You’ve done your homework, vetted possible partners and solutions, and finally made the difficult choice to move your operation to a new business management software solution. Congratulations on the progress you have made so far!
However, the excitement and internal energy created at a company at the apex of implementing a new software package can be quickly overwhelmed by disillusionment and frustration for the organization that is not properly prepared for what will be a substantial business disruption.
As a business owner, this is surely something that you’ve come to recognize – there is a substantial amount of work ahead that will test your leadership, your implementation team, and almost every aspect of your operation.
Effectively transitioning to new business management software is never going to be seamless and will come with struggles that will vary from company to company and implementation to implementation. But there are important ways you can prepare your organization for the tasks ahead to ensure that you and your people are managing the process, meeting goals, and not losing their minds along the way.
First, recognize the power of top-down commitment to the change and the benefits to the organization. As the owner, you are going to be the perceived leader of the software implementation.
Therefore, it is critical that you champion the process from top to bottom. Managers and associates will respond positively or negatively to the implementation directive and internal leadership driving it if you yourself stay genuinely engaged, enthusiastic, and supportive.
Right Plan, Right Team, Right Mindset
While battle plans often change once the shooting starts, there’s no understating the importance of having a well-developed implementation plan established as the implementation team prepares to move forward.
Details on the technical implementation, the sunset of the old system, training programs for the teams, and going in with a full understanding of the impact on existing software users are some of the key benchmarks of a solid plan.
This plan-building tip from a software authority is particularly compelling. New software will almost undoubtedly mean that certain workflows and processes will change. While many of these changes may be welcome ones, depending on how broken or tedious your current processes are, there will be others that may be met with resistance. Laying out exactly what will change, and how it will change, will help your team members feel more comfortable and prepared for the new software rollout when it occurs. For each new workflow, define the benefits that the new technology will offer, the steps that must be in place for a successful adoption, and any changes in responsibility that team members may have.
On execution, locking in the right team of managers to deliver on the plan is also important of course, as is getting them all on board and locked into the process. It’s important that your implementation leads understand the value of the new software, and that they have a clear idea of the benefits they and the employees will enjoy after making the switch. The implementation team will need all this information to stay focused on the process, and to communicate and emphasize key points to team members ahead of the game.
Have Clear Communication Throughout
After spending weeks and months on the software decision-making process, nobody understands the value and reasons for making the change better than you. It’s an important point to keep in mind – don’t assume that everyone has as clear of an understanding as you do.
To this end, having a communication plan in place ahead of transition, ensuring that all employees are kept up to date, is critical to a successful software transition. Be prepared to explain the strategy and benefits up front. People respond better when they understand the rationale for doing what needs to be done.
Also, even if you’ve already discussed why you’re implementing new software, establish a clear set of business objectives to get your whole team fully on board. Share this strategic vision with your team early before the rollout process begins.
There Will Be Bumps in the Road
Resistance is a normal factor in any substantive change in business, with something as systemic to the operation as software. Some people are natural resisters, and there will always be issues when it comes to migrating data, implementing processes, and everything else. Seek to reduce friction, but don’t get pulled under by its existence – keep moving forward.
Software implementation is never going to be completely seamless. But having a solid plan, a good team in place, and the right mindset should go a long way toward ensuring your investment of capital and time provide the anticipated return to your operation.
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