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November 12, 2020 • by Dora & Andrew

How to Implement New Software In a Company: 3 Strategies

Painless development
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If you have the developed software for your company, you are  halfway to success. To get long-term value and recover the costs of implementing a new system in a workplace, the business should have an implementation plan of how to do it step-by-step.

 

This article will disclose three strategies and practical tips on how to implement new software in a company in the most seamless way.

 

Let’s start with the most common reasons why businesses may need new technology adoption. 

 

Reasons to implement new software

 

There are at least 4 reasons to adopt new software in a company:

 

  1. Primary automation of a group of tasks: in today’s world automation is a necessity. If your company does something manually and routinely that can be automated, you are merely wasting time, money, and most likely valuable corporate data. It’s high time to review business processes and automate them.
  2. Implementing a new IT system as replacement for the current one: due to obsolescence of the current system, or new requirements, scaling, change of business focus, etc.
  3. Сurrent system scaling with new modules due to business development and growth: for example, the company opened a new branch and requires a larger system with an extended set of functionality.
  4. Considerable interface and software functionality update.

 

Of course, the first 2 cases require more effort and could cause some issues without a thorough software implementation plan into day-to-day processes. And here, we proceed to the best practice strategies for the new software implementation process in a company.

 

Let’s move on to the three core strategies for switching and adapting to a new software.

 

Strategies of implementation

 

Big Bang

 

Adopting the Big Bang method is the most rigid transition when you set the exact date and carry out an abrupt migration, disabling the old software by 100%. The Big Bang implementation is the “all at once” strategy, which requires a lot of pre-launch planning, staff training, and organizational tuning.

 

Pros

 

  • Relatively low implementation cost since you save money on operational expenses when the current system(s) is replaced within one day. 
  • All employees work in one system, there is no need to sync the data, the staff do not need to follow several interfaces at once. In addition, they can exchange information and feedback with each other which accelerates the learning process.
  • Simplicity for an admin: one migration, the support of a single platform, etc.
  • All possible changes are done simultaneously and are noticeable almost immediately; there is no need to detect and isolate the particular factors that influence productivity, development speed, sales, which leads to an increased ROI.

 

Cons

 

  • It works 100% successfully with simple software: chats, corporate portal, instant messengers. Even e-mail can already malfunction, not to mention project management systems, CRM / ERP, and other serious systems which can lead to business vulnerability.
  • “Explosive” migration from one system to another can cause operational disruption or even chaos, resulting in lower productivity. That’s why, the most important thing here is a training plan for employees.

 

Parallel Running

 

Parallel strategy of a new software implementation is a more soft and versatile way of transition. This approach allows decision makers to set time during which both systems will function simultaneously in order to compare the results and the output of both.

 

Pros

 

  • Users have enough time to get used to the new software, quickly working in the old one; employees have the opportunity to find parallels between 2 software solutions, to delve into the new logic of interface interaction.
  • Parallel running ensures business continuity: having 2 systems running side by side, means in case of sudden problems, employees just keep working in the old system.
  • User training is less rigorous and generally cheaper.
  • There is practically no negative reaction from employees: they were not deprived of their usual tool or way of doing things (if automation is happening for the first time).
  • Areas of improvement detection: the parallel approach helps to identify whether the new system streamlines current processes.

 

Cons

 

  • Additional administration tasks: support for both systems, data synchronization, double security management.
  • The transition process is ”stretched”: employees realize they have time to adopt new software, so they can proceed using the familiar interface for a while.
  • User confusion: two interfaces can seem confusing and cause operational and data errors.
  • Costs: you pay for both systems.

 

Phased Adoption

 

Phased software adoption is the softest approach to implement a new software. The transition can be carried out functionally, or by divisions, and in the agreed timeframes. This strategy implies a gradual process of replacing the old system, starting with the core functionality implementation, and then additional modules and functionality roll-out. Phased adoption is the safest way to implement new technology, though it also has particular drawbacks for business.

 

Pros

 

  • Organized transition, distributed workload on administrators and internal experts.
  • Smarter and deeper staff learning, since it provides more time for them to adapt to the new software.
  • There is no resistance to changes because it happens as gently as possible.

 

Cons

 

  • Could take a significant amount of time, which can result in additional costs.
  • Within phased adoption you should have dedicated resources to maintain both the old system and the new system.

