What is the secret to a successful technology implementation? “First and foremost, we want to be clear on the problem we are solving for,” says James Fung, chief technology officer at global private markets firm Northleaf Capital. “If we decide to explore a technology solution, we want to be laser-focused on the primary objective for the solution, so we are not distracted by the ‘bells and whistles’ of the solutions of the day.”
That sentiment – that you need to know your goal before you go out and buy some shiny tech – is echoed by every technologist we ask about successful projects. “CFOs should consider what kind of impact the tech is going to have,” says Michael Secondo, director of sales at Intertrust.
“Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the excitement around a given type of technology, such as artificial intelligence,” says Ned Gannon, president of eBrevia an artificial intelligence software business. “In our experience, the most successful implementations of a given technology start with the user’s pain points.”
Clearly defined goals are common to these three case studies. Insight Partners required a better way of gathering, analyzing and disseminating data from a growing stable of portfolio companies. Riverside needed a neater and safer way to sign off wire transfers. Adams Street Partners needed to centralize 40 years of fund data.
There are many other ingredients that go into a successful implementation. “Whoever is using the software needs to be properly trained, and that training needs to be ongoing,” says Oliver Freigang, founder and chief executive of waterfall software business qashqade.
“The business” needs to be onside from the get-go, meaning both the senior management need to be firmly behind it, and end users throughout the organization need to be brought along for the ride.
“The business users are critical in providing details regarding the business need and feedback during the design and implementation phase,” says John Manganiello, head of business development at asset management-focused tech firm RFA. These themes and others emerge from our three case studies. We hope they are instructive.