Based on past experiences, what lessons can be learned from failures with network implementation/operation?
The best teachers are experience and informed observation. Projects fail for one primary reason and several contributing factors. The death bell tolls when the return on investment is not known or not inadequately articulated. When management pulls the plug (as has been the case with several large corporate networks) the ramp down period is rapid.
More often, the necessary resources for network operations, content or analytics are withheld. This simply prolongs the inevitable death of the network to the professional embarrassment of everyone involved. Dark screens and poor content are common indicators that the network is moving from being a “walking wounded” to a “living dead.”
The third kind of failure lies in the isolation of the digital signage network. While many networks appear to operate successfully as a stand-alone communications application or as a silo of messaging, such networks draw from content produced for other devices in truth (i.e. Website, mobile, print), and they contribute to these other devices.
The way that digital signage can drive engagement to other devices and the analytics related to viewer attention and actions are key benefits delivered by digital place-based media. When these organizational interfaces fail to deliver business benefit, the failure of the network soon follows.
Budget allocation is a true indicator of network health within the enterprise. Whether it is patron, staff or student communications, the value delivered by the medium must be quantified as this is the only way to validate investment.
Networks that depend on third-party advertising or sponsored messaging, such as for-profit networks, merchant supported retail networks or on-campus installations, are particularly vulnerable to revenue under-achievement. The “sales funnel” of potential advertising provides an accurate indicator of future failures (or levels of success) as each stage of the funnel offers insights of required actions.
Can recovery from poor health occur? Yes, absolutely! The planning that justified the investment should be revisited and updated. This, along with impact assessment, can allow corrections to be applied.