Software Implementation Overview: Why It’s Important
An essential step in business process improvement is the successful implementation of new software. Once you’ve evaluated your business requirements and software options and decided what to buy, you face a critical step in your improvement initiative. You have identified the main pain points / issues in your business that need to be addressed with your new software tools so now you must methodically plan and implement these new tools to meet your business requirements.
Communicate and manage steps
Begin by letting your entire organization see what is required to complete a successful implementation, especially if those directly affected by the new technology tools. Communicate and publicize your program through all means possible – email blasts, intranet site publications, company newsletter article, and so on. Focus your early efforts on building a successful project launch and a more formal Kickoff Meeting.
Select a Project Manager who can manage the scope, schedule, quality and budget. This person must also have the tenacity to raise the flag to someone higher in the organization when they need help getting or keeping the project on track.
The actual installation will need discussions and decisions that pertain to software configuration and data integration. You may need to consider customizations or process changes; both can add challenges to any project.
Testing and training
Two vital implementation steps are testing and training. Test. Test. Test. And then test again. Use testing scripts that address every possible situation and train your users on those aspects for which they’re responsible. This can be done on a user-by-user basis, training the trainer, and/or in group sessions, with computers in front of each participant.
Have your newly trained users test the software from beginning to end. Here are some considerations:
- Are the interfaces working as expected?
- Can I place an order?
- Can I invoice?
- Can I close the month?
- Do I have all the reports I need for the company and my customers?
Testing is fun because you never really know what users are going to do or what new and unexpected results will manifest themselves.
Once you’ve resolved your user testing issues, it’s time for launch. Give access to everyone who needs it and discover the results, such as this company’s success story: Go Live. Keep everything in perspective. Stay calm, fix any problems and move forward. When you get to the point where your team embraces these tools, call it a success and go celebrate!