Effectively Working with a Research Technology Vendor During Implementation
As a research site starts the adoption and implementation process for a new technology, there are several moving parts. Sites must look at their current workflows to understand how this new technology fits in to the puzzle, or what changes need to be made. There are a lot of unknowns during the implementation process, and because of that, your relationship with your vendor matters.
Often months-long, your partnership with your vendor is pivotal to getting the most out of their technology. There are many things to consider when working with a vendor or choosing one that works best for your organization. In order to get the most out of your partnership, here are steps to take when working with your vendor as you adopt and implement their technology for your organization.
Diving Deep into Definition and Planning
When connecting with your vendor, taking a few weeks to dive deep into planning can set the stage for a successful implementation. This helps make sure everyone involved understands your organization’s goals, realistic timelines, and key implementation success factors. In these early planning stages, it’s helpful to answer questions such as:
- What are your goals?
- What is your scope?
- Can you achieve your goals and scope with the resources you have available?
Taking the time to really think through these questions helps everyone truly understand what it takes to support the implementation. As the leadership and core teams work together to answer these questions, they come to understand what’s trying to be accomplished, and if it’s feasible. This will also shape training and implementation timelines, letting everyone know if the posed timeline is or is not achievable. If it’s not achievable, can you make timeline adjustments? If it is achievable, when can you expect to put the plan in motion?
Adopting a Holistic Viewpoint
Once high-level project parameters are defined, you can start working with your vendor to go through a training process. There are a lot of moving parts and things to consider at this step. A vendor must understand how important it is for everyone at the organization to have clear understanding of holistic processes, rather than just their part of the workflow. Not only does this keep everyone out of their own silos, but it shows how technology can enhance operations and benefit everyone.
Participating in activities to show organizational workflow is oftentimes a key moment for research staff. It’s an effective way for everyone to see and understand the future workflow, and especially helps staff understand what impacts their roles and how they impact other roles as well. This also helps staff identify areas for improvement or ways to streamline processes.
Working Proactively to Address Roadblocks
As your organization moves into the more detailed meetings, this is often a time where most organizations lean on their vendors to provide guidance and clarity. In most cases, as you move along in your implementation process, you don’t know what you don’t know and are relying on your vendor’s experience and depth of knowledge.
A vendor should be able to proactively detail the next steps your organization should take and the way you should do it. At the very least, giving options for your organization to pick from can go a long way in establishing effective processes for implementation.
It’s also helpful to know the project management team you are working with and understand how well they work together and the depth of their experience. A highly collaborative team with deep customer experience will benefit your organization in more ways than one. With an extensive customer pool, vendors can share examples or best practices when addressing any roadblocks you may have. They may be able to leverage other members on their team to find answers or see if any other customers are experiencing the same pain points.
Vendors also have the ability of potentially connecting organizations with each other and facilitate a relationship. This is an effective way to leverage your vendor’s knowledge and depth while making connections throughout the industry, all while getting the answers your organization needs to become successful. Ultimately, your relationship with your vendor should be collaborative, enabling your organization to use their technology to its fullest extent.