New software is an exciting result of app development, but implementing new software can present a number of different pain points, which is why software implementation planning is such an important thing to do. When organizations choose to use new software, the implementation process is never quite as easy as simply installing something new and removing old, unused software.
Successful software implementation requires a robust and thorough software implementation plan. In this post, we will go over some of the steps that your organization can take in order to ensure the implementation process is ultimately successful and some common challenges that can arise during implementation.
Before you begin implementing new software, you need to appoint an implementation team to handle project management. These team members will help keep the rest of your employees updated with progress, encourage employees to ask questions about and interact with the new software, and help supervise the entire implementation process.
Steps to a Successful Software Implementation
The implementation steps we’re about to review are meant to simplify the implementation process and relieve pain points, but you can also use these ideas to help you choose a new system or software for your organization as well.
While the concept of implementing new software might seem simple on the surface, it is not as easy as downloading a mobile app on your phone. Truly contemplating the following steps will make the implementation process as painless as possible, but even the most thoroughly planned implementations come across pain points.
The following steps can help ease common pain points and reduce the stress of implementing new software:
- Review procedures and processes
- Understand your IT infrastructure
- Review which software will be retained
- Determine roles and security levels
- Prepare your data
Review Procedures and Processes
This is a great place to start, whether you are choosing a new software or implementing new software. You need to make sure that your new software is aligned with your processes and procedures. In some industries, there will be strict reporting requirements that need to be met for compliance laws, but all organizations rely on solid reporting to make strategic decisions.
At this stage, you should be analyzing your processes and procedures to make sure that alignment with your new software is adequately handled during implementation. A basic point that you should be considering is the types of dashboards you will need for certain users and departments.
Additionally, there are likely custom configurations that you will need to set up, and the easiest time to do this is during implementation. Take the time to fully review all of your processes and procedures. Everything that is vital needs to be accounted for during the implementation process. Anything that you find is unnecessary can be removed when you have the new software in place.
Understand Your IT Infrastructure
Your basic tech infrastructure is something that will play a very important role in the implementation and the future performance of your new software. For example, let’s say that you are implementing a new cloud-based software. Is your Internet connection secure and stable?
This might seem like a silly concern, but when you are using a cloud-based system, your Internet connection is of paramount importance. Without a solid, secure Internet connection, you won’t be able to use your new software.
On the other hand, if you are using an on-premises system, you need to make sure that you are constantly creating backups and using other redundancy features in order to ensure that there is no downtime in the case of an emergency, natural disaster, etc.
You need to understand the technology infrastructure your new software will be a part of after implementation. This will ease the implementation process and ensure that you are prepared in the event things don’t go as planned.
Review Which Software Will Be Retained
Typically, when new software is implemented, it is part of a greater whole. If your organization is not retaining any of your old software, then this step is not important to you. However, in most cases, a fair amount of software will be retained after implementation.
There are a couple of considerations that you need to account for. First, will your new software integrate with your existing software? If your new software is not able to integrate or even communicate with your existing software, have you planned for how your teams will proceed?
Hopefully, your new software will integrate with your existing software. During the implementation process, you need to plan for all integrations with existing software and systems to take place too. Failing to properly integrate your new software will only cause additional pain points for your teams when they try to do their jobs.
Determine Roles and Security Levels
The implementation process is a good time to review and clearly define each user’s role and security level within your organization’s software. The product design of your new software should give you the ability to set different roles and security levels for each user. This can be applied on an individual or team basis.
It might make sense for a complete team, like your web development team, for example, to have access to one dashboard and set of files but not have access to another dashboard like sales and marketing. Setting different permissions based on role and team helps keep your information and software secure.
In large organizations, reviewing roles and security levels is a time-consuming process. The implementation process offers a good opportunity to perform this task. There will never be a better time to thoroughly review this data than during implementation since these things will need to be set as part of the process.
Prepare Your Data
One final thing to consider before the implementation process begins is your data. Let’s imagine implementing new software or a new system is a lot like moving into a new house. When you move, you organize all of your stuff, kitchen utensils go together, clothes, books, bath towels, etc. Everything is organized in a logical manner.
When you’re moving, you also find things that you no longer need or want. What do you do with those things? You throw them away. You declutter. The implementation process is like a move and thus offers your organization the ability to ensure your data is organized and decluttered.
Common Implementation Challenges
There are a number of things that could present a challenge during implementation. We won’t go over every possible pain point that can arise during implementation, but we will touch on a few of the common challenges that can arise.
Common implementation challenges include:
- Hardware compatibility
- Employee training
- Scope creep
This pain point can be especially difficult to deal with because the solution either requires new hardware or custom software development. Many organizations check to make sure that new software will integrate with their current software, but it is easy to overlook your hardware.
If the new system you choose is not compatible with your computing platforms, it will likely cost the organization a lot of money. While backward compatibility might be an easy pain point to plan for, you need to consider forward compatibility as well. Will your new software be compatible with future advancements?
Adequate employee training should be one of the largest concerns during any software implementation process. Software adoption can already be challenging for employees who are set in their ways. Convincing and educating your teams that the new software you are implementing is the right tool for the job can be a pain point.
Inadequately trained employees might get frustrated with new software and be even more resistant to implementation. If you’re starting the implementation process, make sure you invest time in your employees and make sure that everyone who will be using the new software understands why it is an improvement.
This term refers to changes, continuous or uncontrolled growth in the scope of a project after it has already begun. During the software implementation process, scope creep can happen all too easily.
The main reason scope creep happens is because we can get obsessed with the idea of perfection. As more time passes, new requests are made, and the scope of a project expands out of control, the organization loses money, and the implementation never gets accomplished or takes far longer than it should to accomplish.
From HiTech apps all the way to simple software, very rarely is something perfect the first time, and that is okay. Technology and software are feedback-driven things. Weaknesses and problems are defined by use, and corrections get made accordingly.
Don’t focus on perfection when implementing new software. Make sure the implementation gets done right, and then focus on resolving issues as they present themselves.
Implementing new software is often exciting for an organization. However, you need to stay focused to ensure that the implementation process is completed without any major issues. It can be challenging to manage a task of this magnitude on your own.
If you think you need help, reach out to an app development partner. They can use their industry experience and technical expertise to help you choose the right software solution for your business and guide you through the entire implementation process.