Too often, strategic software implementations fail before they can even get off the ground. While a new technology solution can add measurable value to your organization, change is hard, and getting a workforce to adapt their processes can be difficult. Even changes that are clearly positive can be met with a degree of apprehension and, if not managed properly, this anxiety can cause a digital transformation to fail. Software implementation requires effective communication and team collaboration as its ongoing success is largely contingent on user adoption. That being said, what’s the best strategy to successfully introduce new technology to your team?
Choose the Right Vendor
Your vendor selection can have a huge impact on user adoption. The most effective way to onboard team members and get them excited about using a new tool is by finding a vendor that understands their challenges and current processes. Having an external vendor that can comprehensively speak to the objectives and obstacles your team is facing can greatly accelerate new tool implementation. This means working with professionals who not only know about their own technology, but also understand the needs of your business and have had hands-on experience in your industry.
Listen to Feedback
Remember that behind every new implementation are real end users with their own experiences and opinions. As a result, when issues inevitably arise during the early stages of an implementation, it is important to let your team know that their feedback is welcome. Capture suggestions on an ongoing basis and create a positive feedback loop with regular transparent updates on the progress. When team members feel heard they will be more open to change. This process will also result in beneficial suggestions and use cases to improve your new software processes.
Assemble Your Advocates
The behavior and attitude of upper management are constantly being observed by employees. As a result, leaders need to both communicate the changes and model the target behaviours they want their employees to follow. This means they should be the first to learn, adopt and promote new softwares and processes. When your management becomes early adopters, they also become avid change ambassadors by actively demonstrating the significance of the new tool. Having advocates that don’t work in your IT department is also an effective approach as they can demonstrate the software’s benefits in a non-technical, approachable manner.
Give it Time
Don’t expect everything to change overnight. Your transformation is a journey that you and your team is embarking on together. Break up the implementation into bite-sized tasks so the overall change does not feel so daunting. Furthermore, the implementation process doesn’t end the day a new tool is introduced, but rather, it continues on as your business learns to adapt, incorporate and enjoy the technology. To get the most value, you need to provide ongoing support to help teams embrace working in new ways. This also means working with a vendor that is reachable, approachable and capable of answering questions and providing guidance even after the initial implementation is complete.
Ultimately, since it is a shared process between leaders, vendors and the end users, the implementation process is really about people. If you can remember that introducing a new tool is about more than just the technology you will find success. Having a people-first approach throughout the process will go a long way.