Sell Business to Business Users
Frequently, CIO’s and primary project sponsors ask a tough question. How do we sell the business (the system) to the business users? These businesspeople have been habituated to the current ecosystem. They are accustomed to doing their tasks in a certain ways. A new system disrupts those patterns. Most likely, people will be resistant to learning new things and modifying their existing behaviors.
We can establish good processes and procedures. We can even implement the best systems, but they are all no good if people don’t embrace the system. Systems must serve the users’ needs.
Launching a major system creates organizational change. Networks must be reconfigured. Applications must successfully pass data. However, new systems often require individual behavior change within people throughout the organization. Some project managers focus solely on systems. They treat people as an afterthought, and then they wonder why people actively resist their grand solution.
A successful project requires buy-in from all of the users—well before you reach the stage of User Acceptance Testing. Early in the project, you must consider how the project will impact people’s daily lives:
- What value does the system add?
- How will user’s roles, responsibilities, and tasks change?
- Who are your champions?
- Who are your evangelists?
Users are not abstract conceptions. They are real people who have their own day-to-day challenges. It’s important to speak with them, learn their world, and become accepted as someone who cares about their community. Wise project managers consider the human aspect of change and quickly establish change management and communication plans as part of the overall project.