Leadership is presented budget requests from departments to embark on projects each year.  It could be HR requesting an application tracking solution, marketing needing a new CRM, or clinical deploying another module of your EHR.  Adopting new technology is a significant investment of money, time, and resources.  Was it worth it?  Gaining automation and having a new tool within the department is nice, but so what?  Too often the dollars and pain of such undertakings out weigh the tangible results.  Today we share three tips for ensuring your project is deemed a success throughout your organization.

Don’t be Waterworld

Many of us are old enough to remember the massive Hollywood box office flop, Waterworld.  The story takes place on Earth, but, as the title implies, there is no land left, just ocean.  The creators were determined to break the bank on special effects to make it as realistic as possible thinking their investment would pay off.  The movie cost $250M to make (that’s 1995 dollars!) and grossed $80M in the box office.  The movie was kind of neat, but not $250M neat.  Have you ever felt that way about a technology investment? 

Installing software and getting it up and running is critical, but it is not enough.  You must align your project with organizational goals.  My client went live in January with an HRIS solution including payroll and time and attendance…a huge undertaking. From the start, the head of HR insisted they would not simply pull out the old platform and install the new one and deem it a success.  We began by identifying the organization-wide key initiatives, then aligning the goals of this project to those initiatives.  How will this project help our organization better achieve its goals?  While we are at it, what processes can we improve and best practices can we adopt along the way to move our organization in the direction it wants to go?  Next, we aligned the project’s goals with the key initiatives of Executive Directors and Managers of each community.  After twelve months of serious dedication of time, money, and resources, my client not only can say that the payroll folks are more efficient and pleased with their new tool, but a direct line has been drawn from the project to improved key metrics from the leadership level all the way down deeming the project a huge success.

Be Diligent

What made the Google search engine #1?  What caused the first Apple iPod to change the game?  Simplicity.  There were plenty of search engines and MP3 players before them that perform the same functions. But we love the simplicity of going to Google’s search page and seeing one text box and one button.  We love the iPod with one button.  There is zero training required to use these products.  Have you ever selected a technology partner who checked all the boxes during the evaluation only to end up with complexity?  On paper, it has everything we asked for, so how did we end up with the wrong solution?  

A great example is most Point of Sale vendors, on paper, can accommodate your resident meal plans and accounts.  Only later do you realize your wait staff will have to jump through a few hoops to ring the order in such a way that results in proper charges.  Or the billing process requires manual steps to get things right.  The last thing we want is billing errors for our residents.

During your evaluations, you must be diligent.  Ask the right questions, dig deeper, and take your time.  Require the vendor to SHOW you how they are performing certain functions.  Interview their references and ask the same detailed questions.  Find out from them what it is like to operate on a day to day basis.  By taking the extra time to dig deep, you avoid the costly mistake of choosing the wrong partner.

Technology Is Not A Strategy

In horse racing and car racing, we know choosing the best horse or the most talented race car driver is important, but it isn’t everything.  You must have the right team, the right processes, and a well executed strategy to win races.  The same goes with technology projects.

I spoke with a community who invested in replacing their Point of Sale vendor because they wanted to roll out an enterprise menu database, and their existing vendor’s technology was unable to support it.  The new Point of Sale is up and running, but they did not successfully implement corporate menus.  It is the software vendor’s responsibility to install the software, configure it to your exact specifications, and train you to use it.  That’s it!  It is your responsibility to put the people and processes in place to achieve your goals.  Begin with designing your workflows and your people structure, and then you can identify the right technology partner to support your strategy.

Implement these tips, and you will be well on your way to achieving great results from your investments.

Katie Griffith is the Principal and owner of Bright Solutions with over 16 years experience working with senior living technology. Our experts have their finger on the pulse of senior services technology with the knowledge of what’s working, what’s not, and how to maximize value from every dollar. Contact us!