There’s a growing number of enterprise success stories around digital transformation using Quark content automation solutions. This three-part series outlines key ingredients intended to help new prospects, partners, or customers make their own content brilliant. Given the many elements to a successful enterprise software implementation, this advice centers around delivering your strategic vision to business stakeholders and highlights proven best practices which can help make your vision a reality. A successful enterprise software implementation requires much more than technology alone.
First, every successful enterprise implementation requires quality, motivated people. No matter how good the technical infrastructure or how polished the solution, the number one ingredient for success is having energetic people who drive valuable outcomes. Energy only goes so far, so these people must also be competent in execution to successfully employ best practices in the ever-changing technical landscape. I get to work with some of the best people at some of the world’s largest global institutions, helping them move their mountains to institute lasting, positive change and justify their investment in Quark. Each person I get to interact with brings amazing energy and technical skill.
When solutions take months or years to move from concept to commercial approval to everyday business usage, it’s easy to lose sight of the important role people play. A high-ranking IT leader once told me “the technology is amazing, but I am also concerned about the change management aspect for successful business adoption.” Yes, large projects require leadership, executive sponsorship, governance, clear requirements, approved budgets, a matching solution, and sometimes multiple stages of thorough user-acceptance testing before they ever see that first production implementation. Managing significant change requires a high degree of emotional intelligence: especially active listening and empathy. Empathy because we are changing how work gets done. Active listening because it’s so critically important to understanding and moving a business challenge to a successful conclusion.
For a solution to really make lasting, meaningful change it takes everyday business stakeholders. Everyone knows that user adoption is a major ingredient for successful implementation. Focusing on this outcome at every stage of the process is critical. Without making time to involve a key set of mavericks willing to try a new approach, the likelihood for an IT organization or external 3rd parties to deliver an on-target solution is minimal at best.
It can be tempting to limit the number of key stakeholders to minimize communication overhead. However, these key stakeholders may come and go, which can impede progress and risk project continuity. You can maintain momentum by including a number of representatives from across the organization as well as the end-user community. Do this early and often. You’ll find that the additional input on the solution shall produce a better result and you’ll avoid costly rework down the line. You can also expect increased momentum.
The value of building an engaged end-user community is nothing new, and it doesn’t stop with the people inside the business. Many successful organizations adopt a “customer first” mindset. This is why improving customer experience is a leading reason for investment in a content automation solution.
Second, your organization needs a content automation champion with executive authority who can connect the project to business goals. Executive support demonstrates the importance of the initiative. When content automation project goals connect with organizational goals, business users can more easily grasp the “why” behind the change. That “why” might be about improving customer experience or something else like building more efficient business process across multiple business units. The understanding and the executive support are both helpful when transforming how people do everyday work.
When building out an enterprise-wide initiative, leadership must articulate salient business benefits which resonate with people at multiple levels across the organization. This helps produce alignment and enhance grassroots energy, aspects which promote better stewardship of the resources engaged with a major project. Bringing a long-view vision ensures business continuity and maximum adoption. Taking time to define and validate the benefits can help others ride with and even drive the change instead of feeling like it has hit them head on. In most cases, this was done before you went shopping for a vendor solution in the first place.
What are the key business benefits that mean the most to you? Most likely, these are financial or market-based; a reasonable start. Courageous business leaders know that these aspects are vitally important and will seek out an engaging metaphor to inspire end users. You may remember some poor metaphors, but good ones can help business units identify with the vision and further boost the positive aspects of the change.
At Quark, our employees know we are doing more than just helping promote content automation. We’re helping enterprise organizations imagine new ways of disrupting their business models. We’re taking human imagination and rapidly transforming it at scale into omni-channel content: many formats, many devices, many languages, and many business outcomes. This means enterprise organizations can bring their business message to global audiences with immediate, relevant, engaging, and accessible content. We believe content automation is a communications revolution made possible by decades of advancement in multiple orthogonal areas, including desktop publishing, the Internet, enterprise content management, Web content management, content strategy, content marketing, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and user experience design.
Enough about us. For you, content automation can help any business deliver highly-personalized, high-quality, business-critical content. Our production solutions drive new business insight, gain new process efficiencies, ensure regulatory compliance, and save valuable time. When staffing is flat and new business requirements are exponentially increasing, there’s no better way to manage the gap between your current content approach and your future opportunity. Free your stakeholders and help your business realize the vision of content automation.
Once the end-user community understands and identifies with the benefits not only for themselves but also for their customers, the executive sponsor’s vision becomes a shared vision. The results help any organization attain enterprise enlightenment.
About the Author
Jason Aiken manages Quark’s platform for content automation, a platform that streamlines the entire lifecycle of high-value content — from creation to delivery. He coordinates with strategic partners and product engineering to help clients across financial services, manufacturing, life sciences and government reinvent and modernize their content strategies. With two decades of experience in technical publishing and content management, including products and services for aerospace and biomedical devices, Jason consistently advocates for technical solutions which improve user experience and simplify business process. Jason has a MS in IT System Design & Programming from Capella University.