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Project Setup & Alignments Deliverables
From company to industry and depending on their setup and activities, setting up such a project according to resources and complexity differs greatly. And this can hardly be managed by the software solution provider as they don’t know the internals and specifics of the business well enough.
If there is no dedicated project leader assigned, perhaps a well versed Program Management Office or Operational Excellence manager could handle the project. Or, you hire an experienced expert, like us, that is unbiased and well connected within the solutions providers’ scene.
As a result of the process review it becomes clear which departments and stakeholders need to further refine their collaboration. Because much of the data and information that is going to stream through the competitive intelligence system can be used for more than one purpose and addressee.
For example, a competitor technology mapping can be used for defensive market intelligence and for partnering opportunities. Chances are that the decision makers for those two areas are not the same person and do not work in the same department.
Another example is the classic personnel profiling. Anticipating management behavior can be of interest to pretty much all stakeholder groups and their decision makers if a key competitor just swapped their CEO or Chairman.
The collaboration plan should map out several potential major synergies like mentioned above and animate these stakeholders to exchange their viewpoints and competitive intelligence needs.
Since communication is everything in overarching, impactful project like the implementation of a global competitive intelligence system, the group’s communications team should be in the boat from the outset.
Their expertise is needed to set up communications plans that incorporate the company’s communication policies, habits, culture and channels.
The project team can start on the basis of three key communication events:
- Pre-inform the organization about the mandated project
- Prepare the organization for the roll-out
- Throughout the go-live period including follow-up and health checks
Depending weather you implement an on-premise or cloud software, the deployment might differ greatly technically. An actual physical software might require its own server (production and live environments), backup and security requirements, service staff and update guidelines.
All of which should be planned, prepared and executed by IT experts and the software provider.
A cloud version requires minor internal preparation and can be handled via the launch plan (further down in this article).
Proper deployment and launch planning can also be crucial to avoid subscription charges for new content before the users actually start using the system.
While limited content might be sufficient to deploy the system and run a pilot on a strategic project or theme or in one stakeholder department, the launch plan should ensure that all content is available at go-live.
In most cases vast amounts of content, that is to be handled and served by the new competitive intelligence system, already exists and most likely in a rather fragmented, uncoordinated fashion.
Migrating all that content to the new system provides an opportunity to significantly improve sustainability, increase spread and reduce resources. Here as well, recording the estimated savings can help to justify the investment into the competitive intelligence software solution.
The more vivid the migration is planned, the more trustworthy and robust will the new setup be. Evaluating existing competitive intelligence content should be done much earlier though throughout the sources and deliverables cataloguing.
Here is a chance to revisit the outcome and refine if needed, especially when additional stakeholder groups have joined up later in the project.
Directly connected with the migration of existing content is the consideration when and how to phase-out predecessor systems or obsolete solutions and processes to gather and share competitive intelligence content and deliverables.
Because of the partly unpredictable nature of any new systems implementation it is advisable to continue with the existing solutions until a defined point of stability and robustness of the new system.
This is an important communication content and should also be addressed in the Q&A catalogue because pretty much all users will ask about this.
The strategy planning process should already include the decision about the type of training and which support structure is to be established.
Depending on size and complexity of the organization a simple train-the-trainer principle might work well or a system where Super-Super Users keep educating the Super-Users in the groups, who work at arms-length within their units and also feed improvement needs back up the support organization.
Top level supporters and the most active users should be included well before the regular user base so they have a knowledge advantage and might also be involved in the setup and configuration that respond to user needs as evaluated in the design phase of the project.
Part 7 → Vendor Selection & Contracting Deliverables →→