• Karissa Warmack

Playing 'Telephone' - A Dangerous Game for ERP Deployment Leaders


Did you know rotary phones are making a comeback? Well, sort of. There are some videos going viral of Generation Z kids failing to use the old-school phones – and they are hilarious. Now, imagine these kids succeed in dialing out, let’s talk about talking… and what gets heard, because those are usually two very different things. Remember the old playground game, ‘Telephone?’


The rules are easy. A group sits in a circle. The first person whispers a message to another, and then the message makes its way around the circle until the last player reveals the final message. Of course, what makes the game so interesting is how the errors snowball in the re-tellings. The final ‘reveal’ is often unrecognizable to the first person’s whisper. Why is the retelling always a confused mess? Sure, sometimes players rewrite the script for fun or purposefully sabotage because of disinterest. But most of the time, there are just too many layers, filters and bias. We hear what we want to hear, rules be damned.


Can the same be said for client and stakeholder communications during a multi-million-dollar systems integration project? Most definitely. Just think about the layers of management inherent in any hierarchy and you’ll likely see the correlated filtering that goes right along with it. But since we know that engaging stakeholders on the ground is not an optional activity, how do you improve?


1. Evaluate your stakeholder engagement strategy.

  • Have the stakeholders been properly identified, categorized and grouped?

  • Are the most effective mechanisms being used for engagement?

  • Are communication efforts clear, concise, consistent and appropriate for each stakeholder?

  • How can messages better neutralize the opposition and gain more support?


2. Neutralize potential roadblocks and points of failure.

Remember the funsters and those pesky Debbie Downers? People barriers can get in the way by distorting or misrepresenting feedback. Inefficient systems can also be a significant barrier. Old school workshops and change management engagement sessions that are still using decades-old tools and techniques just put companies on the fast track to disaster. Worse still if you are relying on business analysts armed with spreadsheets to fly around the world interviewing stakeholders, to gather business requirements, think again. There’s a better way. Which brings us to our third point…


3. Automate the process of engagement during major transformation projects.

Every technology and ERP rollout program in the world is underpinned by an implementation methodology. Consulting firms even name theirs. Oracle has SOAR, Accenture has FORM, Deloitte has MOMENTUM. Historically these methodologies simply described the steps associated with the journey from the selection of a new enterprise software, to the deployment steps and beyond. Automation didn’t even get a look in.


But now its 2019 and your business has the opportunity to put these methodologies on rails. Digitize them, standardize them and drive consistency. 75% of these projects are known to face failure. So, Automation, to de-risk, align everyone, speed through requirements gathering, align everyone and track every decision is a NO BRAINER.


ThinkTank, by GroupSystems, is a B2B SaaS that uses intelligent process automation to improve how ERP and enterprise software is selected, deployed and managed. Large software firms and their systems integration consultants stand to lose 15-20% in fee write-offs, hundreds of $millions in lost bids and reputation issues. So, they use ThinkTank to improve software deployments, standardize for consistency and efficiency, protecting margins.


Through automation and machine-learning we accelerate and de-risk enterprise software implementations, reducing costs and driving new business via a differentiated client experience.

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