Complete Guide to Building an Efficient Software Implementation Plan
The software development lifecycle is a long journey that doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Once you embark on it, there’s only one way – to move forward. Many businesses have become highly skilled at programming and delivering top-notch products. What’s under the hood of their success? An accurately designed implementation plan, a mature team of developers, smart executives. Let’s find out what stands behind powerful and successful IT companies.
Software development is where most companies expect to place focus in 2021. Moreover, because the global IT spending is on pace to reach US$3.9 trillion this year, and this growth fuels businesses initiatives to participate in digital transformation.
Assuming that technology allows for more efficiency, non-adopters can become subject to labor-intensive and high-cost processes their rivals have already tackled. The new software is one of the top areas to invest in. To get started, a business would need a thorough plan of execution.
Defining Software Implementation Plan
A complete guide to picking a suitable software depending on the business needs and its deployment is called a software implementation plan. Working with new software can be a tedious and expensive process in terms of overhead costs and workforce. Without a complete guide, it can be impossible to start utilizing new software successfully.
An accurately designed software implementation plan can help adopters to avoid failures, make more beneficial decisions, and assure that the skilled team is working on the project. In addition, a plan helps to set the system perfectly, create an atmosphere where developers can truly enjoy the profits provided by new software.
Main Challenges of Software Implementation
Incorporating new resources into the existing system may face various challenges, starting with using outdated system software ending up with security, regulation, and stability issues. In this section, we describe the most common problems.
1. Outdated System Tools and Programs
Using legacy software (also referred to as old and outdated methods or technologies) is one of the biggest issues companies face when trying to innovate their business with new software. An effective solution may be change management practices, which aim to consider all problems associated with legacy software, define the guides for implementation, and ensure software compatibility and security.
In the most intricate cases, the business might need to transform its legacy system on a massive scale in order to get rid of the issue.
2. Meeting Compliance and Regulations
Another challenge is making new software compliant with all security standards and regulations. Adopting new software may be followed by data migration (see below) and the engagement of various intermediaries into the process. That’s why compliance is a must-have at every stage of implementation. A team leader should be accountable for verifying compliance together with integration, security, confidentiality, and software training.
Meeting compliance demands becomes a sophisticated process particularly for large companies that adapt to the agile methodology or outsource software development. However, these difficulties can be easier to overcome if partnering with a trusted IT provider. If you plan to incorporate new features into your system or integrate an absolutely new solution, consider reaching out to Innovecs specialists.
3. Migrating Data
Data migration is moving data from one place to another. This process deeply relies on backward compatibility – the ability of new software to interact with the legacy system. That’s why it’s crucial to include data migration strategy in the very early stages of the implementation plan since this is a cumbersome and tricky process.
4. Restructuring of In-house Teams
When a change management strategy takes place for integrating new software, the team’s structure undergoes changes and has to be adapted to the occurrence of new positions and roles. A software implementation plan may include the onboarding of new specialists in order to fill the skill gap. Utilizing brand-new software may require having in place consultants, engineers, project managers, etc. This challenge is especially common for businesses where the integration of company-wide solutions is needed.
5. Need to Get Hands-on With a New Solution
If a company wants its employees to faster start using a brand-new tool and reap the benefits of its capabilities, incorporating ‘’how to’’ courses is crucial for effective software exploitation. According to a recent report after having trained using software:
- Almost 70% of users began to exploit the implemented program more
- Almost 60% of users began to leverage more program’s options
Without adequate learning, employees fail to use the adopted technology to the fullest.
6. Cybersecurity Issues
Another hurdle to be tackled is keeping security on a proper level during the implementation of new technologies. The latter may cause data breaches and make the whole system vulnerable to cyber-attacks. It’s recommended to perform risk assessment and prevention measures during and after the implementation to guarantee that the infrastructure is still reliable and secure.
7. Establishing Metrics to Measure ROI
Integrating new software is a big step in business development. However, executives should carefully develop a plan to evaluate the value of the implementation and rest assured that the rollout will bring its benefits to the business. Without metrics, it’s hard to predict whether the new solutions will be beneficial or not. Many outsourcing software development companies, including Innovecs, can help their clients to identify these metrics using a strategic successful plan.
Step-By-Step Guide For Successful Software Implementation Process
When challenges within your business are taken into account, it’s time to develop a plan that would lead you to desired accomplishments and help to eliminate all bottlenecks. Here is a step-by-step guide to creating an efficient software implementation plan.
Write your business case
A business case is designed during the early stages of a project and aims to assess a business problem or opportunity, advantages of new initiatives, risks and costs, suitable technical solutions, deadlines, impact on ongoing operations, and on-site’s team capability to achieve the desired results.
Recent research shows that 70% of complicated, large-scale projects don’t bring the expected outcomes. Widespread reasons include a lack of employee commitment, poor management assistance, inadequate cross-functional cooperation, and a lack of responsibility.
Regardless of the business size and scale of the project, both small and large enterprises can experience difficulties with changing and upgrading their internal system. Everybody awaits that the costs they invest in new software will return fast. So, the business case has to be developed thoroughly:
- Identify the needs. Here it would be best to define which areas of your business need innovating and what imperfections and gaps prevent your business from growing. Survey your employees and partners to find out the problematic aspects. Also, you can engage a third-party firm to analyze your business and discover pain points. If supply chain operations are inefficient, leading to losses and customer dissatisfaction, center your attention on that.
- Define a suitable tech solution. Accurately decide what way a new, let’s say, supply chain management (SCM) software can improve logistics performance and why it is crucial to implement it.
