It can get difficult to implement a new software solution in your workplace. Not everyone likes change, even if it’s for the better. According to a McKinsey research, “software projects run the highest risks of cost and schedule overruns.”
You might be thinking, “why go through all this trouble at all?" For one thing, these large implementation projects can bring many benefits. Who’s going to say no to increased productivity, efficient business processes, and more profit in the long run?
To avoid the risks of implementing new technology, you need a solid game plan.
Software implementation & its importance
The first question that comes to mind is, “What is software implementation?” It’s the process of integrating a new feature or software into existing organizational infrastructure. Before incorporating a new process, key factors like demand, financial costs, purpose, and profits should be considered.
This will take time, but the outcome is worthwhile. Executing a successful implementation means being up-to-date with the latest tech. No more lagging or delays! This ramps up employee productivity and leads to a better customer experience. With new tech being developed quickly, it’s beneficial to be the new kid on the block with his shiny toys (or tools).
But it doesn’t always pan out accordingly. You’re bound to hit some snags.
Top challenges faced in software implementation
Integrating a new system to replace an archaic one isn’t as easy. In 2019, ASOS, a British retailer, lost about 25 million dollars because of an implementation malfunction with their automated warehouse system. This meant they had to do a complete overhaul to resolve their inventory issues.
There are multiple examples of such failures, but what do they have in common?
Challenge #1: Misalignment with internal & external teams
Maintaining timelines is crucial in any project, however, with various stakeholders, it gets challenging to coordinate all the teams. In this case, “communication is key”.
The vendor and internal project team must also make their expectations known from the get-go. Otherwise, there can be clashes within the team at any phase of the project.
Challenge #2: Mismanagement of data
Data runs everything in this ever-evolving world. So, it’s safe to say, data will play an important part in your software implementation roll-out.
A modern system would require all your data to be in a single accessible database. Most legacy systems, however, have their data stored in multiple silos. This can cause a few things to go wrong:
- Data isn’t cleaned properly because of rushed timelines.
- Huge quantities of data don’t necessarily translate to useful data.
- The inefficiencies are transferred to the new system.
Without paying attention to data integrity & quality, you can kiss your implementation goodbye!
Challenge #3: Insufficient training materials & tools
It spells disaster if your team isn’t prepared for the new software roll-out. Often organizations focus too much on the features or benefits, and the human aspect of it is overlooked.
A lack of technology training for employees can stall the project. Ultimately leading to huge losses in the long run. Develop clear guidelines and documentation to introduce the product — and take advantage of software solutions that integrate it into your current system and train your team.
Challenge #4: Diminishing productivity
It’s highly unlikely that an organization becomes comfortable using a new system immediately after integration. Some employees resist the change, while others struggle to master the beast.
This reduces employee morale in the workplace, which affects the productivity and ROI related to the software. It ends up creating an opposing vision of what a successful software implementation looks like.
Challenge #5: Inadequate vendor support
The vendor is your organization’s key player when it comes to implementation. Without their knowledge and expertise, it’s challenging to be on top of any issues that may arise.
Your vendor shouldn't pull a disappearing act just because the project is wrapped up. There should be a post-implementation service provided as well.
Regardless of the implementation challenges one has to face, you can easily steer your failure into success with the right tools.
5 Foolproof strategies to overcome software implementation challenges
Figuring out where you went wrong can point you in the right direction. The National Grid Company in New York did something similar when they pushed their deadlines for a SAP ERP project. They faced issues with financial reporting, invoicing along with inventory & supply change management.
Later on, they opted to invest in a recovery project that brought them back to the playing field. However, they weren't able to cover all their losses.
To prevent such disasters, here’s how you can avoid any implementation issues.
1. Communicate loud & clear
Understanding and prioritizing what information should be accessible to each party is essential. Moreover, each team’s responsibilities and expectations should be communicated even before starting the project.
This way, you can identify what is non-negotiable and where you can get a bit of leeway.
Of course, each team member should have appointed leaders who are responsible for maintaining the timelines. Without such transparency, creating a cohesive working experience may be difficult.
Mapping out the project timeline is quite important as well. Take time, budget, and resources into account before doing so. Once you have an idea of your ideal integration plan, go ahead and share the process with your teams.
Using Scribe for process documentation can save you tons of time and increase efficiency among the teams.
Scribe is a step-by-step guide generator that documents your workflow by following along as you go. Simply turn on the extension and run through your new tools processes and features. In seconds, Scribe creates written instructions with annotated screenshots — without you having to lift a finger.
Turn even the most complicated tools into user-friendly solutions. Here's a Scribe that walks through how to use Zendesk.
2. Maintain data integrity
With various data silos, getting lost in a sea of numbers can be easy. Having a dedicated internal or external team to keep an eye on the transfer of data is crucial. If the data isn’t ensured a secure pathway, there’s a security risk.
You don’t want to be a victim of a hack, do you? Even if you have high-quality data, it’s essential that it’s up to date and collected properly. Otherwise, you’re just wasting time and effort in moving inefficiencies from one system to another.
Using Google sheets can be an excellent way to avoid any major discrepancies. This can enable the project team to visualize how the data fits into the new system. Here's a Scribe Page that walks you through that process.
And with Scribe's newest feature, Pages, you can combine Scribes with video, images and more. Here's a Scribe Page that takes Zendesk onboarding to the next level.
3. Ensure proper training guidelines
Learning how to operate a new software can seem like a second job at times. Often, employees are reluctant to change what already works. In that case, showcase how it can be beneficial for their work-life.
Setting time aside for technical training and bringing in specialists for sessions can be beneficial. However, this can’t be a one-off thing. It has to be a continuous process until employees are comfortable using the software in their daily work.
Before the implementation, there should be a set onboarding strategy. Otherwise, it’ll be difficult to cohesively incorporate a new software system in the workplace.
4. Boost employee efficiency
Incorporating new technology in an archaic system has proved to increase employee productivity in the long run. But it can also disrupt the existing workflow.
That's why you’ve got to ensure employees don't feel like they’re working extra. This ties in with training the employees, however, it must be more hands-on.
Reducing time spent on learning and ensuring they can finish their work is key. Scribing the process will make it way easier for anyone to follow your lead.
5. Make your vendor your friend
Having a strong partnership with your vendor even after the implementation is important. They are well-equipped with all the details relevant to the new software system.
After the initial implementation, there can be tons of questions and feedback. It can be difficult for the IT team to field all the queries. Regardless of a process improvement in IT, having an extra set of hands will be really helpful.
In that case, have your customer representative on speed-dial.
Now that you’re all set with what to do, why wait? Get your plan together and roll out the big red carpet for better processes.
Start planning out your software implementation strategy right away!
It’s hard to pinpoint what the difficulty with software implementation is. It just has so much to offer to any workplace. And who doesn’t like to get their work done faster?
But there can be various other obstacles when going through such integration. Some you’re unable to anticipate before getting started.
Without wasting any time, jump on the Scribe bandwagon today. It automatically helps reduce time spent on any process, making it easier to do any task without jumping on another call. Get the extension running and ensure a smoother transition for your entire team.