Have you ever tried to look at a 3-D image without the accompanying 3-D glasses? The image is somewhat blurry and doubled, heavily washed out with varying shades of blues and reds. You can make out the image, of course, but you are not getting the true picture. Putting on the 3-D glasses, it is a whole different story. Not only is the image clear, but you are seeing it in greater quality and dimensionality than ever before.
This metaphor easily translates to preparing for and carrying out system implementations. The information gathered through a typical procedure—reviewing documentation, processes, and brief employee interviews – gives only a blurry, discolored perspective of the picture.
So, you want the 3-D glasses? In implementations, the glasses come in the form of journey mapping.
What is Journey Mapping?
Journey mapping considers a user’s experience from beginning to end of a process. Journey mapping should be done for any process that 1) interacts with the customer (internal or external) or 2) is a frequently completed process. While it is often used to improve customer experience, the process can also increase efficiency and user acceptance throughout an implementation. Though the employees (users) of the system are not a typical “customer,” they are the individuals on the receiving end of the new system. The users’ buy-in or rejection of the solution can have very real consequences on the attainment of implementation goals.
Journey maps view process flows from a new angle. Rather than interviewing employees and simply noting the hard facts relating to the process, journey mapping actually takes into account an employee’s thoughts, feelings, pain points, and frustrations associated with the process being defined. It is important to understand that journey mapping does not slow the implementation process down at all. As noted previously, all the information is already being conveyed during interviews, workshops, and facilitated sessions; the data has just not been meaningfully captured in the past. Journey mapping supplements the design phase with richer and deeper information, making change management even more powerful.
The majority of implementations consist of a company selecting a best fit system and making the necessary customizations to meet the company’s critical requirements. Breaking down the typical implementation process shows how journey maps can be woven into the plan to strengthen the overall implementation.
When selecting a system based on process flows alone, an ideal, but not necessarily realistic picture is painted. Process flows often show how a vast array of functionality can be used, though a journey map would reveal that much of this functionality is non-essential. The resulting benefit is the ability to choose a less expensive solution with less features and potentially even greater efficiency. For example, a manufacturing and distribution company assumed providing competitive costs during the sales order process was critical to customers. Filling this requirement would have resulted in the acquisition of an expensive third-party product. Through the use of journey maps, the company discovered customers were indifferent, and the costly third-party product would have been a colossal waste of money. Journey maps enable companies to target what they need to buy and implement, inevitably leading to a reduction in overall cost. Benefit in Selection: While process flows show which features and functionalities could be used, a journey map shows that not all are needed.
Configuration & Testing
Throughout configuration, journey maps help to focus efforts in potentially unexpected but high return areas. For example, the standard AP invoice processing functionality in all ERP systems will result in paid bills. However, journey mapping the process often exposes the need for custom forms and screens to support head’s down data entry in high volume environments. Without this, the bill paying process would slow, making it difficult to obtain critical supplies in a timely manner. Benefit in Configuration: A process flow will show that ‘out-of-the-box’ would work, but the journey map shows that it is not as efficient and creates a huge bottle neck.
Journey maps are used throughout testing. From the very beginning, they are referenced when creating test scripts to ensure the critical requirements are adequately tested. Process flows allow for testing that the system accomplishes its end goal, journey maps allow testing that confirms the end goal is reached with the least resistance, room for error or employee frustration.
During testing, journey maps confirm that the processes and system configurations make sense by highlighting bottle necks or areas where there is a great amount of change. For example, if there is a new field ticketing system requiring people to use structure, price lists and technology they are unfamiliar with, journey maps will identify and highlight the new process as high priority for testing. Ensuring all critical requirements are operating per user expectation eliminates resistance during training and go-live. Benefit in Testing: A process flow will show that the process is streamlined and doable, the journey map shows that it is not done easily but then serves as a roadmap to navigate the bumpy road ahead.
Training & Roll-Out
Journey maps allow focus to be placed on the right training, so training is not wasted. The groups that undergo the greatest change or trouble are identified and prioritized during training and support. Leadership is empowered with an in-depth understanding of the steps of the process that have been simplified for users, as well as the steps that will be more tedious and potentially frustrating. With this knowledge, leadership can clearly explain the purpose and importance of more tedious steps to aid in change management. Journey maps help to apply change management concepts in a realistic manner, enabling effective and lasting change management. Following roll-out of the new system, journey maps continue to serve a purpose by aiding leadership in prioritizing support and on-going training, first to areas of highest criticality. Benefit in Roll-out: A process flow will show the steps for training, the journey map shows the feelings, expectations and stumbling blocks associated with these steps; equipping leadership to train with sensitivity to achieve lasting change management.
In every step of the implementation process, there is a place for journey maps to make the overall picture more clear, leading to stronger and more effective implementations.
Trenegy is a non-traditional consulting firm—using journey maps is one example of how we are different. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out why different is better.