Talk It Up

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I took a project management professional (PMP) course where I learned about all aspects of project management including stakeholder analysis, skills assessment and human resource plans, procurement plans, quality management plans, change management plans, risk analysis and contingency planning, and so much more. But it struck me as odd that there was no promotion plan. Yes, there was the communications plan, but that was primarily about status updates and keeping everyone informed so the project stays on track. I’m talking about the job of selling—selling the project to your users. Selling the project to those folks whose day-to-day activities will be altered, whose information flow will be changed, who already know how to use the old system and have no desire to take time out of their busy schedules to learn a new one.

If you are implementing a BIO business intelligence (or almost any) software project, selling the project to your users can make the project go smoother and easier. You may be very familiar with business intelligence, but keep in mind that to many people it is mysterious and complex, it has a high failure rate, and it’s going to take them away from whatever their primary job is. They probably don’t know the benefits of a BI platform and while they believe it will help the company, they may think it won’t help them. You need to dispel the myths, explain the benefits, and set realistic expectations for getting up to speed. Here are seven tips for promoting your BIO business intelligence software project that could be the difference between a frustrating experience and an eagerly anticipated transition to greater productivity and new insights.

  1. Start promoting your project early—long before you need to ask anyone to do anything. Be sure to explain the benefits for the software users and any other beneficiaries, like those who will be reading the new reports.
  2. Use multiple channels to get the word out. Use email, social, your company newsletter, even posters in the cafeteria.
  3. Make it exciting. Buy the office a pizza lunch. Have a contest to name the project. Give away some related dodads.
  4. Keep it up. This is a promotional program and should last from before your project starts until after everyone is up and running. Don’t let people lose interest. Keep them apprised of the status. Let them know about any changes to the schedule.
  5. Get everyone involved. Be sure to get input from users when you are establishing the requirements and designing dashboards and reports. Get a group to help with hands-on testing. Have a competition to see who can create a new report the fastest. Don’t forget to thank everyone for their participation and do it publicly—write it up in the company newsletter, post pictures in the conference room, give out plastic trophies.
  6. Keep your promises. All your hard work to build acceptance and receptivity for your project can be undone in a flash by missing deadlines and not living up to expectations you’ve set.
  7. If you hear grumbling, find out what the issue is. If someone is making disparaging comments, find out why. Flesh out all negativity and use it as an opportunity to learn more and make your solution better.

Remember, you know much more than the rest of the people in your company about BIO. You know it’s easy to implement, easy to learn, and easy to use, but your users don’t know that yet. You’ve been impressed by BIO’s out-of-the-box reports, its features and functionality, and the way it fits your organization. You know that your users will be able to create their own reports and perform ad hoc analyses at the speed of thought. You know that BIO is going to provide insight beyond anything you’ve had before and allow you to make data-based decisions in real time. So spread the word. And make your BIO implementation an exciting and productive event.

Join BIO for a free business intelligence webinar to get to see how BIO business intelligence software can help you meet your business intelligence and reporting needs. And please contact me at 203.705.4648 or by email at sandi@bio4analytics.com if you have any questions about BIO or business intelligence in general.

By Sandi Richards Forman of BIO Analytics Corp., Microsoft Dynamics Business Intelligence (BI) Solution Provider

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