How to implement new software successfully.
You’ve invested in a great software package that’s set to digitally transform your organisation. There are going to be huge business benefits, and everything is great. But what next?
How do you get set up? And importantly, how can you ensure everyone in your business uses the new tool effectively, so you can maximise your return on investment?
Follow our best practice tips to ensure your software implementation is a success.
Lead from the front.
The most successful implementation projects are where management takes an active role. This doesn’t mean each Director needs to be involved in the miniature of an implementation, but at a high level they can keep it on track by:
- Defining roles and responsibilities at the outset
- Communicating clearly about the software, business benefits and the implementation plan
- Organising project milestones
- Ensuring deadline are met
- Supporting staff during the transition
Consider software implementation as a ‘change’ project.
Any kind of software implementation will result in some level of change, after all you’re changing to improve your business. You will go through a journey, whereby staff will change their current methods of working and cement new ones – this can be as large or as small as you make it.
To help the transition, identify the processes that will change and consider documenting them – your software vendor may offer this as a service, so explore this. Also review your employees, considering which members of staff will be more adaptable to change and those who may be more hesitant. Those who relish change could be appointed as super-users and become your internal subject matter experts in the new software, whereas those who are less adaptable may need more support during their training. Establishing this upfront means you can set the right framework.
Plan, plan and plan again.
Set clearly defined goals for your implementation, considering the milestones involved. Be realistic when setting timescales and remember to account for your employees’ annual leave or large projects that will occupy resource. Sometimes businesses set too tight a timescale and then feel disappointed if they miss a milestone. Avoid this by planning carefully and realistically from the outset.
To engender support, explain why your business has chosen to implement a new software solution, outlining the business benefits. It’s important people understand the rationale, rather than just how it will impact them in their role. Also communicate the project plan – people need to know the who, what, where and when, so they can prepare themselves. And issue updates as you complete project milestones, so your teams are fully informed regarding progress and next steps.
And finally, review how the implementation is going on a regular basis. Are you hitting your milestones and if not, why? Are your teams responding well to the training? Are there areas where they need additional support? Your software vendor will be able to support, but they need to know what’s happening in order to respond. Schedule account management check in meetings during your implementation to make sure you’re on track.
These are just some high-level best practice methods for ensuring a successful implementation. At Chalkstring, we support our clients daily with implementation and software adoption and have a wealth of experience to help clients maximise their software investment.