What do Icebergs and your IT systems have in common?

By Bruce Nelson

Over 90% of an iceberg’s volume (and mass) is underwater.  What in the world does this have in common with your IT systems?  In many cases, a lot.

Organizations have a tendency to treat the implementation of mission critical systems (accounting, ERP, CRM, or productivity) as a one-time event.  They make a significant investment in time and training for a new system, and then realize the true value of these systems.

Conflicting with this realization – personnel and requirements change over time, causing the iceberg effect.  Organizations can fail to properly train new employees, engage their partner to map new requirements, or don’t take advantage of new features introduced by the publisher.

The effect we see – the further away organizations get from their original implementation, the more the value sinks below the “water line”.  In other words, they are taking advantage of 75% of what the system had to offer in the first couple of years, but five years later, they are realizing less and less value.  The is called the Iceberg of Ignorance effect.

Re-engage     →     Re-invest     →     Return to Value

How do you make sure your organization doesn’t experience the Iceberg of Ignorance?  

First, Re-engage with your partner – they know your system.  You are the expert on your business, but they are the experts on how to best utilize your system to adapt to changes.

Secondly, Re-invest in your people though training and continuous learning mindset.  Take advantage of organizational specific training from your partner, utilize the vast online training materials from software publishers, and schedule time with your own team for internal training.

I saw this quote at a conference I recently attended that best sums up my thoughts.  “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” – Abraham Lincoln.  Re-visiting your initial requirements allows you to sharpen the ax for the tasks ahead.