Leading change ain’t easy. This is especially true when it comes to getting people to use new technology. Statistics show that almost three-quarters of IT projects fail and the numbers are even worse in maintenance, where 90% of CMMS failures happen because the software was underutilized or not used at all. We don’t want you to be a statistic.
That’s why we invited water resource manager and project management professional, Devon Aaroe, and wastewater treatment operator, Gordon Mielke, to share their experience with the Fiix community. In this webinar recording, they share their unique perspectives on their organization’s change management journey from paper to digital and beyond.
Watch the full recording to get new ideas, answer questions you are trying to solve, and learn (or re-learn) best practices regarding leading change. You can also download and listen to the audio version of the webinar using the embedded link below.
Devon Aaroe, water resource manager for the City of Dawson Creek, first realized the difficulties of leading change when their attempt at implementing a document control software crashed and burned due to lack of buy-in.
Relying on the lessons learned from their first attempt, Devon wanted his team of operators, like Gordon Mielke, to own their Fiixmaintenance management system.
As a manager, your job is managing the people, and their job is managing the facility. First, it needs to work for my team, and then I’ll make it work for me. – Devon Aaroe
With the goal of improving reliability and uptime of their municipal water and wastewater facilities, Devon and Gordon worked together to ensure their CMMS selection and implementation was a success.
Creating a sense of ownership
Buy-in. A simple and often overused word that can be extremely difficult to achieve and even harder to force. For Devon, this was critical for his CMMS project.
It’s got to be as intuitive as Facebook or Instagram, it just has to work. Don’t give me a thick binder of written instructions on how to use it. – Devon Aaroe
Devon understood that ease of use was not going to be enough to create buy-in though. He wanted to also involve the people who were actually going to use the system in the decision-making process.
So, Devon did the preliminary CMMS research and narrowed down their selection to two front runners. He then provided free demos of Fiix and a competitive CMMS software to all of his operators and asked them to play around with both. All operators unanimously chose Fiix.
When I sat through that selection process it felt awesome. It was really nice to be able to choose. I wanted it to be less than 3-clicks to get anywhere. – Gordon Mielke
Pro Tip: Create opportunities for users to have input on decisions to create a sense of ownership and excitement for the project.
Setting realistic expectations
Devon advises framing software implementation as a project. A project has a start and end, with targets and timelines. Projects also have project teams, allocated time, resources, and budget to complete. He cautions that successfully implementing software is not something you can do off the side of your desk.
Devon’s project team included a senior operator who came back from retirement on a 6-month contract to add over 1,400 assets and create over 400 SMs. An admin, a planning manager with project management experience, and his champion, Gordon.
Devon set clear expectations with senior leadership and operators that it was going to be hard. They allocated a one year timeline and managed the project with regular check-ins.
It will initially cause more problems than it solves, but in the long run, it will save time and money. – Devon Aaroe
Pro Tip: Implementation can’t happen in a vacuum and will take time and effort. Be honest with yourself and all stakeholders regarding the time and budget required.
The importance of a champion
When faced with change, it’s common to expect a few early adopters, along with a few early detractors. Gordon was one of those early adopters. He’s techy, had previous CMMS experience, and immediately saw the potential of the software.
Gordon would regularly bounce ideas among operators in the lunchroom and assist peers with any questions or struggles. Devon decided to grant Gordon admin access so he could quickly implement changes and build the system to work for the whole team.
He could help me live as an operator, see what I can’t see. – Devon Aaroe
Devon also points out that a champion may actually be the person who is constantly coming to you with problems and looks like a detractor. That’s really a sign that they’re engaged but the system is just not working for them. By trusting them to have more influence in the development, they can become a new champion.
Pro Tip: Identify your champions early and support peer-to-peer influencers by giving them heightened responsibility.
Building positive momentum
During the first 90-days in particular, it’s important to start getting some small wins. Even if it’s as simple as solving login and password issues. Building an attentive feedback loop of small incremental changes to make big changes over time.
Devon provided access to training but he also held weekly team meetings to ask; what are the things that are working well, what are the things that are not working at all, and what do you need in order to do your job? Gordon would often provide feedback on behalf of his peers that Devon could elevate to Fiix for a solve. Devon would close the loop in their weekly stand-ups by always reporting back on what was done, or not done, and why.
