Are we ready? The benefits of using a readiness assessment

by Edward Witchey
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Readiness Assessments are widely used for the adoption of large-scale enterprise software applications such as Electronic Medical Records, Enterprise Resource Planning Systems, and Customer Relationship Management applications. For organizations preparing to implement enterprise software solutions, it is beneficial to perform a cross-departmental assessment. The primary function of the exercise is to explore departments for maturity and viewpoints as they relate to the technology and software. This is usually done as a formal business analysis process or during the planning phase of the implementation project. Generally, the responses are scored so they can be used to make educated business decisions.  The exercise can also be useful to educate on expectations and the overall implementation process.

The assessment can be divided into four main sections: Organizational Alignment, Management Capacity, Operational Capacity, and Technical Capacity. Under the section for organizational alignment, there would be inquiries about culture, the organization, leadership, and strategy. The goal of this section is to ensure all stakeholders are ready to embrace change, that everyone agrees it supports the strategic plan, and that a gap doesn’t exist between upper management and the rest of the organization. 

In the management capacity section, there would be questions to address the specific business units and their accountability. For example, a salesperson would benefit greatly from a customer relationship management system, but the financial department may question their commitment to the quality of the data. This could lead to a policy or procedure being developed that puts controls on how data gets entered into the system. For an electronic medical record, this section could include questions to gauge how clinical staff will handle new tasks alongside daily operational processes while maintaining the quality of patient care.

Under operational capacity, the assessment would explore whether current or future state workflows have been developed. Any necessary rewrites to policy or new procedures would also fall under this category. This section could call out how training will be handled as well as the current skill set of the stakeholders. Often an analysis of core competencies and rigidities is reviewed in this section. This helps to determine if any enterprise environmental factors could affect the implementation.

Lastly, under the technical capacity section, there would be questions to qualify the overall information technology of the organization. This could include whether a support and training department exists that can handle the work. It could also include questions on the infrastructure of the organization. For any business today, the ability to collect and process data is imperative, so understanding the ability to design and implement analytics could be addressed as well.

The readiness assessment provides the organization with an overarching view of the organization’s ability to successfully adopt technology and software. While there is a basic framework and model, the assessment can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the organization. Often, a readiness assessment will reveal some prework that needs to be done before the implementation can begin. It helps to ensure that the project will be successful and the value added will be realized on time and on budget.  

 

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