Logistics Management recently published a piece on Maximizing ROI from Technology that included some good tips that deserve to be repeated.
The first point to note is that, as stated by Beth Peterson (President of BPE Global), the biggest mistake [companies] make is that they implement a solution without even beginning to measure what they were doing before they implemented it. You can’t maximize ROI if you don’t even know what you’re measuring against!
The second point to note is that expectations have to be realistic. You’ll never achieve your goals if they are unrealistic. Also, as the article suggests, when setting goals, try to be as precise as possible. Is it cost savings? Better customer service? Faster delivery? What are the specific metrics that you are trying to improve and by how much?
In addition, as noted, make sure that the objectives do not benefit one functional area to the detriment of others or to the company as a whole. Otherwise, you’re not going to get much support for your endeavor.
Then select the right vendor. One can start with the vendor evaluation and selection criteria evaluated in the article, but as pointed out in SI’s recent series’ on Technology Trials (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.1, Part IV.2, and Part V, Part VI) and Best Practice Vendor Selection for True Multi-Nationals (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V), selecting the right technology vendor just isn’t that easy. Remember, in the end, it doesn’t matter how strategic the IT Vendor is, it only matters how strategic the solution they offer is.
And get the implementation right. As per the article, Key factors that need to be in place include the flowing: effective user training; management support of and commitment to the initiative; sufficient allocation of resources; and, perhaps most importantly, buy-in from the users. All of these pieces (which have been discussed in the SI Archives) are essential. Forget one, and it crumbles since you’re building a cube, not a pyramid.