Choosing a software system for an organization is something that businesses need to pay special attention to. Such systems do not pick themselves, and when it comes to finding one that is right for your specific company needs, you might encounter conflicting opinions on the matter.
Ultimately, you need a capable project manager to evaluate various views and requirements and then identify the right system for your organization. The prefect PM for the job is one who will be able to select a system suited to handle the needs of your organization as a whole, and not just one for the people or teams with the most to say during the selection process. Any management system you choose will be tasked with planning, project governance, and resource and risk management. It will also influence the leading of project teams, sharing and monitoring tasks, and managing the stakeholders of your company.
For the sake of illustration, let’s look at the process of selecting a human resources management system or HRMS. Obviously, this type of system combines tracking data with numerous protocols and processes to ensure that the management of human resources, business protocols, and data extrapolation is well managed within the business. A good management system also helps to ensure that your operations do not focus too heavily on data and extrapolation or neglect the needs and evolving requirements of the people involved.
Employ a Professional for the Job Who Can Look at the Whole Picture
The size of your company or organization will largely determine what your system needs to be able to achieve. However, no matter where your business is on the spectrum of complexity, a project manager will remain answerable to the head honcho thereof. This may be an HR manager, a suite of company directors, the owner, or the CEO. You need a PM who is able to interface with the head of the company or area being touched most heavily by this decision, as well as the team members who will be utilizing the system.
Going back to our example, this person needs to understand what kinds of services HR supplies and how they do it. These are the factors that the system is going to work to improve, after all! Consideration that the first step to implementing a new system that nearly everyone in an organization will be required to use is vital. Every employee at every level of your company is technically a stakeholder, so effective and clear communication with all stakeholders involved is essential for long term success.
Proper proficiency, and inclusion of training, if needed, in using a new management system is also crucial for success. This is particularly true for large organizations that require their HRMS systems to achieve complex tasks.
Specialized Experts and/or IT Professionals
Some companies may chose an PM for the job who has experience in the field the system most touches. In the case of choosing a HRMS, a PM with experience in human resources or a background as an HR manager makes sense. These managers have specialized expertise in human resources, which means that they will understand what needs to be achieved and where improvements and changes must be made. They should also have experience in project management protocols. If such a professional has worked directly with different types of systems, he/she will be able to reduce the trial and error factor when the implementation stage comes.
If an organization has an in-house IT department, the managers therein will probably offer an opposite set of skills. Following our example of the HRMS selection process, IT professionals have more experience in technological projects, and may not be as capable of handling the nuances that HR is accustomed to navigating. This is why experts recommend a company focus on their IT and HR strategies separately, while still encouraging the departments to communicate effectively and find mutually beneficial solutions together.
Benefits of an ‘Out of the Box’ or External Solution
Ultimately, many organizations may have to come to a compromise or choose multiple professionals—say an HR manager and an IT manager who work well together under the direction of a PM. The right person would be able to implement some project management structures to streamline the process further, such as a user representative group or a project committee. Having a committee in place can also aid in supporting the PM for better decision-making or a joint decision-making processes.
There is also an external option available to businesses. That is, consultants. Consultants are dedicated to helping companies and organizations select and implement system solutions. If an expert viewpoint is required, the advice of a consultant is invaluable. Consultants can also be hired only as needed, which could reduce operating costs, especially in smaller businesses or start-ups that do not have significant expendable funds.
Understanding how different systems work, what features they offer, and how they can best be incorporated into company culture must all be considered points in order for a sound decision to be made. That’s why picking the perfect project manager is crucial to the system selection process! Don’t forget to select someone who is able to interface with all the parties involved while evaluating the big picture. The perfect PM for the job will also have experience in the field of focus, be able to work well with IT (not against them), and potentially manage a user group for collective decision making.