Nuts and Bolts of Software

You can call it nuts and bolts or blocking and tackling. It is easy to take a 30,000 feet view of software and all the grand things it can do. In the case of supply chain software, to enable any software to be established, work and do its thing, it takes a team effort on many levels of the corporation.

Almost any corporate IT department is overwhelmed with work it can do. Somehow the business realities of customer requirements, management requirements, financial requirements and in some case legal requirements need to be meshed. In the supply chain we talk about visibility to the process a lot. For the IT personnel, many times they do not have the visibility to the needs of the business to do their best work.  That can have bad ramifications.

Let’s look at the worst case scenarios for software implementation. The software has start date for entire company and its bombs, making impossible to conduct business. Sadly this happens. Or another situation, that is also sadly too common; software is suppose to save X amount of dollars or percentage of cost and it does not come anywhere close to meets it proposes goals.

It is the nuts and bolts of the software process, or put another way with different words,  the implementation process that both enhances the probability of success of the project and equally important prevents it from failing.

A good implementation process should include the following in its plans:

  1. Communication with the people affected by the software, to mine their business experience in the area the software is affecting and use that knowledge to program the details of the software to work in a real business environment. Provide the visibility of the process to the people planning the software.
  2. Related to that, it desirable for the people in will actually use the software with feel they have a stake in its success. If they don’t they will try to do everything they can to work around the software because its gets in their way to be successful. So both the old process and the new process suffer.
  3. Start testing and implementation in some area of the company, one plant, one sub-unit, and learn how it works there before expanding it to the whole company.
  4. Communicate not only the successes but also the challenges.  That tells people its more than code, more than some crazy top management project, its about serious effort to improve the companies operations.
  5. Every software has limitations.  Learn what they are and put processes in place to deal with these issues.
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