veryard projects - innovation for demanding change

making technology successful

for user organizations

for product vendors

for R&D organizations

We can help organizations of all kinds to make technology successful.
Please read on to see how we can help you.
Or click on the type of organization to jump forward.

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Making technology successful for user organizations

Introduction

If you're an IT manager in a user organization, you're under pressure from all sides. You've got vendors demonstrating some exciting stuff, you've got staff demanding to use the latest stuff, and you've got business users demanding system features and levels of productivity that you just can't achieve with the tools and methods you're using at the moment. Furthermore, some of the systems you're running at the moment are so old, they're being maintained by kids that weren't born when the systems were first developed - and who knows how they will behave at the millennium. (Yes, the kids will get drunk and fall over.)

But you're already at the limit of your capacity to assimilate new stuff. Everything new has a learning curve attached, and you can't release people from their current workload for that much training. Tools that are supposed to increase productivity will probably be lucky to avoid a reduction in productivity in the first project, although they should pay back later. And you have to think about the interfaces and interactions between all the new stuff - every new product or technique entails further coordination efforts. Major technical advances will require changes in IT architectures, and perhaps also the job/career structures of your department.

So the cost of ownership is far higher than the price demanded by the vendors.

There is also the difficult question of getting the timing and sequencing right. You may have a firm conviction that - say - Component-Based Development is the way of the future, but when will the products be mature enough for your organization to use successfully on your projects?

Benefits

For the IT manager
  • More effective management of each technological advance.
  • More effective coordination of multiple initiatives
For IT staff
  • Opportunity to develop new capabilities
For the organization as a whole
  • Increase the capacity to assimilate and exploit new technologies.
  • Better return on technological investment.
For the organization's suppliers
  • Better and more positive feedback on product enhancements.
  • More effective utilization of their products enhances their commercial value.


Solution

For each significant technological advance, our solution has the following elements:

Management
  • Clear management objectives for the implementation of new technologies. These objectives are formulated in terms of adding value in specific ways to the business processes, to the applications portfolio, or to the technical infrastructure.
  • Milestone validation of implementation objectives, approach and timescale, and results.
Planning
  • Clear assessment of situation and opportunities.
  • Joint planning for deployment and exploitation, involving the vendor's representatives or other product experts. This is typically done by bring the key players together for planning workshops, facilitated by an external consultant.
Project Activities
  • Each innovation needs to be piloted. The knowledge gained on the pilot project must be carefully harvested, to enable follow-on projects to take maximum advantage of the lessons learned.
  • Key project activities, including planning and review activities, need to be aligned to the implementation objectives and plans.
Organizational Learning
  • The key individuals on both sides of the interface will need an understanding of technology change management.
  • Furthermore, this understanding needs to be incorporated into your working practices. (One of the functions of the planning workshops is to identify any requirements in this area.)
Infrastructure
  • A number of infrastructure elements may be required, including information dissemination channels and feedback mechanisms, shared platforms and metrics.


Available Services

veryard projects can call on several highly experienced technology consultants to offer the following services:

Facilitated planning service
  • This is a 1-day or 2-day planning session, facilitated by an external consultant.
Technology change seminar
  • This is a 1-day training session appropriate for managers, team leaders and senior members of the IT organization, as well as for managers elsewhere in the organization. It provides a general understanding of the issues and pitfalls of technology implementation and technology change management. You may also find it useful for supplier representatives to attend this training.
Trouble-shooting
  • Reviewing plans and progress against plans. Identifying and resolving difficulties.
Mentoring
  • Informal advice on-demand to managers and project leaders.

Next Action

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Technology Change Management

Veryard Projects

If you share our concern for the successful deployment and exploitation of new technology, please contact us to discuss further.

Information

Feedback

Technical Questions

Making technology successful

for user organizations

for product vendors

for R&D organizations

 

 

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Making technology successful for product vendors

Introduction

How do you deliver your products to your customers? Do you physically ship hardware, software discs and manuals to the customer, or do you transmit software and documentation via the Internet? Do you send round an engineer to install and configure the system? Do you provide training? Do you provide consultancy and technical support?

Okay, now let's look at the results of your delivery process. How good are your customers at making effective use of your product? And what impact does that have on your future sales?

We hear many sad stories from product developers and suppliers, of technologically brilliant products that fail to take off. There are always a few large organizations that will buy one copy to experiment with, or for a small pilot project. But for some reason they never buy any more copies. Or perhaps one customer leaps in with a large, exciting but badly planned project, buys a hundred copies, and has your best people running around like crazy trying to make the impossible work. You don't dare walk away from the customer, because if the project falls apart it will cause bad headlines in the trade press - it's always the technology that takes the blame for poor management.

Some product vendors rely on superhuman efforts by support consultants, who somehow manage to charm and sort out all sorts of problems that interfere with the effective use of the product. But that limits your product success to the number of these heroes you can recruit and train. And you don't even want to think about the burnout and divorce rates for such heroes.

Some product vendors work through distributors, agents, OEMs and other third parties. This doesn't resolve the problems - if anything it makes them more complex, as there are now more people in the chain capable of disrupting the smooth delivery and use of your product.

Stakeholders

Within a single customer organization, many people demand or want things from your product, and/or make decisions which affect your product:

Furthermore, the stakeholders work with a range of time horizons.

To help your customers use your products effectively, you need to be able to negotiate expectations with all of these people.