The back and forth between us and Fiix was huge. In my previous experience there was no communication between the software developers and the people who were trying to implement the software. – Gordon Mielke
Pro Tip: Schedule frequent check-ins and build positive momentum with an attentive feedback loop.
When the users take over the software and they’re using it everyday, it’s no longer a project. Everboarding is the idea that learning is constant. Not a one-and-done onboarding event but instead a continuous process.
Fiix is a part of our onboarding and training but also a part of our ongoing performance management and one-on-one process. – Devon Aaroe
For the City of Dawson Creek, veteran users train new users on the program to sharpen their own skills over time. The team also tracks effort to determine how much of each person’s time is spent on preventative maintenance v. emergency maintenance.
Pro Tip: Integrate your CMMS into your training and performance management processes to encourage continuous professional development and reinforce the maintenance program.
According to a study by IBM, 24% of data breaches are caused by human error. Some of these breaches are the result of phishing attacks or poor device protection, while others are the result of routine document mismanagement. In other words, a large chunk of data breaches is the result of specific human behaviors. So, what if there was a way to eliminate human error from the equation?
That doesn’t mean that people wouldn’t create, edit, and share documents. They would. But rather than use time to think about good data archival or sharing practices, they could focus on their core tasks and work that requires human interaction.
So How Did We End Up in a Situation where Humans Are the Weakest Link?
To really understand how we got here, we have to go back to a time long, long ago — before computers.
Before computers, we had a file room full of paper folders and a file clerk to manage the archive. This clerk, this person, knew where everything was and what it related to. This person knew which personnel could access which information. And they had their own systems and methods for making sense of everything that’s there.
When we introduced network drives and folders, we brought the file room into a digital space, but we left out the clerk.
So now it’s up to staff to control and govern information. And this is precisely where the problem lies. Businesses need an information controller, and luckily with modern technology, this controller doesn’t have to be human.
Remote Work Calls for Even Better Control
Now that work is increasingly remote, the need for control over how documents are found, accessed, edited, shared, and stored is bigger than ever. It is much harder to holler at a colleague to ask about a document now that you no longer share the same workspace.
And because people are people and will resort to the path of least resistance, it is vital to enforce good document management practices. Personal file-sharing solutions can lead to data leaks. Sharing documents as email attachments cause versioning chaos. And saving duplicate versions of a document makes it impossible to know which version to trust, or where all these duplicates are stored. And this all will happen if you don’t provide easy-to-use tools to automate and guide document management protocols. These versioning and duplicate document problems can be a nightmare for compliance strategies, for example — all of which could be avoided.
Information Management as the New File Clerk
One way to control how staff behaves is to create protocol and procedure, and train staff on the importance of informationsecurity and proper information management.
However, another way is to leverage technology and specifically information management technology to automate how people behave and interact with information. With this approach, staff doesn’t have to think about good data archival or sharing practices, and instead they can focus on their core tasks and work.
Information management not only provides governance for sensitive content, but it is the bedrock solution that mitigates how staff interacts with information. And when the system automatically manages the information the way it’s supposed to be managed, it means that staff doesn’t have to make decisions or think about how to manage a document, or where to save it. Instead, they can focus on their core task.
In short, these systems set the parameters for how staff stores, accesses, shares, and manages documents and other content according to established company standards. Organizations can do this with the help of features that set up retention policies, automate editing and approval processes and other workflows that support business processes. User and access rights can be easily controlled with metadata, and version control and audit trails become easy and automated.
Product filters operate in the background on e-commerce sites to streamline the customer journey. These filters allow users to pick and sort the products they are searching for by using filter options, such as color, size, style, and pattern. This helps to save time and allows customers to control their buying experience.
Did you know that a similar experience can be achieved by applying data extraction tools to software applications?
Most applications today are equipped with the capability to ingest key content from documents, but a robust extraction tool goes beyond that – allowing applications to auto-capture content, compare confidence levels, and make informed decisions.
