Executing strategic change is challenging in any organization. As we’ve guided businesses across industries through their implementations of Front, we’ve seen first hand that the path through IT change is often winding.
Organizations who’ve had the most success with these strategic projects shared a common strategy: measure impact by tracking one or two key business metrics related to the project goals. Focusing on too many targets leaves stakeholders overwhelmed and timelines slipping, while not having a measurable success metric means the project may not get the attention it deserves.
In the logistics industry, we’ve found that the response time for quote requests is the north star metric for measuring Front’s impact. When reps can triage and respond to opportunities faster, they can close opportunities with higher rates per mile, while delivering an experience that brings customers back for repeat business. Speed matters.
And we know it matters to you too. According to a recent survey of nearly 200 IT leaders conducted by pulse.qa, 91% have evaluated or purchased software to improve their email workflow, and 95% believe in the value of automation to manage high volumes of email.
So how can you implement new solutions to help your team work faster? It turns out that moving quickly and deliberately matters here too. Here’s the strategy our largest customers use to set up their Front implementation for success:
1. Engage cross-functional leaders early
No matter your timeline, getting executive alignment early helps you avoid roadblocks later in the project and approval process. This is especially important when evaluating new technologies that users may be unfamiliar (or even uncomfortable) with at first. IT and business leaders who only involve their cross functional stakeholders at a later stage will encounter delays in trying to get them up to speed and on board.
2. Set up an evaluation framework — before anyone touches the new tool
Too often, customers kick-off a pilot without a tracking mechanism for the success criteria. It’s critical to set specific goals, map one or two metrics to those goals, and have clear ways to measure them and chart progress as the implementation unfolds. As we described, for many of our customers email response times is a simple metric to track in Front’s analytics that can have a broad impact on the business.
3. Cultivate end user champions
Beyond executive alignment, the end users of new, innovative tools need to be involved in the evaluation process. Depending on the project, that could mean sharing updates with them along the way or getting substantive input for the final decision. In either case, “pre-selling” a tool internally before the full rollout gives leaders an opportunity to address potential concerns and lessen anxiety around new workflows.
4. Treat your vendors as partners
The most successful technology engagements involve vendors as true partners on the project. We’re here to help! The more you share with vendors around your goals, challenges, and observations, the more the vendor will be able to enable the transformation. We’re always able to do more for customers who trust us as partners throughout the implementation. By keeping your vendor updated and involved, you might be surprised how much they can enable your success.
5. Don’t fear testing
Testing new tools can be scary, and falling back to what we’re familiar with is often more comfortable than pushing ourselves to try new workflows. And the fear is valid — when implementing new tools, it’s hard to get everything right from day 1. This is normal! But the organizations who have a mindset of iterating with their new tools, without fear of failure, are the ones who see the most gains. There’s no replacement for hands-on testing and trying out different workflows to see what suits your team best.
IT change projects can be hairy to manage, but adopting new technologies and tools is key to strong growth in today’s competitive market. We hope our learnings from our customers in the logistics industry will help guide your business through successful software implementation projects — with Front or otherwise!
Written by Peter Ahn
Originally Published: 17 April 2020