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Dovetail HR Help Desk Implementations

Over the past year or so working with customers as they go through initial implementations of Dovetail’s Employee Engagement Suite (EES) I’ve started to notice a pattern.

But before I tell you what it is, let me rewind a little — Setup for EES is done mostly by “configuration” rather than “customization”. And really, that’s an understatement. The real goal is to do it all by configuration and allow ZERO customization. As we see it, configurations are changes that can be done within the application, by our customers and Dovetailers. But customization is a “code level” change (something done by a developer) that is usually not possible without considerable training and expertise.

From a vendor point of view it is MUCH easier for us to support our customers doing configurations than doing customizations. From a customer point of view high configurability unleashes enormous flexibility and reduces cost. As you might expect, this path made a lot of sense to us, so we’ve put a lot effort into enabling really extensive configuration of our application. It’s a big win-win.

Now, back to the pattern I’ve noticed — In spite of my best efforts to encourage customers into a “walk first, run later” approach, many of them are not taking it to heart. The notion that EES is so easy to change is what they’re misunderstanding, I think. And I think I understand why.  Past experience tells them that putting in a new enterprise application is going to take months or years, and it’s got to be done right the first time, because once it’s in, it will be hard to change. Believe me, I’ve been there and I know that reality.  But, the fact is, Dovetail’s approach solves that problem and leaves the old, rigid ways in the dust. The ability to easily make significant changes to forms, workflows and behavior from within the application make it possible to take a much more iterative approach to an implementation. You can start more simply and see how your organization starts to benefit. Then layer on new functionality as it becomes obvious where it will help. This way you don’t have to spend weeks and months analyzing business requirements and trying to imagine how your organization can run more efficiently when a new tool is adopted.

So I’m not sure where I’m going with this post other than to ask the question about what is it that causes us to want to “boil the ocean” on new projects (and maybe put in a small plug for Dovetail configurability!). It’s so easy to get overly ambitious and take on more and more scenarios to the point that complexity begins bogging the process down…or that you sacrifice thoroughness to meet a deadline. I wonder if the trouble the HealthCare.gov website has had is an example of this?

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