Debi Nichol, Managing Director of IndiCater on achieving successful collaboration
When it comes to implementing new software, never underestimate the beneﬁt of great mobilisation for long term success
As the mother of three young boys, all at school, September is one of the busiest times for our family. It is the start of our year, preparing the boys for the new term with haircuts, shiny new shoes and school bags; organising lifts to and from school and planning our evenings around homework routines and sports clubs. We attempt to ensure that ‘team Nichol’ is fit for purpose, ready not just for this term but for the next 12 months – it’s very much like running a business!
Alongside my responsibilities as a mother, I am also Managing Director of a successful software company. Over recent months, I have invested a great deal of time reviewing our clients’ journeys with us, starting from client engagement and working through to the all-important software ‘go live’ implementation date. I wanted to establish why some client projects flowed seamlessly from the very start, meeting deadlines and expectations, while others stop started before ultimately gaining traction. Learning from our successes (and failures!) would help both IndiCater and our clients work better together in the future.
What I found was that just like giving my boys the right start in the new school term, successful software mobilisation is all about planning and preparing from the outset, and it requires commitment from both parties. Without doubt, the most successful projects that we have worked on have been those where clients spend time with us creating a detailed blueprint for their software needs. They have identified what the software must achieve within their business; what success will look like; what other systems it will need to integrate with; timeline expectations for delivery; and, perhaps most importantly, key individuals within the organisation who will be responsible for driving the project forward with us.
“A key ingredient to successful client collaboration has been the development of our project roadmap”
Where projects have stop-started in the past, it was not unusual to find that client teams were simply too busy running their operations to dedicate the time required to shape their software. We pride ourselves on ensuring that our applications are different, by meeting our clients’ specific needs, and their Business Rules. Our applications cannot simply be plugged in and off you go; everything we do is unique and requires collaboration. For us, the lesson has been the need to improve how we communicate this essential difference to our clients at the outset of our relationship in order for the end product to be fit for purpose and mobilised within the expected time frame.
A key ingredient to successful client collaboration has been the development of our project roadmap. Much like a project management tool used in the construction industry, every aspect of a client’s journey is mapped out identifying key responsibilities, timelines and deliverables. This is created at the start of the client journey, with access to a central client hub where two-way communication is established and tracked from the outset. The result is an awareness by members of both the client and IndiCater teams of the real time status of the project.
Our software is making a real difference to how operators run their businesses, making them more profitable and efficient. We are continually investing in both our software and our team, and ensuring that our clients have access to a suite of tools that are not only fit for purpose now, but will push the boundaries in the future. As my boys start their new term, I cannot wait to see how ‘team Nichol’ planning pays off for them!