To be successful implementing new software takes the right mindset. It may take the right software and it may take the right people, but it definitely takes the right mindset. It takes the right mindset on the part of business owners, upper management, and the people on the front lines doing the work and using the software.
What is the right mindset?
It’s knowing and accepting that the new software isn’t going to work like the old software. It’s being clear about the point of the new software. It’s about being patient and understanding that it will take time to reap all the benefits of the new software.
How do you get into this mindset?
Lots and lots of communication is a start. At the beginning, there needs to be a list of expectations and specific requirements that the new software will meet. There needs to be universal agreement on this list ahead of time by company management, software users, AND the people responsible for the implementation. There needs to be consistent status updates to everyone on the team. Especially in the beginning, there need to be consistent team meetings to make sure everyone is using the software the right way and also to give the implementers to address issues quickly as they arise. When problems arise early in the implementation, not having a quick response to those problems can derail a project as much as anything.
Many times new software is replacing software that has been a part of the company culture for years and years. Over time, users have learned to work around software deficiencies. With new software, there hasn’t yet been time to come up with work-arounds, or worse, people think they won’t need any work-arounds. This is generally not the case. With the new software, there will just be different and new work-arounds 🙂 The problem is that there hasn’t been time to come up with them yet. Because of this, it’s easy to get caught up in all the stuff that new software DOESN’T do.
I think the phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side” first arose during a software implementation.
Software is just the tool, and it’s really only part of the battle. Many, if not most things about the new software will be better than the old software. Some things, hopefully not too many, will not be as efficient based on a business’ current procedures.
The right mindset is the difference. The right mindset is usually the difference between success and failure. Make sure you’ve got it before embarking on something new.