After successfully implementing over 100 enterprise back office software implementations for many of the most successful restaurant operators in the world, we’ve learned a few things about how to improve the chances of success with your technology investment. Along the way, we’ve also discovered some things that can bog down your progress.
Here are five things you should avoid when executing enterprise-wide technology implementations:
1. Don’t keep tech implementations a secret.
Most of the people you work with hate surprises. A technology solution often affects the entire enterprise in one way or another. While the end result will ultimately benefit the whole operation, be proactive and inform people early so there are no bombshells. Try to regularly include updates on the implementation's progress using your company’s existing communications such as the corporate email newsletter.
Rolling out an all-new POS system, starting a remodeling plan and tackling other broad corporate efforts all at the same time can be a recipe for disaster. Be practical and avoid biting off more than your teams can chew.
3. Don’t miss the opportunity to examine old processes while you're updating your systems.
This is a great chance to fix bad corporate-wide habits. For example, evaluating food storage locations may make sense while you're creating new inventory sheets.
4. Don’t underestimate resources needed.
Implementing enterprise software is a big job, and it touches almost everyone. Choose a smart and responsible team captain who can drive the process. As the saying goes, “If it’s everyone’s job, it’s no one’s job, and it won't get done.” Your captain should have a dedicated crew, budget and a go-to executive sponsor that can be tapped for additional help if needed.
5. Don’t aim at a moving target.
If you’re implementing a new restaurant back office solution, understand that it will integrate with many other important operations systems. These legacy systems contain much of the data regarding how your business runs today. Changing such things as your broad-liner, menu items and recipes at the start of a new technology implementation can slow down the project dramatically.
In summary, the major keys to running strong implementations are technology projects that feature laser-focused, dedicated teams who are supported from the top down by executives who are invested in seeing the project succeed. When that happens, technology investments tend to pay off in short order.