By Melissa Reichenbacher
As a Project Manager, I’m typically brought in after the sales process to make sure that everything defined in the project scope moves along as planned. Projects might be for a new, full scale implementation or simply an upgrade. Sometimes that means making sure decisions are being made on a timely basis, but it’s often making sure our clients have the information they need to make those decisions. This is one of the many ways that we provide value to our clients – hence the term Value Added Reseller (VAR). It’s this proactive approach, experience and planning that ensures a smooth implementation.
I love this role in that I can share my knowledge and experience with a variety of clients. In this position I’m an advisor, coach, and expert on successful implementations. Our clients know what they ultimately want and our team knows how to get them there. Together with the client, we become the project management team. The result is very rewarding for us and the client. In fact, many of our clients see a faster return on their technology investment than expected and in ways they could never have imagined. You’ll never see the unexpected benefits of the software from a demo.
I also enjoy the predictive aspect of being a project manager; of looking to the future to see how what we are doing today will impact the company tomorrow. In fact, it’s this component that helps me provide better technical support to our clients. It’s not just about answering questions or fixing problems. It’s about understanding how people’s jobs are changing as a result of the software – and how we can make the process better for them. All the information that we’ve gained over the years really makes a VAR invaluable.
A business system is the heart of the company. It pumps the blood to all the vital parts of the organization and it has to be working in order for everything else to work. When you are looking at a new business system, it’s in effect like a heart transplant and we are the surgeons. Likewise, a support contract is the equivalent of medical insurance. If you don’t have it, you will usually let a problem fester until you can’t ignore it anymore, which usually costs more time and money in the long run.
The key factor of a successful implementation and long term satisfaction is not the software, it’s the implementation team.