You’re ready to start adopting a digital stack to help grow your business or replace outdated systems. Now what? There are 100’s of thousands of applications out there so how do you know what’s the right fit? How do you ensure it’s adopted internally? And how do you maximize your ROI? Let’s break it down into the three stages; planning, implementation, and growth.
The first step is always to define the problem or the use case you are looking to solve, keep in mind there could be more than one. Depending on the stage of your company these could be vastly different, your goals as a startup vs an enterprise are not the same. When evaluating cloud applications today just know they are all customizable and can easily solve multiple needs if implemented correctly. You can extend these platforms with their API, or by building customizations into the system itself. Which means, depending on your current stack you may not need to buy any application but can build in one you already own. While defining your use case make sure you, pick your MVP, discuss what nirvana looks like, and decide the team members that will work on implementation.
If your use case does not fit into a current solution you own, during planning make sure you have a clear budget for the project/application. When deciding on a solution it’s always good to take the user stories from your use case(s) and break them down by need; must have, nice to have, bonus. The solution must solve all your must-haves if it doesn’t, move on. I always suggest to narrow down your list to 3-5 systems then go through demos, there is no need to demo 10+ solutions. It takes a lot of time and effort to go through that.
Now it’s time to start, you have your team, you have your use case defined, the sprints are planned and the tool selected. It’s critical to show your build as often as possible to end-users as you are completing each sprint. They can help ensure the direction and getting buy-in early will help with adoption. Make them feel involved, but don’t stray from your MVP. During your implementation, define what success looks like and ensure you have agreed upon KPIs to track success. This is going to be a crucial part of achieving the goals you set out to accomplish. Once you’re ready to go live make sure; all bugs from development are resolved, training is scheduled, and dashboards are built to track your KPIs.
Congratulations, phase one is done and live! Everyone is loving it but they are asking for more, we knew this would happen. That’s the beauty of these platforms you can easily scale up and across the business, and you can do it quickly. Let’s take Salesforce as an example. At the core, it is a CRM. However, the platform lets you build and customize it for your unique use case. I’ve built inventory tracking apps, legal document management, and an e-commerce storefront all on the Salesforce platform. Other solutions also allow for this customization, not just Salesforce. As you grow and these new ideas start to circulate ensure you go through the same steps; define the use case/problem, decide on the solution, and go through the implementation steps focusing on an MVP each time.