- Measure profits and ROI. A detailed business case helps to understand whether the required software is beneficial or not. Identify intangible expenses and tangible rewards the enterprise is going to obtain after successful integration.
- Set deadlines. Clearly establish the timescale of the project: how long it takes to assess software, implement it, and get a return on investment.
- Plan how to handle the transformation. Since most large software implementations fail to achieve the goals, some executives consider it safer to reject the new initiative. Therefore, accountable for implementation managers should accentuate the expenses a business can incur if not eliminating problematic aspects in a system. Also, C-Suite executives should be rest assured that transformation has clear steps and mistakes of other companies in the past will be averted. Again, a change management strategy is a perfect solution.
Below you can see the example of how to achieve exceptional outcomes. McKinsey suggests its holistic, highly disciplined methodology.
Partner with a trusted software development company
To find a reliable partner in your software implementation endeavors, consider the following tips to make the process easier:
- Pick a provider based on the defined costs, functionality, technology, hosting for your future software (on-premise, cloud, or hybrid).
- Check the provider’s experience on the market, compare with competitors, learn the actual case studies.
- Check the ratings and client reviews if possible.
- Clarify whether a prospective partner delivers scalable software, offers software training, suggests maintenance after rollout.
- Ask whether there are any additional costs and the possibility of new software to integrate with the existing systems in your company.
In case you opt for a custom software development vendor, like Innovecs, you will surely get what you’ve requested. An IT company that delivers bespoke software solutions, keeps an eye on the latest technology trends, and efficiently utilizes the emtech (emerging technology) during development. That’s why it can be a beneficial alliance for your business.
Avert feature creep
Feature creep is the process to constantly add features to a product making it too complex, confusing, and difficult to use. To avoid this issue, a carefully designed Business Requirements Document (BRD) should be in place. Managers involved in the process of its creation include the customer, the business analyst (BA), the project manager, the systems analyst, the marketing manager, and the product manager.
Usually, the BRD encompasses:
- A set of the needs of the project
- Goals of the project
- Financial statements
- Functionality specifications and features
- SWOT matrix of the business and how the project matches it
- Employees requirements
- Deadlines and schedules
- Analysis of pros and cons
Any software implementation plan is always followed by changes that appear to be different from what was initially expected. That’s why a certain level of control has to take place. When best project management approaches are applied and the team works in tight cooperation, the scope creep can be averted.
Also, it may be helpful to employ project management software that will enable you to monitor the software implementation process. Among others, these instruments can be useful: Asana, Jira, Trello, and others.
Have skilled specialists in place
It’s crucial to bring together a dedicated team of IT professionals to realize your software implementation plan. Modern IT specialists show great commitment to their work, with 86% of respondents in a market survey rating their prospects as very good. Moreover, the high demand for technology skills breeds more and more positions and career options. So, it won’t be difficult for you to find the right team.
Broadly, the size of your team depends on the project scale. If you are initiating a company-wide digital revolution, then an appropriate number of employees should be hired.
In the previous section, we mentioned some positions to be involved. There is another position that cannot be neglected – software champions. These are people responsible for mastering software application(s), piloting tests of software, assuring the on-going operational success of the new software, communicating with the software provider, and with the tech team. To sum up, ensure that you have assembled highly talented, smart, and equally engaged in the project employees.
Help users adopt the new software
Last but not least is driving the adoption of the new software. Make sure your departments are well aware of the latest implementations. To involve personnel in the process, try to utilize the following recommendations:
- Get employees ready beforehand: The earlier you announce the implementation initiatives, the faster employees will get used to the appearance of novel programs.
- Assign an accountable person: There should be a change management leader in every department (if the project is big), to whom workers may address any questions related to the adoption.
- Ensure awareness of software benefits: When partners, workers, and other participants of your company operations realize the value the new software might bring, user adoption is likely to grow.
- Software training has to take place: It is vital to provide workers with adequate learning so that they can start exploiting it seamlessly.
- Ensure the after rollout maintenance: Since problems always arise even after successful implementation, the company executives should prepare responsible tech specialists to handle issues on different stages of the project.
The Bottom Line: Checklist To Prove Your Implementation Plan Works Perfectly
Software adoption is a complex process requiring the proactive participation of all stakeholders. The most common challenges include legacy software using, compliance and regulations, data migration issues, lack of software training, and security vulnerability. All these pitfalls can dramatically affect the IT infrastructure. To sum up, we highlighted some tips below that can help you realize the software implementation plan effortlessly.
- Regularly keep track of the ongoing process. Evaluate each phase in conjunction with the software provider. Communication is key to the success of the entire process.
- Accurately plan change management strategy. Ensure that you have thoroughly developed your business case and clearly understand the current problematic aspects to be tackled. The case should contain concrete business needs, a suitable technology, set deadlines, metrics, and ROI prognosis.
- Use project management software (e.g., Jira, Trello, Asana, etc.) to track tasks, tools, processes. This will help you have a full vision of the workflow, managers’ duties, schedules, and priorities.
- Establish clear metrics to measure the performance of a new program. By knowing the desirable outcomes of the software implementation, you and your team will have more motivation.
- Identify the roles for the entire process. There should be a project owner, project manager, marketing manager, software champion, business analyst, system analyst.
- Collaborate with a software vendor during the preparation stage. Ensure that all participants perform risk assessment from their site.
- Train your staff to drive software adoption. After training employees on how to exploit the capabilities of the software, ensure they know the advantages for their work as well as for the whole company.
If you opt for partnering with a software vendor, feel free to contact Innovecs representatives to bring any idea to life. With over 800 talented IT pros, more than 8-year experience, and more than 50 clients served, we guarantee delivery of robust, full-featured products to meet and exceed your expectations.