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3 Steps for Proper Software Implementation

One of the biggest challenges companies face today is the implementation of new software. Employees are open to new software if it improves functionality and makes their jobs easier. However, some worry that the new software will lack necessary improvements, be too much work to learn, or even replace them.

An effective way to help ease these fears is to set up an implementation process, which requires proper planning leading up to the changeover.

Here are three ways you can execute a smooth transition to new software.

1. Identify Key Stakeholder Needs

The first step in developing a software implementation plan is to identify stakeholders — anyone who will be actively involved in the program transition or will be impacted by the new software. By doing this, you can maintain focus on individual goals and needs throughout implementation. For instance, if the engineering team needs to have a fully operational computer-aided design (CAD) program by a certain date, being aware of this need is beneficial to you to ensure that you’re fulfilling it throughout the transition.

Recognizing needs also allows you to efficiently determine what is possible and what can be considered out of scope. This is often referred to as “scope creep.” Think of an implementation project like an avalanche. As the project continues, it gathers requests and roadblocks, becoming larger until it’s overwhelmingly uncontrollable. By defining your needs early, you can stay within these limits and have control of the project.

There are different stakeholders that should be identified and defined in every project. One of the most important is the project sponsor, also known as the captain of the software transition. This role provides the necessary support and resources to achieve your goals. The following stakeholders are also vital and will have needs specific to your business, industry, and software implementation:

2. Set Target Dates for Milestones

The next step is to define specific milestones and set a target date for completion. These milestones will allow you to see how your work is progressing, so you can make necessary adjustments. One of the most common mistakes is underestimating a project’s complexity.

Plan and implement these six milestones:
  1. Kickoff — Don’t underestimate this process. It’s not just the beginning of the implementation — it’s your opportunity to get the team excited and to promote buy-in for the new software. If you can achieve this, the later stages will be much smoother.

  2. Requirements Gathering — Sit down with all of your stakeholders and decide what they expect to gain from the new software. Also, determine what’s needed for them to fully implement the new program.

  3. Unit and System Testing — This will be your first level of testing to ensure expectations are being met. This is the day (or days) set aside to work out any issues that may arise.

  4. System Validation — Testing is next. Think of it as quality control to determine if the software is functioning as expected.

  5. Publishing to Live Environment — This is a live test drive of the software before you push it out. It’s your last chance to identify problem areas before going live.

  6. Go Live — You’ve made it to the end! Be sure to celebrate and allow your hard-working employees to do the same.

3. Identify Potential Risks

Finally, anticipate as many potential risks and problems at the beginning of the project. By doing this, you’ll be able to mitigate issues and ensure they’re just hurdles to overcome — not brick walls to block you. Create a team plan explaining who will be responsible for each category to ensure the risk is handled.
Although each project is different, some of the most significant potential risks include:
Implementing a software upgrade is a daunting task. Although change can be uncomfortable, it is crucial to staying competitive in business. To keep your company vital and your employees comfortable, be sure to plan your implementation with consideration for your team’s success.

If you’re searching for a new revenue-driving software solution that’s as simple to learn as it is to implement, consider Revalize for your manufacturing needs. Our configure, price, quote (CPQ), project life management (PLM), and computer-aided design (CAD) programs are designed to help you get the most out of your production. 

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