How to Successfully Implement New Software in Your Business
Most businesses adopt new technology to boost their profitability and growth. Technology such as new enterprise software can revolutionize how a business operates, increase operational efficiency, boost engagement and even productivity.
However, this is only possible when a business follows the right software implementation process. Without an implementation plan, businesses risk under-delivering on end-user expectations, running over budget, and introducing ineffective methods of working. This could harm your Return on Investment (ROI), and your organization will miss out on the benefits of new software.
Nearly 63% of CRM installations fail because of poor implementation strategies, which emphasizes the necessity of a smooth transition towards the adoption of new business software.
With that said, here are several steps you can follow for the successful implementation of new software in your organization.
Best Practices for Implementing New Software Within a Business
Select the Right Supplier
Before directing your focus towards the implementation process, you must first find an appropriate software supplier.
While most software can have the same design, keep in mind each supplier is different. So, if you want to get the most out of your purchase, consult a team that has an in-depth understanding of the system. Work with individuals who know the ins and outs of the software to discover hidden benefits and the best way to use it.
When looking for a supplier, business owners must be ready to spend time and resources to get the most out of their investments. They can achieve this through best practice webinars, Project Management, training, and other customer support methods.
It’s no secret! Most of the time, software implementation is no simple process. Nevertheless, when you’ve selected the right supplier, rest assured you will receive help and support when any issue arises.
Speak with customers and read testimonials to understand the team that will work with your business.
Get Staff Support and Executive In-Buy
The success of software implementation in your business depends not only on the supplier but also on project management. Don’t overlook the importance of staff support and executive buy-in.
Lack of executives and other stakeholders’ buy-in is a common stumbling block for software implementation within businesses. Therefore, you must rally your executive team early.
If you want a smooth implementation process, establish realistic expectations and mention the stages that might cause delays. Ensure your team and stakeholders understand the implementation process. Also, make sure they can see the value of the new software for the business.
Your staff should understand how the new software will affect their day-to-day activities and what benefits it brings to their departments and the enterprise at large. From the start of the process, encourage knowledge-sharing with your staff to improve internal communication and increase their interest in the software and the changes it will bring.
For successful implementation, the software must help your business achieve its primary and secondary goals. Working with your team is the best way to make sure the new software and implementation strategy truly meet the needs of your organization.
Choose Internal Champion
Most business owners forget that implementation entails more than just setting up a system. It also involves getting your team on board. It’s a good idea to nominate an internal champion who can oversee the entire implementation process.
The individual will supervise the process and manage the communication. Also, the champion will help and train the staff to use and roll out the new software. As such, it’s wise to select a person knowledgeable about the software. The individual must also be comfortable training the implementation team.
The selected champion should possess the ability to drive the software implementation and identify other champions across the team to ensure a successful rollout.
Having an internal champion is the best way to boost the likelihood of smooth software implementation since it means that the individual receives all the information. Therefore, he or she can be the trusted implementation consultant for your business. Also, this minimizes the risk of fragmented operation and miscommunication.
An internal champion promotes simplified and cohesive implementation while reducing errors and risks. They can also act as the point of contact between your business and software supplier.
Invest Sufficient Time in Planning
It’s wise to enter the implementation phase after identifying the objectives and outcomes you wish to achieve.
- What do you want to get out of the software?
- What do you want to achieve post-implementation?
- How will the software improve collaboration between departments and employees?
- How will it improve process complexity and boost efficiency?
Consider these questions and create quantifiable metrics for each before the implementation process.
Yes! The adoption of new software will make things easier for your business than they are currently. However, this is just at the user level. You must have a bigger picture to prevent complications in the future. Rather than focusing on the shiny stuff, invest your time in the process entirely.
You must define which process you want to automate and what you desire to achieve with that change. As a business owner, you must have a defined purpose and quantifiable objectives.
Implementation planning will help you identify your long-term business goals and map as well as test the process. Eventually, you will tie the whole thing together within a unified core.
However, successful implementation will only occur when you define which process you want to automate and what you desire to achieve with that change.
Include IT Team
If your business has an IT department, consider involving them in the early stage of the process. This is a vital element in the success of the new software implementation. Keep the board informed of all the steps you’ve taken.
One reason it’s wise to involve the IT department is to prevent a data breach. So, make sure your champion collects sufficient information on the security features of the new software.
