Anyone who has undergone multiple enterprise software implementations can probably tell horror stories about failed deployments. Some software implementations end up taking months, or even years, longer than planned. Other implementations never even get off the ground because there was not a plan around how to properly implement the new software after purchase.
Furthermore, if your software users are poorly trained or face usability difficulties, your software implementation efforts will end up being a waste of both time and money. Ultimately, users want software that makes their jobs easier – not more challenging!
Below are four key ways to avoid a poor software implementation:
- Develop a clear plan for deployment. I’ll go out on a limb and say having a detailed and clear plan is the most important point of this entire blog post. Without a plan, it’s easy to let things slide as the day-to-day minutia of work gets in the way. Before beginning the process, lay out a specific timeline for deployment. Be sure to mark important milestones with specific due dates. Understand the milestones and metrics that will be the key indicators of success along the way. You’ll want to look back at the plan and have a method to determine success.
- Clearly communicate the plan to all team members. To go a step further, ask for feedback on your deployment plan from all members of the team. Allowing team members to contribute to the structure and timing of the plan will give all a sense of ownership and make them more likely to invest in the success of the plan.
- Don’t move the goal posts. To apply a sports phrase, don’t whimsically change the goals along the way when it’s not absolutely necessary. The plan was carefully constructed with specific goals and milestones for a reason, and if you followed #2 above, the team agreed to invest in this plan. While you should remain reasonably adaptable to unforeseen obstacles, it’s important to remain focused on the original priorities spelled out by the team.
- Continue to track ongoing metrics for success. While the above three points pertaining to initial deployment are essential, it’s also important to continue understanding and tracking your key success indicators and metrics on an ongoing basis. Don’t risk losing all of the momentum and buy-in you gained from a successful deployment by straying away from what got you there.
Beyond examining and selecting the best functionality tools to empower your team, you must make sure everyone understands both the plan and the key metrics that will go into the successful deployment and use of said tools. You wouldn’t buy a car for someone that doesn’t know how to drive and then just let the car sit in the driveway. Don’t make that same mistake with important software implementations.
Do you have any tips for successful software implementation? We would love to hear your thoughts! Comment below or tweet us @iasta.