Getting your staff excited about "manager self-service" should not be allthat difficult. After all, it’s supposed to save a manager time while offeringinformation at the desktop. What more could they ask for?
Plenty, as it turns out. Managers aren’t always keen to learn yet anothersoftware program that will allegedly save time and money while making theirlives easier. David Rhodes, a principal at Towers Perrin, says the first move ingetting managers' support is to help them write the specifications for the kindof system they want.
In addition, human resources and information technology staffs have to makesure that managers get the training they need to use the program. "You don’twant it to look like a ‘dump and run’ program, where the notion is ‘do ityourself, I’m going away,’ " he says.
Corporate culture counts
A company’s values and receptiveness to change will go a long way towardmanagers' acceptance of an MSS program. Some clients have decided against havingone because of resistance, while others have embraced it and discovered thatmanagers thrive on the information they can quickly capture from the software,says Rhodes.
He also suggests a cautious approach to vendors, especially smaller ones thatoften have innovative products. You want to make certain they have the capitalto stay in business and are not another dot-bomb. After selecting three or fourvendors to investigate, companies should maintain a list of attributes theywant, or they’ll end up watching a salesperson show features that are notrelevant to their businesses.
NuView Systems CEO Shafiq Lokhandwala suggests studying whether the softwareis easy to understand and whether it can be configured and customized to acompany’s users. The key, he believes, is to buy a software package that canbe customized without having to write new code.
Once the decision has been made, the MSS software should be introduced in ameasured fashion, says Audrey Sullivan, director of HR systems at TASC, aninformation management and system engineering firm whose parent company isNorthrop Grumman. Once managers "see the functionality and that it can bringin a wide new world, there’s a tendency to say, ‘We want it all and we wantit immediately.' Take it slowly; don’t do too much at one time."
Rhodes says showing a return on investment to executives has provendifficult. Still, if satisfied managers and human resources professionals arefreed from some of the more routine elements of their day, MSS software has beena good investment.
Workforce Online, March 2002