Software Implementation Process to Achieve Greater Success

Today’s businesses operate on technology.  It’s difficult to conceive of how data could be collected, decisions made, and actions executed without significant technology platforms at work.  Yet many companies are resistant to reviewing their current software solutions and investigating new technologies.  There are many reasons to avoid new software implementation, but one common cause is fear of change.

More precisely, people fear the unknown that the change will bring.  How will new software impact how I do my job?  Will it be so efficient that team members are laid off?  Will my job be eliminated?  Will I be able to learn how to use the new software proficiently?  How long will it take for things to get back to “normal”?  What is this going to cost?  What happens if the software doesn’t work like we think it will?

Some organizations create a cross-functional change management team to learn about all the concerns employees and managers have and develop strategies to address them throughout the evaluation and implementation process.

Helping employees and managers embrace change in the software implementation process includes addressing concerns like these:

software implementationStakeholders must let go of previous achievements.  Selecting a software solution, implementing it throughout the organization, and making updates to the internal coding to best handle work demands is hard work–and typically an achievement that those leaders responsible for the project won’t forget.  It may be tough for those same leaders to admit the software no longer fit the current demands of the business, and it’s time to start all over again.

Management must involve line employees in the process and collaborate together.  In some companies, managers feel the need to obtain all the data and make critical decisions for their teams.  However, the most successful software implementations involve line employees from the investigatory stages to the final rollout.  Line employees provide a critical view and can ask deeper questions about how a solution will serve the company’s day-to-day needs.  Managers must feel comfortable allowing line employees to participate actively throughout the process and take their feedback seriously as they make decisions.  In turn, these employees will develop greater confidence about the new solution and will spread their excitement about the change to their teammates.

Executive management must work with Business Unit Leadership to re-evaluate priorities and reschedule projects and deadlines.  It’s not uncommon for company strategy to be planned for several years into the future.  Selecting and implementing a new ERP can take months and require management to pull resources previously allocated to other priorities, including people, time, and money.  Executive leadership must accept that short and long-term strategic plans must change and be willing to adjust priorities accordingly.  At the same time, business units need to understand the importance of the new software and how it will benefit them in the long run to feel more comfortable with changes to their otherwise carefully crafted operational plans.

Departments must consider new ways of doing business and amend procedures to fit the software.  Changing the way processes are completed is often the biggest hurdle to implementing a new software system.  In fact, trying to amend new software coding to complete tasks the way the previous software worked is one of the biggest reasons implementations fail.  Everyone involved in selecting the software must be open to seeing new ways of getting the same end results.  Likewise, employees who have previously mastered finely-tuned procedures must be supported with a generous amount of empathy as they train to learn the new processes.  They may also be adapting to using electronic notes and invoicing while giving up trusty notebooks and printed documents.

Employees must adjust to being measured against new performance metrics.  New technology can eliminate processes or completely change the way work is done.  When this happens, the ways managers monitor and measure their team’s performance will change, too.  New software may even include capabilities to automatically measure key performance indicators (KPI’s), which may put additional stress on employees.

At WEnd Consulting, we help organizations throughout the entire implementation process.

We know selecting and implementing new technology solutions is daunting and complex.  Our team of professionals has worked in the industry for decades.  We’re prepared to help your organization from the first stages of deciding whether or not you need a solution all the way to launching it with your teams.  If you haven’t evaluated your systems for a couple of years, now is the time to see if new software can be the best route to achieving your goals.  Give us a call today to learn more about how WEnd Consulting can help.