What would a connect the dots puzzle look like without the numbers?
Here’s a simple one.
No need for numbers here, right? It’s a pentagon.
…unless it’s meant to be a star.
Given the same set of dots, one person may see a star; another, a pentagon. Both can be right, of course. It all depends on the viewer’s situation. This idea of being able to traverse a landscape of destinations according to one’s own map is what we at Propel term “start anywhere, go anywhere.”
This is an important principle for enterprise technology providers to support because it empowers customers to adopt technology in a way that best suits their unique needs.
For example, in the domain of industrial automation software, one buyer may wish to start by managing their company’s Bills of Material (BOMs) before expanding the implementation to solve other challenges. A different buyer may wish to first tackle Corrective Action, Preventive Action (CAPA) processes, before moving on from there.
This approach stands in contrast to a “Rip and Replace” deployment, which is characterized by uprooting an existing solution for full-scale replacement.
In years past, many ERP systems were deployed similarly, using a Big Bang approach, with system swaps being done all at once, on a specified date, with no recourse for reverting back to the prior IT environment. It was very much a “burn the bridges” proposition.
While this is still a viable option, today, there’s less appetite for such all-in endeavors. The alternative is to adopt technology in a phased manner.
Take, for example, the software category of product value management (PVM). PVM provides a range of solution areas—each built around a specific, common set of problems often encountered in the design, production, sale, and service of products.
Importantly, PVM does not mandate an “all-in” deployment. Instead, it encourages buyers to go and grow at their own pace.
For some real-life examples, watch From Pre-Revenue to IPO - When to Deploy your First eQMS. This 30-minute panel discussion from Propulsion 2021 discusses the technology adoption paths taken by three medical device companies, each of which is at a different stage of maturity:
- Diality, a pre-revenue company focused on developing solutions for home hemodialysis therapy
- Imperative Care, A pre-IPO company that provides a full continuum of solutions for stroke prevention and treatment
- Inari, a fast-growing, public company of 700 employees that makes products that remove blood clots
I encourage you to watch the entire video, but here are some excerpts from Erwin Edillon, Senior Manager of IT & Business Systems at Inari.
“At the start, the business wanted everything... We were able to first focus on our biggest pain points which were QMS (Quality Management System), training, document management, Item/Bills of Materials…
“We were also able to do the integration from PLM to our ERP system, Netsuite. What was nice was that we could partner with the business, and focus on critical needs first. And do that well.
“Now we are able to roll out the new features that the business needs most. Those are complaints management and a software change control process… And we’re able to do it in a way that’s adaptable and what we need at Inari.”
When you look at your “dots,” what do you see? A star? A pentagon? Something else entirely? Or, are you not quite sure—you just know you have dots that need to be connected?
When it’s time to select a technology partner to help connect your dots, it’s important to look for:
Flexibility (“Here is the landscape of solutions we have to address your challenges. We’ll work with you to best align these solutions to your needs.”)
Guidance (“We’ve seen the best success when our customers start by solving Challenge ABC in this particular way because it sets them up to more effectively solve Challenge XYZ.”)
With these qualities, any dots can be connected, no matter what shape your business takes.
Learn more about the capabilities of PVM in our article 5 Questions to Determine if Product Value Management is Right for You. Or to get more guidance on deployment approaches, read Fast Company’s article on how to succeed at business transformation.