Implementing new software in your organisation can be quite a challenge, let alone sustaining it successfully in the long-term.
The whole process involves detailed planning, clean data and effective change management, all of which must be carefully thought about before kicking off the initiative. However, if practiced successfully, the entire implementation process can be smooth-sailing and result in lasting change for your business.
Here, we outline 3 key practices to abide by for a successful Trade Promotion Management software implementation:
Planning is key
The planning stage is often overlooked - but this is where you should invest a considerable portion of your project time.
Clearly scope out what the business issue is. Think: How can the software solve my business issues? There should be a clear business case which will be the foundation for your implementation, and which can be revisited at any point in time while the project is running. You may need to gather feedback from various stakeholders to get alignment on the project scope and agenda. Including input from users of the software is crucial at this stage. By mapping all of these out, it gives you a clear view of how the software will be embedded in your company. Not only will this ensure a seamless implementation of the project, but you will also have everyone working towards a common goal, which is to resolve the business issues successfully through the software. By planning your project before the actual kick-off, you can set the foundation for a successful implementation.
Getting the right people on board to drive the change
Think of the Titanic. It was considered the most advanced ship of its time; unsinkable. But one wrong move changed everything. A project that has been perfectly planned could still easily fail if you do not have the right people to steer, implement and execute it. At the top, having management as a project sponsor is crucial. A voice from the top projects an image of leadership and commitment towards project success. The project sponsor must ensure the project stays on track and deal with anything that may detract from project success.
A good project manager is another important participant in successful software implementation. They must be able to manage, lead and delegate work within the agreed scope while monitoring risks and addressing issues early. This entails having clear roles and responsibilities and having clear lines of communication.
A dedicated change manager might support the project management around communication and stakeholder management. He or she will be responsible to clearly map out the change impacts on processes, people, and systems. Having a solid understanding of the gaps between the as-is and to-be will help to define actions and action owners early in the project.
Throughout the project the project manager and change manager should measure the change readiness of the organisation – starting with the actual awareness. Does the individual understand why we are changing and most importantly, do stakeholders know what’s in it for them?
For team members and end-users, knowledge and competency in using the software is key for long term adoption of the tool. If they can engage with the software and understand it, they’ll feel empowered, allowing the company to reap the maximum benefits of the software. In light of this, consider investing in trainings to help them understand how to work the software. Trainings in the form of a refresher courses is also essential to keep employees engaged and establish the anticipated change.
Don’t strive for perfect data to begin with
To ensure the lasting change of a software solution, the outputs generated by the software needs to be accurate and reliable. Having poor data could negatively impact your business and thus impact adoption of the tool. Employees will start losing trust in the software’s ability if it keeps generating inaccurate information. As for the company, inaccurate data could cost them millions. Thus, it is extremely crucial that any data inputs into the software are accurate.
We have seen so many times that if you have 100% focus on getting perfect data, especially during an initial implementation, everything else can fall by the way-side.
A change manager can help pull teams out of the weeds and help align with the overall aim of the project. Consider investing in external resources to ensure your data integrity and accuracy is well managed. Integration with other software that are running in parallel can also ensure high data quality through automation. Choose a partner who has a proven track record of integrating well with legacy systems.
Implementing new software in your organisation can be quite a challenge, let alone sustaining it successfully over the long-term. The whole process must be carefully thought about before kicking off the initiative. However, if practiced successfully, the entire implementation process can be smooth-sailing and result in lasting change for your business.
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