Making the decision of which software to purchase is really the easy part. It’s what follows that needs additional thought, focus and effort.
Don’t forget the implementation process
The implementation is what happens after selecting the software. It’s crucial to the success of your company and the expectations you set for the rest of your team. It involves your training, (possible) data migration and the entire roll out strategy for your company. Without careful planning and groundwork you won’t get the buy in needed to truly love and get the best from your new system.
Assemble the right team!
Preparation is the key here. Your chosen software provider should have the best team in place to help you through the implementation, but without your own A Team in place you are limiting your success. Designate your own internal Project Manager. Make sure it’s someone that can devote the time needed, not someone that has multiple other projects to juggle and manage at the same time. Review upcoming personal holiday or maternity leave that could have an impact on the timeline. Assemble a team you know will be a champion for the system and motivate and encourage the rest of the company during the change.
Measuring your progress is vital
How do you keep everyone on track? If you aren’t getting them from your provider, ask for regular updates. Key tasks and milestones will be set for you and the team you are working with, and it’s important that both sides meet their goals.
Understanding the migration process
Moving your existing data to the new software isn’t always the right decision. Rubbish in one system is just rubbish in the next. Sometimes a fresh start is a good idea. Hand keying your key records can help with the training your team needs, and make sure you only bring over the quality information. However, a migration isn’t as simple as a copy and paste of data from one source to another. So if you do decide to move forward, be sure you understand what is and what isn’t possible. Don’t assume every last piece of information can be migrated to the new system. Be present in any mapping or translation discussions, and ask lots of questions along the way.
What are your training objectives?
Have you thought about how you are going to train your team? Do you have trainers already in place ready to learn? The right approach for you can depend on the size of your organization. Less than 5 users, you can no doubt have them all trained online and ready to go in a few weeks. A large organisation with multiple branches or lines of business and it would make more sense to train several key people who in turn will train the rest of your staff. Just make sure you discuss this beforehand to know how to approach your training in the most time and cost effective way.
Finally, consider the time factor…
Although this should be easy, sometimes coming up with a timeline can be difficult. In an ideal world, you can be up and running on a new software with a click of your fingers…. but it’s an unrealistic expectation. To implement successfully, consider all of your users’ needs. Consider how long it will take them not only to learn the new software, but adapt to the change. Rushing it can cause stress and panic, while taking too long can mean training is wasted and needs to be redone. It’s a fine line between the two that is needed.