When compared with on-premises software, cloud-based systems are typically faster and simpler to deploy.
But even the most straightforward of software plans should include aspects that manage change during the deployment. The changeover to new software can be difficult for users to take on board, so helping them through it, is vital.
Here’s a look at how you can incorporate change management in your new software implementation plans.
Ensure Stakeholder Involvement from the Start
The team driving the project will have spent months seeking out the right software, researching providers, and intricately planning the budgets, data migration and implementation timelines. They will have become heavily invested in its success. But you can’t expect that to be the case for other users.
When new software is implemented, it may feel to some like they have been side-lined. Perhaps they really like the current system and processes, or perhaps they are just resistant to change. If they see no reason for change, then it will be harder to motivate them about the new software. To manage change, you need to involve them in the planning and build up to the launch, so that you bring them along with you.
It’s vital to consult key stakeholders from across the business – even from the start of the project. If they can input into the design of the system, then you can be sure that it will deliver an excellent solution that meets their expectations and solves any existing issues.
Be Open to Configuration Changes
Any new software implementation comes with detailed plans that have been designed to meet carefully researched features requirements and in-depth process specifications.
Your team will have signed off on its well-prepared plan in advance. But when it comes to configuring the system, it may well be that better, alternative options arise. Your implementation partner may advise, for example, that it is faster or easier for a process to follow a different path. In short, there may be changes required – within the holistic change that is the conversion to a new system.
If your implementation team remains open-minded to changes, then these new tweaks can be deployed without too much interference with the overall plan.
Train Staff Prior to Implementation
User adoption is key to the success of your new software, so it’s critical to train your users before your system goes live.
They need to gain a thorough understanding of how to use the new system so that they are fully conversant with it in advance. This overcomes any employee resistance and minimises disruption, ensuring a smooth changeover when it comes to actually using the new software.
With such a big change – usually affecting the entire organisation where enterprise software is concerned – planning the training is important. If your business is large, then you may not be able to train everyone in advance. Instead, train your key users, and train others who can then cascade the learning within the company.
Ease the Transition with Communication and Feedback
Ensuring user-adoption of the new software across the company is vital if your investment is to see a positive return.
But a change in software often comes with a change in the way that staff carry out their day-to-day activities because there may be business process changes to deal with. And while those configuring the system will likely have redesigned these processes for improved efficiency, this still requires that staff change how they do things, which may be difficult for some to adjust to.
While in the adjustment phase, knock-on effects might cause unwanted impacts. This could result in unhappy customers, additional costs or delays. To counter the risk of these, the business should plan for a thorough communications process that incudes feedback from users.
It’s not enough to just communicate changes to users without discovering how they are finding the changes and whether they have any suggestions for improvements. Hopefully any issues will be mitigated by having included these stakeholders in the design and planning, but where details have been overlooked, these will need to be addressed in the implementation stage.
Make Use of Post-Implementation Support
After go-live, it’s still important to be aware of how you manage change and how it can help your company and staff to best adopt and capitalise on the new software system.
You might want to schedule in ongoing training so that competency levels are maintained.
Most implementation partners will provide other support, too, like a helpdesk or user documentation. Making the most of this support maintains user confidence in the new system and guarantees that any small issues are quickly ironed out.
Managing Change for New Software Implementation
A company that can embrace and manage change well is better placed for success. You can achieve good change management through strong user participation and engagement, which you can garner through great communication and training.
A project that has strong user commitment before implementation has a greater chance of continued backing from employees when it goes live.
NoBlue can assist and guide you through managing a software change. If you would like to consider changing to NetSuite ERP, contact us for a free consultation or quote.