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6 Key Questions to Ask in the Switch to a Successful Cloud-Based Solution

6 Key Questions to Ask in the Switch to a Successful Cloud-Based Solution

cloud_solutio_DSG.jpgAsk 6 Questions for a Successful Cloud-Based Solution

So, you have decided to invest in a cloud-based solution. Maybe you have chosen NetSuite, Salesforce, or Adaptive Insights. No matter what solution you pick, the most crucial time to ensure that the implementation goes smoothly is now. A successful implementation is just the first step in extracting the most value from your chosen solution. In order to ensure that implementation gets started out on the right foot, ask these six questions:

1. Are You Choosing the Right Implementation Partner?
Does your implementation specialist have a business-first approach?  In other words, does the architect have an understanding of what the building will look like when it’s done? Or are they merely laying the foundation and framing the structure with no vision in mind of how it will all come out? A business-first view is one which considers the entire solution from a business perspective and recommends business-based processes and policies that will help ensure your organization’s success. With insight, they will provide sound advice and take care to implement a solution that will help your business run efficiently and effectively. In other words, they’ll examine the way you do business and provide you with advice on best-in-class, industry-standard ways of implementing your solution to meet your long-term and short-term measurements of success.
If your partner seems to be application-oriented, rather than business-first, they are likely to get your solution up and running, but that’s about it. The activity will be more “punch list” oriented and driven by parameters that need to be configured in the application. Their assistance will be devoid of any insight into best practices and specific business needs with the application. The approach is to get the program “live at all costs and speed”.
2. Have you Considered Your Methodology?
The right implementation partner comes equipped with a methodology tried and true for the modern cloud implementation strategy. The best multi-tenant cloud-based solutions align very well with an agile approach to solution implementation. In this framework, the emphasis is on the system, rather than viewing it as an afterthought, like some paper-based documentation. The focus is on an increasing scope of functionality experienced through hands-on interaction with the solution. Then once live, there is an ongoing refinement of that functionality in response to your actual in-production experience. The actual go-live is just one step in the process. An agile, iterative and team-based approach to solution implementation that involves your domain experts in the design and decision-making process is the most effective in moving from how you think you’ll use the system to how you actually will use the system.
The old-fashioned “waterfall” approach doesn’t work well with NetSuite, Salesforce, and Adaptive Insights. Before implementing these solutions, the work must go beyond gathering and documenting requirements and writing design specs, mostly because the written instructions are commonly misinterpreted.  And what of those incremental adjustments are based on your actual use of the system?  The waterfall approach overlooks the insight gained from monitoring the use of the system after implementation. The old school process of gathering requirements, reviewing them in paper form, going away for months and then presenting the project team with the final product simply is not efficient, and does not leverage the extensibility and responsiveness of the modern cloud solution.
3. Are You Prepared to Put Your Best People on the Project?
In addition to a skilled implementation partner, a successful implementation needs internal champions. This means putting together a project team made up of leaders, not employees who simply have extra time on their hands.
Moving to a cloud-based solution can be a big change; henceforth some employees are likely to be suspicious of that change. In order to assimilate all employees to the new program, you should build an internal project team of the best and the brightest in your organization – those who are respected, understand the business, can make decisions and are empowered to make those decisions. Getting their buy-in and building their confidence in the project early on will help set the tone for the rest of the organization. The best people for this team are those that will hurt the most to lose. Additionally, these people, through the agile methodology, will seed the organization with experience and know-how on the new solution. They will become your subject matter experts and will train the rest of the team. Lastly, they will be the architects of your new solution. If you are performing surgery, you want the best surgeons. Make sure your surgery goes well.
4. Have You Set a Timeframe, and Do You Intend to Stick to It?
Once you are ready to proceed, create an ideal timeline for the implementation and make sure to carve it in stone. The experts at DSG have worked on hundreds of successful implementations, and our experience has taught us that the best approach is to create a “time box. “ This time box is constructed to allow flex in the scope because the project scope can never be predicted with 100 percent accuracy—unknowns always arise. But it is also created to limit the amount of churn that can be tolerated on that scope – remember, you are driving to a hands-on production experience with refinement. Spending too much time on the theoretical is not productive. The skilled practitioner knows how to balance the scope, the investigation/review of the functionality and the agreement to move into production.
5. Are You Prepared to Change Your Processes?
Since you’re implementing a whole new solution, you need new processes to go along with it. Don’t make the mistake of trying to shove your old processes into a new solution—this will only result in frustration and not improve your efficiency.
6. Can You Take a Step Back to Appreciate the Value of the Entire Approach?
Combine all of these best-in-class implementation concepts and you have success. Think of going to the eye doctor. You look at the eye chart through a progression of prescription strengths while the eye doctor makes ongoing tweaks to create the lens that’s just right for your eyes. You participate in the process by telling the doctor whether each lens is better or worse for your vision. The doctor recommends different lenses to try, contacts to use or even Lasik. The time spent reviewing options and looking at the eye chart is limited and time-boxed.
Your implementation is the same if you follow all of these recommendations. You wouldn’t go to a doctor who is well-versed in all the latest techniques and ignore his advice. The same is true of choosing a team member who can succinctly tell what you need and make the decisions. You didn’t send your mom in to tell the doctor what you need in corrective vision. You went through a hands-on, iterative discussion with actual lenses to experience the end deliverable. And finally, you limited the amount of time you would sit in the chair so that you could make a decision in a timely manner.
Migrating to the cloud is a major undertaking, but the right implementation partner will be with you every step of the way to ensure a successful implementation. Learn more about DSG’s proven implementation methodology, and discover the DSG difference.
DSG delivers cloud accelerated business solutions based on leading ERP and CRM applications NetSuite and Salesforce™. With our deep business and technology expertise and the experience gained in hundreds of successful projects, DSG is acknowledged as one of the leading cloud business solutions providers by our major business partner, NetSuite, and by cloud media and analysts such as IDC and CRN. Since 2005, hundreds of companies from startups to the Fortune 500 have worked with DSG and our proven Realize, Optimize and Revitalize methodologies to implement tailored NetSuite and Salesforce™ solutions that, from day one, deliver value, insight and business acceleration.

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