John Q. Todd Sr. Business Consultant, PMP –

We’ve all done it. Bought something we thought we needed with all the cool bells and whistles. A year later it ends up in the donation pile. The device served its basic purpose well but we simply did not use or even need all those cool things it purported to deliver.

Did you make a mistake by purchasing something that was really not needed? Did you fully investigate the features and functions and truly pulled out every ounce of functionality to your benefit? Either way you spent money on something and you should really be looking to get the most out of it.

In the business world, this happens all the time. An enterprise application is purchased that promises to revolutionize how the organization runs its business. As time goes by, 80% of the functionality is relegated to, “Phase 2,” and is forgotten about in the next budget cycle.

In most cases, the business has either already paid greatly for the functionality or is paying for it over time in maintenance and upgrade fees. It is synonymous with purchasing that high end car with all the automation that ends up sitting in the garage used only to pick up groceries on the weekends.

Things to do to get you out of this pit of wasted resources:

  1. When was the last time you reviewed your business processes and their connection to the EAM software? If it’s been a few years, you might take a look before making software/tool decisions.
  2. Contact the vendor of the EAM and ask them to walk you through either the version you have or the most current version. If you are a few versions back, you may be surprised at all the new functionality that is available. Even better if you can find a “trusted advisor,” who has your best interest in mind to talk through the functions.
  3. Attend a User’s Group of the EAM to see what real users of the EAM are doing and saying. Personally, I find User Groups to be the most beneficial as you see presentations from people operating real business processes with whatever the EAM software is.
  4. Query your user community. Where are they getting the most value from the EAM? Or, are they working around it? Have they moved on to other applications to do parts of their business process?

A common mistake that organizations make with their enterprise level application suites, is to lose connection to the brain trust that helped them establish the EAM in the first place. Rather than ending the relationship (as long as they did a good job), keep them on retainer so they can be that trusted adviser after the dust settles. Or, find a firm who can be this role for you.

I have heard it many times during workshops and demos: “We had no idea our software could do that. Is that really just out-of-box functionality? Who suppressed this feature?”

In the end, it is highly probable that you will purchase more EAM functionality than you will ever use. Some features might simply not fit your business. However, if you are constantly looking at how your business could use a function… at least explore it… you may find hidden gems that increase efficiency and drive real improvement. After all, you have paid for them already.