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15/10/2010 20:10

Why Asset Management System

Implementations Fail

Why Asset Management System The sad part is they all lost; Marin County adminis-
Implementations Fail - Part I trators for not thinking through their idea, Deloitte
Consulting for a lack of vision and skill and lastly,

was reading about the decision by Marin County, SAP’s image for having a product that is difficult to
CA to walk away from a $30 million investment implement.
in an Enterprise Resource Planning system after
outside consultants claimed it and wasn’t worth the The Root Cause of Asset Management
cost to fix the problems. System Software Implementation Failure

Contrary to popular belief, asking who is to blame

for the failed implementation is not the question that
customers, software vendors or consulting compa-
nies should be asking. 50-90% of implementations
fail for software packages such as an EAM, ERP ,
CBM, CMMS, IWMS, CIFM, FMIS or any other type
of asset management tool because Sales sold a pro-
duct that could not realistically meet the customer’s

What do customer expectations have to do with this?

In short, EVERYTHING! Successfully implementing
asset management system software means that the
customer is happy with the results. It does not mean
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that everything works perfectly. Although this would

be nice, there are countless points of failure during
the course of an implementation. As a result, the
customers and vendor expectations must be ma-
naged from beginning to end.

A Case Study of Asset Management If you fail to realize that setting expectations is the
Implementation Gone Wrong true cornerstone of communication then you are
doomed to repeat your errors over and over again.
This asset management implementation disaster is Purchasing and setting up an asset management

destined to become a case study for graduate bu- software is not like buying a box of cereal. It requires
siness programs because the parties failed to set work and a substantial amount of time.
the customers expectations but also because Marin
County and Deloitte Consulting were blaming each This is the first of a multi-part series that every ven-
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other while the software vendor, SAP, took little or dor, potential customer and consulting company
no responsibility for its products. should memorize. At the end of the series a new

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15/10/2010 20:10

Why Asset Management System Implementations Fail

opportunity will be presented that may change the As the sales cycle progresses, salespeople are res-
way asset management software is sold. ponsible for setting the table as they must match
customer expectations/needs with the product they
Setting expectations is part of the overall commu- represent. Sales needs to present realistic vendor
nication process. To better understand the pivotal expectations to the customer. Vendor executives
role of communications, let us first define the role should not be wondering what was promised du-
of the key players in the decision to purchase  asset ring the sale.
management system software. Although roles may
vary or change over the course of the sale and im- The Executive or Decision Makers
plementation, it is absolutely mission critical that
buy-in is achieved from the customer at all levels The Executive or decision makers are the person or
in their organization. group that can define the top level need (pain) for an
organization. They are the initial line of communi-
cation to the vendor or third party consultant. Most
importantly, the decision maker(s) are the person(s)
accountable for achieving buy-in throughout the

The other major role of the decision maker is to

ensure that there are enough internal resources to
complete the project before the asset management
system software is purchased. This includes but is
not limited to:

• Assigning a project manager or putting to-

gether a team for the implementation.
• Making sure work flow processes are un-
In order for this to be accomplished, decision makers derstood. This information determines
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for the customer must actively engage in open com- where the bottlenecks are. The problems
munication with end users as well as other depart- identified will be among the first expecta-
ments whose resources will be needed (ex: facilities tions given to the vendor.
staff, accounting, purchasing, IT). Without buy-in, • Making sure time and money is available
the EAM/CMMS system is just another tool forced for asset detail set-up. It may take several
upon staff that will not be set-up or used correctly. months or longer to collect and enter in as-
set detail for tens of thousands of assets.
The Sales Executive • Making sure time and money is available
for staff training. For example, maintenance
Salespeople are driven to produce results. Their goal staff will be the heaviest users of a CMMS,

is to either create a need or guide a potential client’s but they are always busy (otherwise you
needs to their product. Sales for big ticket items would not need help). What is the plan to
are usually relationship based. It is the relationship free up their time?
building that forms the bond of trust as well as set-
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ting the early customer and vendor expectations.

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Why Asset Management System Implementations Fail

Operations - Client Now that the general roles of the key players has
been outlined, the next step is to understand why
This is the software implementation team who share setting the proper expectations are important to all
responsibility with the vendor and/or systems inte- the parties involved. Our next post will cover why
gration consultants to make the asset management and how to set expectations between client, vendor
system work. Ideally, this group represents all of and/or a third party.
the areas to be impacted by the asset management
system software including maintenance staff, plan- If you liked this article, you may also want to read:
ners, engineers and management.

It is very important that this function is not dele-

gated to outside consultants because true buy-in Register for your chance to
comes from participating in the process to make
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Operations - Vendor tem, but can’t afford to implement one this budget
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This group includes the project manager, EAM/ ring a chance to win a FREE EAM & CMMS software
CMMS trainers, technical support and any other suite. Contest includes a 1-year site license, 10 web/
resource needed to meet/exceed customer expec- mobile licenses and support, as well as, training
tations. This group of individuals is responsible for and implementation.
understanding what was sold and how to deliver it.

Ultimate responsibility for a successful implementa-

tion falls squarely on the vendor. Having a good pro-
duct doesn’t do much if you can’t make it work the
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way a client wants. Actions of the client or consulting

group may be the cause of a failed implementation
but it is the vendors name on the product.

The Consultant or Third Party

Consultants if used, essentially play the role of pro-

ject management. They are responsible for making
sure that customer expectations and vendor product
are set up correctly to achieve the desired goals.

Whether consultants act as pure facilitators, guides

or are contracted to perform the actual set-up of
the system is irrelevant. However, it is critical that
consultants understand the expectations of both
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customer and vendor.

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