A data extraction tool effectively extracts and converts content into useful electronic information from large batches of structured and semi-structured documents. Furthermore, it leverages new-age technology to enhance accuracy by learning from previously processed documents and providing visual indications of data inaccuracies, allowing users to make corrections accordingly.
Using multiple extraction engines, a software can capture and process incoming documents, extract data with precision, and carry out digital voting, or comparison. This is based on the confidence levels of the extracted data processed in each engine and eventually the most accurate data is populated into the system.
A robust invoice processing system allows organizations to streamline the inflow of invoices received from various sources, such as email, paper, and portal.
Here’s how data extraction helps in invoice management system:
Invoices can be captured from different channels and introduced into the workflow
Invoices are then processed through multiple extraction engines
The tool then compares the extracted data and executes automatic voting functions on the backend
The most accurate critical data is populated onto a rich user interface for viewing
Preconfigured validations make it easy for users to post an invoice in ERP
Implementing a voting concept, for invoice management, can empower business users to be more efficient, productive, and compliant with regulatory requirements.
Leveraging the appropriate extraction tool, based on business needs, can help users to efficiently manage huge volumes of data and streamline content-based processes, thereby promoting the overall success of the organization.
Businesses have woken up to the reality of information access and management in a remote work situation. There are three immutable factors for remote work:
Information is scattered across the enterprise – in network folders, in other archives, either in the cloud or on premises, in different business systems and more.
Team members are likewise scattered across the globe in their home offices. They are no longer safely confined within the office network.
Data security and compliance risk takes on even more importance.
So, what can companies do to manage information effectively in a remote work environment? Organizations must make critical information easy to find when needed. They need to support approved work methods — including governance and compliance protocols — and make information an asset that works for people rather than people working for information.
The key is to provide both visibility and control for the organization.
The business needs visibility over what information there is, where it is, who interacts with it, and how they’re interacting with it.
When there’s complete visibility over information assets, companies are better able to identify and address informationsecurity vulnerabilities.
And as an additional perk, with this visibility, there is also the ability to easily provide evidence of compliance to informationsecurity standards. This, for example, makes it easy to demonstrate to a client how their sensitive information is handled and secured.
Additionally, the business needs control over how information is created, stored, archived, retained, accessed, shared, and processed. It is impossible to secure something you have no control over. But with proper information management tools and practices in place, all information is securely controlled.
There is no security without proper management of information. There’s no proper management of information without control. And there’s no control without visibility. It’s a cycle where all the pieces are codependent and need to be in their proper place.
When we were chalking out business plans in the board rooms, COVID-19 struck, affecting businesses globally and disrupting manual or partially automated processes. By now, we have learned to live with the pandemic around us. We’ve embraced the new normal of remote working. But are we as effective as before? Are manual processes hurting our business operations and customer service?
Thanks to technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) that came to our rescue during these testing times when survival meant the rapid adoption of digital. Automation of routine, mundane, and template-based processes with bots acted as a quick-fix in enabling smooth remote operations and maintaining business continuity.
RPA has made it easier for organizations to go digital and deliver uninterrupted services without compromising their speed and quality. Bots can work round the clock tirelessly and accurately, freeing up our valuable resources to take charge and talk strategy.
scaling operations based on varying supply chain demands
Let’s take a look at three industry-specific use cases where RPA is helping organizations survive and thrive in the new normal.
Faster loan disbursement
Financial institutions are leveraging bots to automate their loan qualification and validation processes, making disbursements more efficient. This is also helping them streamline their inbound loan processing and existing underwriting approvals.
Streamlined employee health screening
Government agencies and private organizations alike are deploying bots to send out periodic surveys through multiple channels with questions about their employees’ health and travel history, among others. Based on the responses, the bot creates a risk score to assess whether a person is fit to physically attend the office or not.
Hospitals are setting up bots to maintain a log with details about healthcare workers who are in good health, need quarantine, or have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19. This helps them allocate resources efficiently and ensure timely support for both the medical staff as well as the patients.
This is just a glimpse of how RPA has been enabling a secure, touchless environment to help businesses stay afloat through this crisis. RPA is the clear choice for organizations to stay current and gear up for the digital-only world.