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What Does a Smooth Software Implementation Look Like?

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Implementing new software, especially at the enterprise or organizational level, can be daunting. Ensuring a smooth transition to the new software from start to finish is of the utmost importance. So what does a smooth software implementation look like? Basically, it is well-planned, well-executed, and well-maintained. It is a process that involves the successful integration of a new software system into a business or organization, with minimal disruption to operations and maximum benefits to the organization. 

Being in software, we have done our share of implementations and have learned a few tricks and tips along the way. Here are our keys to a smooth software implementation.

Key Elements of a Smooth Software Implementation:

  1. Clear Goals and Objectives: Before implementing a new software system, it is important to have a clear understanding of the goals and objectives of the project. This includes identifying the specific problems that the software is intended to solve, as well as the expected benefits and outcomes. This should be done as an internal team while evaluating software providers and also with the software implementation team. Both parties should have a clear understanding of what they hope to achieve.  Usually, there is a meeting between your organization and the software company to determine goals. 
  2. Thorough Planning: A smooth software implementation requires thorough planning and preparation. This includes a detailed analysis of the current system, the identification of potential risks and issues, addressing data transfer items, testing the software, and the development of a comprehensive project plan. Do not wait until you have selected a new software provider to start cleaning your data. Clean data will speed up the entire data transition process immensely and cause fewer headaches down the road. A good implementation team will ensure the scope of the project is laid out with clear target dates for both parties to move toward. You should receive a complete project plan from your implementation team once all goals, objectives, and any other analysis are completed. 
  3. Strong Communication and Collaboration: Effective communication and collaboration are essential for a successful software implementation. This includes regular communication with all internal stakeholders, including employees, managers, and vendors, as well as clear and consistent communication throughout the implementation process. Your internal team needs to be looped in at each new stage of your implementation project plan. Some of the smoothest implementations also have useful emails with tools and information regarding each stage of your software implementation. (Some implementation teams will even provide pre-written emails for you to send to your team!) You should also be given a main point of contact (or project lead) within your software implementation team. Implementation will require your active participation and a significant time commitment in order to achieve your goals. Be sure to accurately allocate resources to get the most out of your participation in the process. Your organization’s participation will ensure you get the most out of the software investment and what it is designed to do. 
  4. Training and Support: Comprehensive training and support for all users is a must to ensure they are able to effectively use the new system. This includes training materials, hands-on training, and ongoing support to help users adapt to the new system. A good implementation team will not only walk you through this training but introduce you to the customer support team and your account manager. These two entities are important bridges to the next steps after your implementation is complete.
  5. Addresses Change Management: Anytime new software is implemented in an organization, there will be a lot of change from the old to the new system. There is usually some pushback in organizations about having to learn new software. This is where change management processes and best practices come into play. A healthy implementation will guide you through those processes and train your organization in the best practices for a smooth transition. They will also provide tools to create an atmosphere of excitement around the new system. This is an often overlooked, but crucial step in the overall user experience of the new software system. Getting your team on board and feeling comfortable with the new software is vital to the success of your purchase. 
  6. Ongoing Maintenance and Improvement: Software implementation, although only happens one time, is a bit of an ongoing process. Regular monitoring and maintenance of the system, as well as ongoing improvements, ensure that the system continues to meet the needs of the organization. Some organizations will add on additional services beyond implementation like Managed Services to help their organization with the day-to-day tasks of the software and configurations. This is a useful service that ensures the system is fully optimized for the organization while allocating internal personnel elsewhere.

In conclusion, a smooth software implementation is one that is well-planned, well-executed, and well-maintained. By following these key elements, organizations can rest easy knowing that their software implementation was a success and that their software investment is fully utilized for the betterment of their organization.

Six Key Elements of a Smooth Software Implementation

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