Benefits

For the product development team
  • Direct feedback of the strengths and weaknesses of the product in use
For the product support team
  • Greater chance of success first time, in each customer situation. Reduced need to sort things out when it's too late.
  • Reduces the expectation that product support consultants will be the heroes. Allows product support consultants to lead normal lives.
For the supplier organization
  • Higher success rate among customers leads to enhanced product sales.
  • Closer relationship with customers leads to new product opportunities.
  • Bettter control of distribution agents and other intermediaries.
For distribution agents and other intermediaries
  • Higher success rate among customers leads to enhanced product sales.
  • Closer relationship with customers leads to new product opportunities.
  • Better all-round support from product supplier.
For customers and product users
  • Higher probability of return on investment.


Solution

Our solution has the following elements:

Management
  • Clear management objectives for the delivery process as a whole, as well as specific objectives for specific customers.
  • Milestone validation of delivery objectives, approach and timescale, and results.
Planning
  • Clear assessment of situation and opportunities.
  • Synchronization of 'whole product' development, to ensure that everything is ready for successful delivery to customer.
  • Joint planning for deployment and exploitation, involving marketing, development and sales/support channels. This is typically done by bring the key players together for planning workshops, facilitated by an external consultant.
Project Activities
  • Key development and marketing activities, including planning and review activities, need to be aligned to the management objectives and plans.
Organizational Learning
  • The key individuals in all parts of the vendor organization will need an understanding of technology change management.
  • Furthermore, this understanding needs to be incorporated into working practices. (One of the functions of the planning workshops is to identify any requirements in this area.)
Infrastructure
  • A number of infrastructure elements may be required, including information dissemination channels and feedback mechanisms, shared platforms and metrics.


Available Services

veryard projects can call on several highly experienced technology consultants to offer the following services:

Facilitated planning service
  • This is a 1-day or 2-day planning session, facilitated by an external consultant.
Technology change seminar
  • This is a 1-day training session appropriate for managers, team leaders and senior members of all departments. It provides a general understanding of the issues and pitfalls of technology transfer and technology change management.
Delivery process assessment
  • An independent view of the strengths and weaknesses of your current approach to delivering products to customers. If you wish, we can conduct an independent survey of your customers.
Trouble-shooting
  • Reviewing plans and progress against plans. Identifying and resolving difficulties.
Mentoring
  • Informal advice on-demand to managers and project leaders.


Next Action

home

Technology Change Management

Veryard Projects

If you share our concern for the successful deployment and exploitation of new technology, please contact us to discuss further.

Information

Feedback

Technical Questions

Making technology successful

for user organizations

for product vendors

for R&D organizations

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Making technology successful for R&D organizations

Introduction

In the research and development of new technology, the technical quality of the results provides no guarantee of successful deployment and exploitation. This section outlines a management approach for improving the chances of success.


Context

In many technological research and development (R&D) projects, there is an organizational or contractual interface between the R&D team and the organization responsible for evaluating and exploiting the research results.

This interface is often managed as a wall, over which the research results are tossed at the end of the R&D project. Although some informal contacts may be maintained between the development team and the deployment team(s), and there may be some formal synchronization at the management level, the channels for technology transfer are inefficient and usually ineffective. We see this as one of the most common reasons for transfer failure.

Furthermore, the deployment team(s) often have little opportunity to review the research until the research is complete. The technology transfer process is regarded as a purely one-way communication: the research team speaks (definitively or optimistically) and the deployment team listens (deferentially or critically).

The approach described here, therefore, requires the R&D team and the deployment team(s) to collaborate on the technology transfer process, not just at the end of the research, but with some level of planning and preparation running in parallel with the research activities.


Benefits

To the R&D team
  • Easier access to relevant empirical data / validation.
  • Provides clearer focus for research deliverables.
To the deployment team
  • Easier and quicker to achieve successful exploitation of feasible technologies and strategies.
  • Easier and quicker to eliminate non-feasible technologies and strategies.
To the R&D organization
  • Easier to identify and justify further research in the same area.
To the funding organization(s)
  • Higher probability of return on R&D investment.


Solution

Our solution has the following elements:

Management
  • Clear management objectives for the research as well as technological objectives. These objectives are formulated in terms of the hoped-for commercial or social benefits of the research.
  • Milestone validation of research objectives, approach and timescale, and results.
Planning
  • Clear assessment of situation and opportunities.
  • Joint planning for deployment and exploitation, involving the R&D and deployment organizations. This is typically done by bring the key players together for planning workshops, facilitated by an external consultant.
Project Activities
  • Key project activities, including planning and review activities, need to be aligned to the technology transfer objectives and plans.
Organizational Learning
  • The key individuals on both sides of the interface will need an understanding of technology change management.
  • Furthermore, this understanding needs to be incorporated into the working practices of both organizations. (One of the functions of the planning workshops is to identify any requirements in this area.)
Infrastructure
  • A number of infrastructure elements may be required, including information dissemination channels and feedback mechanisms, shared platforms and metrics.


Available Services

veryard projects can call on several highly experienced technology consultants to offer the following services:

Facilitated planning service
  • This is a 1-day or 2-day planning session, facilitated by an external consultant.
Technology change seminar
  • This is a 1-day training session appropriate for managers, team leaders and senior members of both the R&D organization and the deployment organization. It provides a general understanding of the issues and pitfalls of technology transfer and technology change management.
Trouble-shooting
  • Reviewing plans and progress against plans. Identifying and resolving difficulties.
Mentoring
  • Informal advice on-demand to managers and project leaders.

The key variables are the duration of the research project, the number of people and organizations involved, and the complexity and novelty of the technology. A typical consultancy package for a medium-sized project could involve:


Next Action

home

Technology Change Management

Veryard Projects

If you share our concern for the successful deployment and exploitation of new technology, please contact us to discuss further.

Information

Feedback

Technical Questions

Making technology successful

for user organizations

for product vendors

for R&D organizations

This page last updated on January 21st, 1999.

Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999 Richard Veryard