Software Transformation is Not A Click Away

Organizations that prioritize a flexible digital infrastructure have demonstrated a twofold increase in earnings growth compared to those avoiding or postponing digital transformation efforts.

Despite the widespread anticipation that digital transformation would serve as both a short-term and long-term solution to the ever-evolving challenges of the market, the substantial costs associated with the failure of IT projects indicate that it’s not the universal remedy that many leaders had initially envisioned.

BCG’s estimates from late 2020 indicated that 70% of digital transformation projects fell short of achieving their intended objectives.

A 2020 report from the Consortium for Information & Software Quality revealed the collective cost of operational failures resulting from subpar software quality is estimated to be as high as $1.56 trillion.

The foundation of a successful software implementation plan commences with the definition of success for the project, the identification of the most significant risks to that success, and the recognition of the common elements found in successful projects. When a team can discern not only the desired outcome but also the potential obstacles that might hinder progress, they become better equipped to steer a struggling project back on course.

17% of large it projects go so badly; they threaten the very existence of the company.

Software Implementation Plan: 4 Critical Steps

Step One: Formulate Your Business Case

Irrespective of your company’s size, implementing new software should not be a casual decision. While smaller businesses may have more agility compared to their larger counterparts, any errors can have a significant impact and can be especially detrimental to companies operating on a limited budget. To achieve this:

Identify your pain points: Understand the challenges your company is facing and determine the areas that require improvement. Consult with your staff and other relevant stakeholders to gather insights. If you discover issues such as low organizational efficiency and revenue loss, prioritize addressing these. Align your business objectives with your goals.

Conduct a cost and benefit analysis: Building a robust business case is primarily to validate the investment. Analyse both tangible and intangible costs, as well as tangible and intangible gains that your company can realize with a successful implementation.

Develop a timeline: Set realistic time expectations for the evaluation of the software, the implementation of the new system, and the achievement of a return on the investment.

Step Two: Select the Appropriate Vendor

Once you have the necessary support, the process of choosing the right software vendor becomes crucial. The vendor you select will become a strategic partner in your business, so it’s essential to take your time in the selection process. When narrowing down your options, consider the following questions:

  • Determine your needs: Evaluate factors such as features, pricing, cloud-based vs. on-premise vs. hybrid solutions, and more.
  • Assess the vendor’s experience: How long has the vendor been in the software business, and what are their credentials?
  • Evaluate software scalability: Is the software capable of scaling with your company’s growth?
  • Identify hidden costs: Are there any unexpected or concealed expenses associated with the software?
  • Explore customer feedback: What do other customers have to say about the vendor’s products and services?
  • Ensure compatibility: Does the software seamlessly integrate with your existing systems and processes?
  • Inquire about software training: Does the vendor provide training to help your team effectively use the software?

Step Three: Skilled Staff – Put Together an Implementation Team

Your software implementation team plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of your project. This team can be as small as two individuals and can expand to accommodate the specific needs of your project. Generally, the more departments that require the software, the larger the implementation team will become. In each department, it’s beneficial to designate a representative who will act as the champion for the new software. This champion will not only address inquiries but also assist in training their colleagues.

However, for smaller firms, managing this change can be particularly challenging. The absence of an in-house IT team or department creates a significant obstacle. Management often lacks the necessary time and expertise to handle such a change effectively.

A better solution is to hire an outside team of consultants to handle a project implementation end-to-end. As professionals, they’ll probably get it done faster, with better cost and time frame.

This has been the case with larger multi nationals as well because the complexities of implementation are huge.

But, don’t just hand over the responsibility to the external party, make sure that there is a consensus reached on the delivery.  Address the major points before taking the plunge.

  • The consulting team to analyse each process to be automated and understand the requirements of the respective team.
  • To understand the skill levels of the team, and to derive the interface templates.
  • To change the team is improbable for a smaller firm, but choosing the right software is easier.
  • To finalize the output – the data required to built the MIS.

Step Four: Put it to Use

The worst scenario is having software that nobody wants to use. Naturally, if you’re in a position of authority, you can simply mandate that your team adopts the new system, regardless of their preferences. However, if you go down this path, be prepared for resistance and an increase in employee dissatisfaction.

To avoid the need to force your team into using the new software, consider the following steps:

  • Early Preparation: Start preparing your team for the transition as soon as possible. The sooner you inform your employees about the change, the more receptive they are likely to be.
  • Designate a Change Manager: Appoint a change manager who will lead the transition and serve as a point of contact for employees to address their questions, receive training, provide feedback, and access other relevant information.
  • Clear Benefits Communication: Ensure that everyone comprehends the benefits the software offers them. When employees understand how the software can improve their work, you’re more likely to see higher adoption rates.
  • Provide Effective Training: Adequate training is essential. Employees must understand how to use the software to reap its benefits.

It’s important to recognize that it may take some time for everyone to become proficient with the new system, and that’s perfectly normal. As long as you continue to work with the software daily, you’ll make progress. To support the long-term implementation of the new software, prioritize the key capabilities that need to be mastered first. This approach aids in influencing the training process and provides benchmarks for your progress assessments.

For a successful software implementation, effective communication is vital. The management, employees and implementation teams all contribute to the process, playing key roles in engagement and adoption.