People, Process, Technology…where do most of the ALIM implementation challenges come from?

Implementing an ALIM system brings change that impacts people, process and technology. It’s understandable that technology vendors represent their products as THE solution to all of you’re problems. I’ve seen a lot of awesome demos and it’s easy to get excited about the possibilities that today’s software tools bring.

But most will ignore the challenges in getting to the benefits the software can provide. That’s understandable right? No vendor wants a prospective customer getting nervous about the implementation challenges, so it’s not in their best interest to bring this up in the sales process.

Full disclosure/reminder…I’m a VP at Bentley Systems, Inc.

But another thing that vendors have in common is that they want their software to be used. You might assume that they’re only really interested in the sale, but they know that “shelfware” is a very bad thing. Especially today as the software business is moving rapidly to a subscription model. Years ago…ALIM system cost was very front loaded. So if a system didn’t “take” the vendor would miss out on some recurring maintenance / support revenue, but they’d banked most of the revenue from the relationship on the front end.

Not so much today…and moving quickly to a low-cost of entry and a consumption pricing model that spreads the bulk of the revenue from the relationship over a much longer time horizon. Subscription models have been around for a while, but you can thank the Cloud / SaaS for the recent acceleration that’s occurred in the past couple of years.

So it’s become even more important to vendors that the system be successful both in capability and be widely adoption. If you’re working with a vendor that’s selling a subscription, but isn’t talking about change issues…they don’t get it. And I’d question their long-term viability if they don’t begin to demonstrate quickly that they want to assist with your success by helping you overcome what might be your own internal issues.

So the question…

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2 responses to “People, Process, Technology…where do most of the ALIM implementation challenges come from?”

  1. tjweitzman Avatar


    Great questions. My experience has led me to the conclusion that Process is the greatest challenge to deploying ALIM solutions and other deployments that require configuration management changes. It is my belief that most employees want to do the right thing in their jobs and for their businesses. The reasons they are often cited as being an obstacle to deployment is because end goals are often clearly stipulated, but how configurations really meld into the business processes to achieve the goal are ill defined and not properly documented/communicated. If a business can clearly define and document a plan (not just a how-to) it is my experience that most people will happily comply. Also, with a clearly defined plan that is specific on accountabilities it is far easier for managers and supervisors to manage performance. Configuration management is tricky at best and constantly evolving in the engineering environment. Keeping up with documentation and communicating current and best practices is often more challenging than managing the actual software configuration that support processes.

    Years ago it was part of my job to communicate to management that we did not have a technology obstacle to our implementations. That the IT issues have either been overcome or would be in short order when encountered. Today I find myself communicating to management that we have good people that want to do the right thing. We have excellent configurations that support our business plans – document the process (including how to make inevitable changes), hold management accountable for keeping it consistent. And most importantly, calculate the ROI!

  2. Shawn_Foster Avatar

    People are always the hardest part of the process, as it’s the one part with the most variable.

    A term I use is “historical inertia”… a big fancy way of saying “We’ve always done it that way.”

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