When implementing new software at a company, you want to ensure that the implementation is going to be successful and that the transition will go smoothly. The last thing team members want to be dealing with is obstacles when it comes to learning and understanding new software. Here, we offer seven ways to ensure that the software implementation process goes off without a hitch.
Having a plan for successful software implementation is the most important step. You want to know right from the start what processes the software will help with and what it will take to implement it. Will new security measures need to be put in place? Will team members need to be trained on how to use the software? This phase helps you think through the implementation process before launching anything. Planning ahead will always make for a smoother implementation.
Companies use process design to figure out how to run their businesses. Most of the software you will purchase will have a process design already built in, especially if it’s for sales or other day-to-day things. If you’re not sure how to implement process design, you can hire a design analyst or work with a specialized web development company like Santex to figure it out. You want to have good processes in place before implementing the software so that you can stay on top of any issues that may arise and have methods in place for troubleshooting any problems that might come up after implementation.
After you’ve created the process design, it’s time to come up with the solution design, which is essentially the roadmap of business requirements and processes. During this step, you will map the software to your business requirements so that everything is working in tandem. It’s key to remember that these initial requirements are just a starting point. As you learn the software, you may find that other methods work better and you can then implement those.
The ultimate goal of solution design is to figure out which aspects of the software you can use as they are and which aspects you will need to customize to fit the needs of your business and your team members.
Configuration and Customization
During the configuration step of software implementation, you’ll spend time installing the software and configuring the capabilities the software has right out of the box. This step really needs to come first, before any processes are defined and any customization is done. What you’ll find during the configuration process is that some aspects of the software will easily meet your company’s needs out of the box, while other aspects will need to be configured and connected to the roadmap you designed previously. Once you’ve done the out of the box configuration, you’ll be able to do custom configurations and customize the software.
During the customization phase of software implementation, you’ll be able to create solutions that meet your specific business needs. During the customization phase, you can add new fields, new screens, and new processes that weren’t initially part of the software. Customization of software is very useful when it comes to the financial aspects of your business. For example, you may want to set specific pricing for your customers. Customizing the software allows you to do this. Keep in mind that you should only customize processes that make sense for your business. Don’t just customize for the sake of customizing.
Integration is an important step in the software implementation process and involves migrating data from one system to another in order to meet the processes outlined in the system design. By having integrated software systems, you can avoid having to manually enter the data from one system into another system. Avoiding this redundancy increases the accuracy and completeness of the data you’re logging.
When working on integration, the timing is key. An important question to ask is whether you will need to run the integrations in real time or if they can be run behind the scenes, outside of normal business hours. Ideally, you should be able to run them behind the scenes so that the usual workflow isn’t interrupted by systems going down.
During the reporting phase of the software implementation, time should be spent figuring out what information your business will need to make tactical and practical decisions. You want all reports created to provide useful information to the person requesting those reports. It’s important to have a format for reporting so that there’s no confusion when someone requests a report. When creating reports, users need to be very specific about what data they want included. For example, creating an Excel spreadsheet, even with mock numbers, can help bridge the gap of understanding between those producing the report and those reading the report.
Training and Testing
When it comes to successful software implementation, training and testing are two important components.
Training can come in different forms, from training the project team to training the end user on how the software works. When implementing a new software, it’s important to offer training, even if people might have used to software at another company. Software gets updated often and aspects change. By staying up to date, a company can have a successful and smooth software implementation. Training shouldn’t be a one and done thing, either. Whether there is training on software or other business components, it should be ongoing and based on the company’s needs at the time.
The final step in successful software implementation is testing. There are four different types of testing: unit, project team, integration, and end user. Each of these should be done at various stages of the software implementation process to ensure that things are running smoothly and that the entire team has been properly trained on how to use the software.
As with training, testing is an ongoing process that should be done throughout the software implementation process, and when the team has been using the software for a while.
When implementing software, it’s important to follow these steps in order for your company to be successful. Once you have a method for implementing software in place, it’s easy to apply that method to other software installs.
When it comes to successfully implementing new software, Santex can be a great support. Not only can we assist with engineering and consulting, we also provide a level of general support. Be sure to check out our newest e-book, Best Practices for Software Outsourcing, for even more information about software development and software outsourcing.