 

 

What to choose?

 

There are some core factors affecting what new software implementation approach the business should choose:

 

 

  • The complexity of software
    If we are talking about complex software (for example, a CRM system), Phased Adoption is more suitable. If the software is relatively small and does not influence vital business processes (messenger, corporate portal), then the Big Bang strategy is appropriate.

 

  • The degree of risk for the company
    The riskier is the implementation, the slower it should be. On the other hand, procrastination is also a risk. For example, you move from one CRM system to another. During the transition period, you have to pay for both systems, thereby increasing the costs.

 

  • Staff strength
    Big Bang won’t work if you need to scale and customize multiple user profiles. In such cases, the one better considers two other options. However, there are times when ultra-fast implementation is a blessing for a large company. For example, in the case of non-customizable systems used by the majority of employees.

 

  • Features of implementing the selected software (upgrade, etc.)
    Sometimes the implementation is initially phased: we define the requirements first, then do the upgrade, conduct training, etc.

 

Agents of influence: employees involved in implementation process

 

The first thing to look out for is the employees who will be affected by implementing the new software. We are now considering a 100% human factor, so analysis of employees’ impact cannot be avoided.

 

  • Company executives determine how the new software will be generally adopted. Here it is essential to show precisely the need for changes, to convey the idea that this is just a choice of a more convenient tool, the same as replacing an old laptop. The biggest mistake of management in such a situation is ignoring the case: if the management does not need the company’s automation, why should employees be interested in it? Be in the process.

 

  • Heads of departments (project managers) are an intermediate link that must necessarily participate in all processes, manage the issues, work out colleagues’ objections, and conduct high-quality and deep learning.

 

  • On the one hand, end-users usually want to work well and comfortably and, on the other hand, are afraid of change like any living person. The main reasoning for them is honest and straightforward: why are we introducing/changing the system, what are the boundaries of control, how the work will be evaluated, what will change in general, and what are the risks.

 

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Two critical factors in successfully overcoming the “resistance”:

 

 

  • Conduct training: vendor and internal. Make sure the employees really understand everything and are ready for implementing a new process at work. Crucial training attributes are printed and electronic manuals and full documentation for the system (provided by a vendor).

 

  • Look for supporters and select influencers. Internal experts and early adopters are those who’ll help both to educate and dispel doubts. As a rule, employees are pleased to help their colleagues and introduce them to the new software.

 

What should you pay attention to:

 

  • How technically advanced are the employees who’ll be affected by the change?

 

  • How severely will work processes be affected?
    (One thing is to change the corporate messenger for 100 people, and another one is to change the billing system, for example)

 

  • Was the training provided? At what level?

 

Plan for painless implementation

 

You may not have all the above, but there must be a plan. Moreover, the plan should be updatable, clear, inevitable, accessible for discussion, and transparent for all stakeholders.

 

The plan must necessarily reflect the requirements of employees who will be the end-users: so each employee will know which particular desired feature they will be able to use.

 

Simultaneously, the transition or implementation plan is not some kind of unchangeable monolith. It’s necessary to leave the possibility of finalizing the plan and changing its attributes.

 

 

What should be in the plan:

 

  1. Transition milestones: what needs to be done.
  2. Detailed transition points for each stage: how it should be done.
  3. Key points and reports on them (hours): how to measure what is done and what should be at the control point.
  4. Responsible people: those who you can contact and ask.
  5. Timing: the beginning and end of each stage and the entire process as a whole.
  6. Affected processes: what changes will occur in business processes, what else you need to change along with the implementation/transition.
  7. Final evaluation: a set of indicators, metrics, or even subjective assessments to evaluate the implementation/transition.
  8. The start of operation: the exact time when the whole company will join the updated automated process and will work in the new system.

 

Summarizing

 

Implementation of new software is not a one-day revolution but a gradual process.

 

To get everything done successfully, the core thing you should think about first are the employees (who are the end-users in our case):

 

  • Think about who will be affected by the implementation, choose the most painless strategy of implementation.
  • Plan it thoroughly.
  • Don’t forget to conduct training.

 

If you are just about to develop a software product,  contact us for a free consultation and get your software developed from scratch!

Written by

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Dora

Marketing Manager
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Andrew

Head of Dev Department

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