In the EPM industry we tend to talk about Enterprise without much consideration that it may be considered differently by different people or at different times. Many people think of an enterprise as something that applies only to large multi-national publicly traded companies. Others might think of an enterprise as a broad collection of organizations or companies.
This is one of the first questions I ask when speaking to an organization who is interested in enterprise project systems like our own TimeControl. “When you say ‘enterprise’,” I ask, “what are you referring to?”
There is no wrong answer. That’s because the correct definition of enterprise is whatever is relevant to you. You’re the head of a 10-person company? That’s the enterprise. You work in one division of a massive company and your division is somewhat autonomous? Then maybe your division is the enterprise.
When you’re looking at enterprise project systems, what’s much more important than saying “oh, we’re an enterprise now” is knowing how deploying the system you’re considering will make a difference for you.
We’ve had this business challenge with prospective clients since we started in the industry. Someone in IT looks at our product and thinks it would be good for everyone but hasn’t already spoken to all the people they think it would be good for. Needless to say, there is pushback by people within the organization from others who have different ideas. If the person promoting the project product hasn’t already prepared for this resistance, the project can die on the vine before it gets started or, worse, can linger without ever being able to be complete and be deployed.
In our business of deploying enterprise timesheet systems, this subject comes up often. We will have someone in one division who sees the benefits of our TimeControl for themselves and sees how it could be potentially beneficial for many users and how not having to fill in multiple timesheets would be desirable for everyone.
They don’t pre-condition their conversation with other divisions as they try to deploy to the entire “enterprise” and this causes grief.
Here’s what we recommend to them.
- First: Determine your existing situation. So far, your group is the “enterprise”. Are you the only part of the organization who has a need for an enterprise project system like TimeControl? What are other parts of the organization doing?
- Next: Determine how well the systems are working for other parts of the organization. You may find that there are other parts of your organization that are unhappy with their existing situation.
- Then: Determine if you could get the business requirements you are trying to resolve handled with the systems in use by other departments (this is often not the case).
- Finally: Look at the costs associated with supporting more than one timesheet system. (These can be extensive). Is that enough justification for other parts of the organization to get onboard? If so, your “enterprise” is a little bigger.
Don’t stress if you find that there are some parts of the whole organization who are determined not to give up their current system. The cost to them will be that some (perhaps many) people will be filling in more than one timesheet and that reporting to the organization will be much more complex and costly than if everyone was on one thing.
We’ve found over the years that an organization can start with one smaller division happily adopting our system and come to think of themselves as the enterprise. We typically bring up the conversation from time to time so that other parts of the organization who weren’t ready at the time can eventually come on board. The enterprise can be as small or as large as works for you.
What do you consider the enterprise in your environment?