You know your company has plenty to gain from enterprise asset management (EAM) software, but facing the possibility of another failed implementation can feel overwhelming.
You’re already picturing the missed deadlines, operational disruptions, and unexpected costs that push you far beyond your original budget. Plus the steep learning curve that comes with training your team to use the software.
You’re not overreacting. There really is a lot to be worried about.
Research from McKinsey shows as many as 70% of all digital transformation initiatives fail. However, your EAM software implementation doesn't have to be among them if you plan ahead. Here are the biggest reasons for failure and, more importantly, how to avoid them.
Why EAM software implementations fail
Lack of clear goals
EAM software manages the life cycle of your company's assets, from procurement and maintenance to replacement and disposal. It also collects data on every aspect of your asset landscape so you can make data-driven decisions, such as whether to repair or replace an expensive piece of equipment.
However, it’s up to your maintenance team to determine how to use your EAM software in a way that maximizes your investment. If you haven’t clearly defined your goals and how your software will support them, you’ll feel like you overpaid for a basic asset tracking system.
Because the system has such wide-ranging functionality, you need to prioritize the features you want to implement and decide how you’ll use them.
For instance, if you want to make inspections more efficient, you need to be sure your EAM software offers mobile capabilities for all your technicians. If improving asset performance is your primary goal, look for a system that makes it easy to manage preventive maintenance schedules. If you want better inventory management, make sure your system shows real-time availability for parts and materials.
You also need to determine which maintenance metrics you’ll track to ensure you’re moving in the right directions.
Lack of integration with existing systems
Enterprise asset management doesn't happen in a vacuum. Procurement and inventory need to work closely with accounting and purchasing. Your maintenance department needs to coordinate with production and scheduling for possible equipment downtime. To ensure a successful implementation, you need to consider what other systems and departments will be impacted.
Systems integration also requires IT support. You may know what data and systems need to be shared, but your IT department knows how to connect them properly. They need to be involved in your implementation process from the beginning.
In a survey of 450 IT leaders, 27% reported challenges integrating new solutions with legacy technology was the most common reason for implementation failure.
Here are some examples of systems that may require integration:
Business intelligence systems
Energy management software
Fuel management systems
Lease accounting software
Project management software
Service request software
You don't have to integrate everything starting Day One, but you do need to know what each planned integration requires. Look for cloud-based EAM software that includes plugins for standard integrations and an open API for other solutions.
Lack of internal support
You'll talk to many people as you collect project requirements, but not all of them need to be involved in your EAM software implementation from beginning to end. If you can quantify the level of participation, people can assess the impact on their workloads, making for a less stressful implementation.
However, you do need at least one internal “champion” responsible for moving the project forward — ideally, someone in a management role. According toa recent survey, 52% of organizations said a lack of executive support was the primary cause of an implementation failure. Simultaneously, executives were more likely to pressure project teams for fast implementations, primarily as a reaction to external forces such as competition, legislation, or customer demands.
Enterprise-level implementations impact everyone, and everyone wants to know what it means for them. Highlighting the benefits of the software is one way to gain buy-in. Consider demonstrating the software to more than just executives or the project team. If managers can see how the software can benefit them, they'll be more receptive to change. They can become your best advocates throughout the process.
For example, show how work order management can connect to inventory tracking to reduce manual inventory controls. Think about administrative functions such as accounting or purchasing. Let them see how the solution you’ve chosen makes their lives easier.
An unrealistic timeline
EAM software impacts many different areas of your organization, so proper implementation requires time and patience.
Your vendor should be able to help you set a project schedule that’s broken into phases with key milestones so you can plan ahead. Get the support of the critical stakeholders you identified during the planning stage to reach those milestones.
Don’t try to take on too much yourself. While you need to be involved throughout the project, you also need to delegate. For instance, ask maintenance technicians to help you gather the right asset data—one of the most critical elements of implementing EAM software. You’ll need plenty of time to organize that data and ensure it’s up to date before you add it to your system.
Asset ID numbers
Inspection and maintenance records
Once you’ve gathered all the information, you’ll need to discuss what workflows you’ll need and what metrics you want to track. Establish regular meetings with your vendor to discuss any hurdles or questions that arise during the implementation process.
Don't do it alone. Delivering an enterprise-wide solution takes enterprise-wide support. Use the resources you have and resources from your EAM provider to ensure that every phase of the process goes smoothly.
Build flexibility into your timeline and acknowledge that delays happen.
Implementations fail because of poor planning, but a well-planned project can fail because of poor communication. About20% of all projects fail for this reason alone. How can you avoid communication pitfalls?
Start by clarifying expectations. Executives want to know how long the project will take, how much the EAM will cost, and when you’ll see a return on investment. Unless you are very clear, you can find yourself explaining why your new asset management system is not meeting their expectations right away. Be sure to communicate expectations clearly and often. Good communication is more than status updates; it’s also about listening. You might be surprised by how much you can learn from your employees that will help you improve the implementation process.
Lack of training
You may not think of training as part of the implementation process, but it’s critical. If your workforce can't use the solution effectively, the implementation fails, regardless of how well the project went.
No matter how user-friendly the solution is, you’ll need to invest some time in training your team to use it well.
Ask your EAM software vendor to provide training materials, such as videos, cheat sheets, and articles. If your team can access these resources from mobile devices, that’s even better.
Keep in mind that everyone learns differently. Some may understand just from watching a demo, while others need a more hands-on approach.
And training should be ongoing. Look for opportunities to invite your team to webinars or refresher sessions to introduce them to the latest updates.
Be part of the 30%
A successful implementation requires setting realistic goals, proper planning, good communication, and training. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone.
Our team of experienced software professionals will support you throughout the process and help you maximize your investment in EAM software. They can help you gain buy-in from executives, establish a project timeline, and train your team. In addition to our standard onboarding, we also offer advanced support services, including data review or data importing by one of our specialists.
And because our subscription-based software includes maintenance and upgrades, you won’t have to worry about costly capital investments busting your EAM budget.
Don’t let the high failure rate of software implementations discourage you. With the right solution and an experienced team to help, you can be one of the 30% of companies with digital transformation initiatives success.