the direct implementation labor costs will also be about $300k. Discounts on the application do not change the labor requirements for an implementation, which may drive this 1:1 ratio of subscription:implementation to a 1:2 ratio in some instances. This rule of thumb generally does not include temporary disruptions in business efficiency, the costs of interfaces, servers, hosting, or connectivity, nor time away from production for training. In addition, the average vendor’s undiscounted maintenance cost for enterprise applications and equipment is 18% of the initial retail price annually.
A properly managed and executed vendor selection and implementation process, that leverages vendor resources and the experience of our client’s peer organizations, and which factors in the surge resources needed for a comprehensive and complete implementation, are proven to reduce total costs and minimize business interruption. The V&R team’s combined technology implementation and process improvement experience results in faster, more reliable implementations by engaging the right people and process up-front to assure an on-time and on-budget delivery.
While it’s true that cloud-based applications, and specifically those that include “out of the box” integrations, tend to be easier to provision and access than ever before, integration with proprietary systems and work processes are as labor intensive as ever. Additionally, because many cloud-based systems exist in a silo of security and uniformity, integrations with premise-based and legacy applications are often more challenging than in days past when a new application was loaded on an existing network and fully customizable. Firms should expect the ability to configure but not extensively customize applications that are provided “as a service”, as vendors choose common features and configurations to support and secure, often causing unexpected change requirements at the front line and client frustration.
Effective change requires an authentic partnership. Understanding the role and perspectives of each vendor, manufacturer, business leader, technology implementer, and end-user are absolutely critical when formulating and delivering a transition to a cloud-centric or hybrid platform. The V&R team employs experts with experience in each of these roles and leverages their experience in service to the client and their staff on every project. Vendors, manufacturers, and contractors require clear direction and accountability in their proprietary language to most efficiently deliver their products and services. Our experienced and certified team enhances and supplements internal resources, and when requested will take total accountability for project and vendor management in its entirety.
Without experienced leadership, careful planning, multi-departmental engagement, and contemporary processes and procedures, some companies experience a substantial, and occasionally unrecoverable, dip in productivity when implementing new enterprise applications. Promises of efficiency are often predicated on assumptions that will not come to fruition without engagement and commitment from business leaders across the enterprise, specifically those outside of IT and Finance.
Engagement with the entire enterprise, including frontline staff, executives, board members, suppliers and vendors, clients, and regulators are absolutely critical to assure operational continuity during a technology transition. Properly selected and implemented technologies enhance and automate existing efficiencies, empower staff and clientele, and deliver labor and financial efficiencies well in excess of cost. Establishing reasonable expectations for participation in the configuration and implementation of new systems and process is critical, and is a science onto itself. V&R’s highly trained and experienced experts employ implementation science techniques for every technology platform integration and are renowned for their work assuring promises of improved efficiency and reliability are realized.
One of the most common critiques of new software systems, especially those with substantial databases such as ERP and EHR systems, is that of unacceptably slow speed. Transitioning from a premise-based client-server configuration to a cloud-centric, or hybrid infrastructure causes entirely unique and often unanticipated burdens on existing communications infrastructure, both inside and outside of company-operated facilities. Further, entirely new types of redundancy must be considered that take into account dependencies on aging network infrastructure, dependence on second and third-party vendors of which the end user’s business is not the direct client and the dynamic balance of security and efficiency that must be maintained.
All businesses, regardless of size and age, have legacy technology, multiple communications modalities, and unique work processes in place. This social and technological fabric, that is largely invisible to clients and vendors, must be uncovered and documented during a major technological overhaul. Understanding how “the work really happens” and what technologies and processes may improve efficiency is key to selecting, upgrading, and fortifying the underlying infrastructure that people and technologies must rely on to fully leverage new software and hardware. Our V&R Infrastructures Team diligently uncovers and documents critical systems and processes, and works hand-in-hand with vendors and internal staff to properly scope and size upgrades to the entirety of the network and endpoints to assure maximum value is realized. When inevitable and unanticipated challenges surface, V&R’s team fortifies internal resources and assures vendors are held accountable while clients are serviced optimally with minimal interruption.