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Change Management Best Practices for Software Implementation

Wouldn’t it be great if implementing new enterprise software was as simple as flipping a switch?...
Change Management

Wouldn’t it be great if implementing new enterprise software was as simple as flipping a switch? Unfortunately many executives fail to realize and properly plan for how complicated it can be to change core technology and software. If you’re preparing to adopt new enterprise software, like Oracle, Salesforce, Workday or Netsuite, you can make the process easier by following these five change management best practices:

  1. Develop a Plan

  2. Involve Leadership

  3. Communicate Frequently Across Multiple Channels

  4. Monitor Your Progress

  5. Provide the Right Training and Support

Develop a Plan

Software implementation doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen without a plan. Your implementation plan should include:

  • Evaluating your team, processes and IT structure. 

  • Installation and Customization of the Software - what’s needed to customize the software to your business? Will you hire an implementation partner?

  • Testing and System Integration - what existing systems will the new software need to work with?

  • Training - how will you train users on the new software?

  • Transition and launch - when and how will you go live with the new system?

At each step, consider what if any disruptions will occur to your ongoing work. Disruptions may occur because some systems may be offline during installation or because key staff members will need to be in training sessions.

Related: 8-Step Change Management Process for Software Implementation

 

Involve Leadership

Employees will follow the lead of their managers and executives. Your leadership team needs to be supportive of the new software implementation. Leaders can support the change management process by:

  • Being vocal supporters of the change.

  • Frequently communicating the vision and importance of the change.

  • Eliminating obstacles (staffing, budgets, approvals).

Communicate Frequently Across Multiple Channels

As we’ve said many times before on this blog, communication is the key to successful change management. Employees will be naturally resistant to change. They may fear the new software will eliminate their jobs or be too hard to learn. Frequent communication can help alleviate some of these concerns. When communicating about the new software, you should:

  • Focus on the benefits and how it will make employees jobs easier.

  • Explain why the change is needed and how it supports business growth.

  • Be open, honest and answer questions.

  • Avoid making it seem like everything is change. Discuss company culture, business and processes that will remain the same after the implementation.

Related: 4 Key Elements of Change Management Communication

 

Monitor Your Progress

If someone asks how your implementation is going, you should be able to do more than shrug your shoulders and throw your hands up in the air. Monitor your progress by looking at several key metrics:

  • Milestone deadlines - are you meeting project milestones on time?

  • Training - what percentage of users have completed training on the new system?

  • Performance - is the software functioning properly?

  • Issues - where are users struggling with the new system? What are your most frequent support tickets and calls related to the new system?

Provide the Right Training and Support

If you’re monitoring your progress, it should make it easier to provide the right training and support. Utilize what you’ve learned from your monitoring to provide training in the areas employees are struggling the most. You can’t expect employees to retain everything they learned in training sessions. Unless someone does something on a daily basis, they’ll struggle to retain the information they learned. Employees will need continuous training and support long after your official rollout is complete.

 

Related: 4 Tips for Conquering Change Management Challenges


To learn more about how Apty can help you overcome change management challenges, schedule a demo today.

Request a demo now!

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