5 things telecom managers should consider when evaluating and selecting a solution supplier
Many software programs exist to streamline processes and increase productivity towards operational efficiency. As Telecom Operators enter the era of digitalization, making the best choice among the large panel of available solutions is far from easy. The rise of new technologies creates confusion on how to achieve the promise of increased performance and achievement with tools adapted to one’s context and people.
Buying the appropriate software is only the first step to change. Often, the assurance of a successful implementation in a human context is being overlooked when selecting a future partner or solution supplier. However, if the implementation of the new software isn’t planned well or accepted by staff, then all the time and money invested in a solution will fly out the window. This turns the implementation process as a critical aspect of selecting a partner: how much time will be devoted to training? Who will be on location? How will the implementation be evaluated? What support is provided after the implementation? Customer success is a job in its own for it entails varied aspects ranging from change management to technical expertise. The right partner will commit to successful implementation with a fine balance of soft and hard skills.
In the following pages, we describe some of the challenges that telecom managers must overcome to absorb new technology. Valérie Dejonghe, an Implementation Expert at Riaktr, specializes in the implementation of a recommendation engine that optimizes complex distribution channels for Telecom Operators. She shares some strategies managers can use to ensure the adoption of new technology. These findings derive from RIAKTR’s combined research and experience of over 10 years in the Telecom industry, as well as a long-lasting partnership with 6 of the 10 largest Telecom Operators in the world. Hear what our clients say about our onboarding trainings.
1. It is all about the people
When it comes to an IT project, the engineering team is in charge of making sure the technical aspects are well deployed and carefully planned to guarantee everything goes smoothly. Yet implementing a successful solution isn’t only about technology—it’s also about people. As people generally resist change, the worst thing a manager can do is shrug such resistance aside on the dual assumption that this will be easily overcome. Thus, the beginning of wisdom is to anticipate opposition.
RIAKTR knows very well that if the final users are not sure of the direct benefits attached to the solution, they’ll be skeptical. Any new technology capable of inspiring strong advocacy will also provoke opposition. The most frequent reasons for opposition to new technology are fear of losing skills or power and the absence of an apparent personal benefit.
Part of the expertise RIAKTR has built as a company, and a key factor for success is ensuring that the data makes sense in a human context. Our solutions were all built with a use case as a starting point. To achieve this, data must be looked at with non-engineering eyes. A human-centered approach starting from the implementation process is crucial to optimizing the end user experience.
2. Facilitate the transition
Any innovation, particularly an analytical tool, must offer an obvious advantage over whatever it replaces, or potential users will have little incentive to use it. The greater the costs of an innovation (optimization, convenience, the need to learn new skills), the greater the importance of making potential benefits and rewards plain as day.
Here are some pointers Valerie shares on the matter:
● Get Management buy-in: The first step to software adoption is involving your management team(s). Make sure senior and middle managers are early adopters of the tool so that they become avid change ambassadors.
● Find the champions: An innovation needs a champion to nurture it. Assign one main champion of the new solution, then find people who will naturally be comfortable with the software’s concepts and encourage them to advocate on its behalf.
● Training: Workshops are an effective way to train new users. Use these events to encourage dialogue and answer questions, to reinforce the tool’s benefits, and to demonstrate its everyday practical application in the team’s workflow.
● The reward system: Managers must give some thought to the challenge of translating organizational benefits into individual rewards in order they don’t only judge performance on speed and low cost but also on the quality of the output.
3.The business perspective
Valerie stresses the importance of endorsing a business-minded approach to make sure the technical input or queries deliver a computation of metrics that make sense within the end-user’s business context. This is why it is of the highest importance to get the business team involved early on in order to understand their needs and expectations. During the implementation, attention should be devoted to onboarding users who don’t necessarily hold a technical background, in particular when the solution is not meant to be used exclusively by the engineering team.
4.Document, document, document…
It is important to consider documenting all the technical aspects during the implementation process. This will permit the availability of business rules and usage information in case there’s a need for clarification. Technical implementation will ensure that everybody on the team is on the same page. For instance, technical documentation cuts training cost, as employees are able to achieve their goals without having to seek help from other colleagues. Not only will employees follow correct procedures and “know what to do,” but it will also help assimilate new procedures faster and decrease negative consequences from high turnover.
5.Share the love
Valérie stresses the power of a close relationship between the new Solution Supplier and the Telecom Operator. The human aspect should not be underestimated, particularly since a decisive moment of the implementation comes after its completion. This is when a supportive relationship will determine the overall success of the implementation.
Furthermore, since typically the primary contact’s post-implementation tends to be the critical key stakeholders, collaboration will help establish deployment goals and success factors. Valerie stresses that “being present at every step of their success and not stopping until it has been achieved” is the main intention in her role as Implementation Expert. This will be achieved by conducting well-being status calls on a regular basis to review their deployment status and addressing any unresolved concerns.
Bringing it all together
The implementation of a new solution can be a stressful and challenging moment for the team. For managers in the telecom industry, the attention must always remain on the humans around the solution. Ensuring a continuation between the selection of a new analytical tool and putting it to work effectively is critical. Some key challenges management is faced with range from the natural resistance to change, displaying the obvious benefits of using the tool, to ensuring the solution makes sense in a business context. Therefore, careful thought must be put when selecting the right partner for the new solution to implement. The right partner will be human-centered and know how to mitigate the stakeholder’s concerns in aiding the management drive the technological promise to genuine achievement.
Riaktr has 10 years of experience in developing and implementing software.
Whether you are considering setting up an innovation team, looking for a big data partner, or in the midst of a sophisticated technical project, our experts are never far away. As data lovers, we are always keen to share a piece of advice or start something together.
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