You’re getting ready to deploy a new enterprise software solution. Perhaps it’s an ERP system to help your entire operation run more efficiently. Or maybe you’re focused on one or two departments, such as a CRM system to enable marketing and sales to close on more business. If you have a warehouse, you might be planning something new to streamline fulfillment logistics.
No matter the type of system, an enterprise software deployment requires a concerted effort from your internal teams. The key is how you plan the implementation to make sure all stakeholders coordinate their efforts and are on board from a buy-in standpoint. They must believe in the value the new software will bring to the company
To help your plan your next software implementation, here are 9 critical steps to follow to get your internal resources ready:
#1 - Identify employees and business units affected by the implementation
It’s important to not only have an idea of who should be involved in the project in different phases but also to discuss the changes ahead. Managing those changes is a critical component of a successful implementation, and starting this conversation early pays dividends in the long term.
#2 - Choose your project manager carefully
This person will be responsible for making key decisions and keeping the project on track. They will also be the direct communicator on project status and issues with any IT partners you work with as well as your executive team. This is easily the most important person on your project.
#3 - Establish clear roles and responsibilities for your staff
If the staff understands their roles and expectations during the implementation, it eliminates surprises and creates collaboration. As you assign roles, keep in mind that team members also need to cover their regular job responsibilities. You may need to lighten that load temporarily.
#4 - Realize staff buy-in is the responsibility of company leadership
This is similar to the change management discussion above. Working with the company executives to get staff to buy in is an ongoing task throughout the project. It is imperative that the staff understands why the change is being made and is shown the benefits of the new solution and its processes.
#5 - Use reports to drive your system design and configuration
Understanding where your system or processes are lacking and the critical components you would like to change is a huge part of the discovery process. Discovery sessions—which you will likely conduct with your IT partner—are where everything gets put on the table and the discussions occur around what the system can or cannot solve.
#6 - Don’t wait until the last minute to put your data in order
Migrating data to a new system is one of the most strenuous tasks during an implementation. Having “clean” data that has been reviewed by your internal team is imperative to a data migration project. This prevents delays and reloads due to incorrect or unreconciled data. This discussion should also include what historical data, if any, should be included.
#7 - Identify the primary IT partner and other software vendors
Identifying any partners and vendors who will play a part in the project early is important to make sure they can staff accordingly. This will prevent unforeseen delays that occur when a partner or ancillary vendor is not aware of their role and responsibilities.
#8 - Don’t treat training as an afterthought
Staff training is the key to successfully utilizing the solution or process post-implementation. Select a few staff members to become “Super Users” so they can become the trainers of other employees as well as employees who join the company later on.
#9 - Establish an understanding of availability
Implementations require time throughout the work week where the various contributors need to be involved to different extents. Collaborate with staff to determine availability and who should be involved in certain parts of the project. Less is more: more focused sessions with staff who are directly involved in the particular process create better results.
Confirm Your Plan with Your Implementation Partner
Every business and every project has unique aspects. That makes it vital to review your implementation plan with your IT partner. They should provide a project manager who will work closely and communicate with your project manager so that both teams can coordinate their efforts. Your partner will also assist in pointing out additional planning steps you need to take.
If your company is planning an upcoming software implementation project, ATX is here to help. Clients engage us for our expertise and our successful track record for leading the design and management of complex systems implementation projects. We also provide a variety of services around ERP, CRM, and other enterprise applications, including project management, business process design, and implementation support. To learn more, contact us today or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org