This step involves identifying the various challenges faced by the various departments within your organization. Then determining whether the new software will help solve these problems.
Usually, organizations issue an RFQ (Request for Quote) or RFP (Request for Proposal), where the supplier confirms that software features. This will help you compare various suppliers and select the best.
Also, you can present the vendor with the challenge your business is facing to determine if the software can handle it. As a result, you will better understand the functioning of the software and how it can meet your business needs.
Design Implementation Plan
It’s crucial to design a step-by-step plan for software implementation and integration. Ensure you’ve captured every detail of the process in the plan. Ask questions about organization workflows, best practices, and rules for the process.
Select the individuals who will use the software and for what role. Next, test out the new software within specific departments in the business before fully rolling it out across the entire organization. As a result, you can promote a smooth adoption process.
Maintain open communication between you and the software vendor. This way, both sides will know what’s expected of each other. Also, if any problem occurs, it can get fixed immediately. In addition, open communication is the best way for your organization to meet its primary and secondary goals.
Collaboration between your business and supplier needs to start on day one to make sure you’re both well-prepared for a successful launch.
Configure the System
Install the software and configure features that can be used immediately. Identify the software modules and functionality that match your business needs. Also, identify those features that can’t be configured so you can adjust your business process to match the software and its efficiencies.
Work with your team to identify what software aspects don’t work with your business operation. Then customize them to your business environment, operations and needs.
Allocate enough time for system configuration and customization. Nevertheless, only customize tools and processes that benefit your business.
Integrate the System
Software integration is another crucial element of the implementation process. Here, you have to move vital business data to the new software. Proper integration will promote seamless migration of content to the new system. This way, you will save the team lots of time and effort from manually copying the data between systems.
You can run the integrations in real-time or behind the scenes. If your business depends on updated data, consider continuous real-time integrations. Otherwise, run integrations behind the scenes (outside of normal business hours).
Run Internal PR Campaign
Most businesses adopt new software to boost efficiency and increase employees’ productivity. Therefore, the staff must understand the value of the software in relation to their specific jobs.
You need to show the relevance of the new system to each individual and department within your business. Also, help them understand how using the new software will significantly improve their workflow.
Once the implementation is live, inform all executives and other stakeholders of the business. This also presents you with the opportunity to acknowledge all the individuals who played a part in the software’s rollout.
Announcing the launch of the software presents you with the chance to showcase to the team and executives what the new technology can do for the business and how it can help them achieve the overall business goals.
If you can prove the value of the new software to the business. The implementation process will receive additional interest, buy-ins, and support.
Training and Support
Training and support are essential for successful software implementation. A good software provider will have a knowledge base of support materials to help you train your team. So, it’s wise to check if your vendor offers training programs, video tutorials, etc.
Even if your team has already been exposed to the same type of software before, it’s wise to hold regular training sessions and seminars. These will promote smooth software implementation and ensure progress is on track.
Use online material, tutorial videos, and other valuable training materials you can get your hands on to support seamless software rollout. Hold events to encourage dialogue and demonstrate how the new software will improve the employee’s day-to-day life at work. During the events, allow employees to ask and answer questions. Additionally, find creative and effective ways to include the new software into your offline routine.
Keep in mind, training, and support is an ongoing process done throughout the implementation process, also, after the adoption of the new software.
It’s a good idea to reward the implementation team, considering the time and effort they’ve dedicated towards the process. Offer them bonuses or gift cards as a way of appreciating them.
Don’t forget the rest of the employees. Rewards will increase their productivity and motivate them to use the new software to help the company attain its goals. Rewards also encourage engagement and participation, especially when handling less creative tasks.
Regularly Track and Evaluate the Software
Track the performance of the software to determine whether the implementation has achieved the expected results, like increased efficiency and productivity.
Measure the new system performance by checking how many orders it can process in a day, the costs it has helped you save, and so on. Consult your employees to know what improvements or challenges they’ve experienced after adopting the new software.
The information you collect will help you establish whether the new software has brought value to your business and if the implementation process was a success.
Implementation of new software is a gradual process that takes lots of time, effort, and patience. If you want a successful process, ensure you place the needs of the end-users first (employees). Also, don’t forget to invest time in planning the implementation and conducting training.
We hope these steps will help you through new software implementation within your business, so you can experience increased ROI, efficiency, and productivity.
Thank you for reading our piece, and best of luck!