New Software Implementation – First Month Guide
We have helped thousands of users with the new software implementation process and noticed that there are common problems and mistakes made. We know that implementing new software can be a real nightmare and therefore we created a list with instructions to guide through the first weeks and months of the process.
This guide will help to keep in mind all the necessary steps that make implementing new software less painful and battle some psychological effects.
Let’s start with some facts. In 2014, 97% of B2B marketers used a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Most of them used 11 different software systems. Now stop and think about it – How many software solutions does your company use?
A growing business is likely to use software for:
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Enterprise resource management (ERP)
- Marketing automation
- Email automation
- Sales tracking and automation
- Project management
- Time tracking
- Task lists
Depending on industry, the list could be a lot longer. So before buying new software, do some research to answer this one question: Is adding another piece of software to existing tools actually necessary?
If the answer is “yes”, you’re welcome to this guide that will lead you through the key steps in the new software implementation process.
Still looking for the right software solution? See our guide on How to Find the Best Software That Suits Your Needs.
1) Have clear expectations
In order for the software provider to deliver great user experience and set up a properly customised online work environment, clear vision and expectations are a prerequisite. During the software implementation period, it is highly important for companies to present their exact requirements. It will ensure that new software solution covers all of the business’s needs and is customised to support the daily workflow of all employees. It definitely helps to avoid later frustration.
We always ask our clients to describe their current workflow and key activities that they’re going to utilise the new software for. It helps us as service providers to customise and configure their online work environment and focus the initial training sessions on learning the most important features.
2) Ask every team and department about their expectations
A busy leader may not have a well-detailed overview of every department’s work. Thereby it is highly recommended to ask every manager in the company to outline the key tasks and activities they expect to manage with the new software. Another important question to ask is whether all employees have enough skills for implementing the new software.
Asking for other people’s opinion helps to avoid the feeling that big decisions were made by company’s leaders without taking into consideration the actual needs of every department. And it sure helps to find software solutions that best fit the company’s needs.
3) Ask for an introductory setup program
Many business software providers have included an introductory setup in the implementation process. Still, there are SaaS companies that do not offer introduction and setup in the first place and leave the execution of new software to business managers. In this case, ask for an additional help program as it will save you tens of hours.
In Scoro, the most popular onboarding program includes:
- Training employees
- Online work environment customisation according to client’s needs
- Dashboard set-up according to important KPIs
- Building integrations with other software
- Importing data
- Product and service lists set-up
- Customising product/activity categories, client base
- Customising PDF forms and contract forms
4) Add product and client information all at once
When implementing a new CRM or sales software, there is high probability that products or services will be added to the system later when there’s need for reporting or filling in a quote. Think about it for a sec – what takes more time, entering all product data at once or coming back later in order to enter pieces of information to the system for multiple times?
Having all data inserted at once facilitates building links between different facets of a business. This is especially important if the software has linking capabilities for example linking a quote to a customer. Also it is so much easier to compile invoices if you have your product database set up there. It literally takes only a few clicks to compile an invoice.
Import or insert all the data to new software at once, it will save countless hours and makes everybody’s job easier.
5) If one training session is not enough, ask for more
There’s nothing wrong with not quite grasping every piece of new information at once. In fact, we encourage our clients to invite our training gurus to help and guide them over and over again. It is tremendously important to get a new software system working like a well-oiled machine, otherwise employees will skip utilising it and turn back to old less-effective tools.
During the new software implementation process, there will definitely be some features and tools that your team members do not quite understand. Find time to organise a survey and ask if anyone is having difficulties or problems with the new software.
6) Train every person in the company
Never invite just the C-suite to training sessions, instead organise instructive courses in every department. Everybody whose job requires them to work with new software should attend training sessions. It might seem more expensive in the first place but the benefit can be seen already in short term.
Never leave new employees in the dark, organise new training sessions whenever a new person joins the company.
One more thing to keep in mind when implementing new software is the configuration: Set up access rights for managers and employees and configure the dashboard/reports page to show relevant information and KPIs
7) Customise the new software solution for your needs
We have helped hundreds of clients and a many ask for extra solutions and integrations. No software responds exactly to the company’s needs in the first place, but with some business software providers you have room for negotiation. Be it an integration with a currently used calendar or a special feature for complex customer management system, asking for special solutions is part of your rights as a client.
8) Synchronise all data
The importance of synchronising data across all the existing software in the company lies in the beauty of seeing correlations and connections between different information. For example, marketing could be tied with new customer acquisition and the budget could be dependant on the number of meetings held in a month. Synchronising data also helps to avoid inserting information twice and saves a lot of time.
Moving data from one software solution to another is not as difficult as you might think. As software providers are interested in making the implementation process increasingly painless, they offer easy solutions to sync all the existing data with new software.
We frequently help our clients to synchronixe their calendar apps and an accounting software to our system so that they have all facets of their business managed from one project dashboard.
9) Understand all the features
Companies are paying for expensive software and using less than 5% of their features and capabilities. Here are some key takeaways drawn from this fact:
- Businesses should first learn about all the new software’s features before buying and implementing it
- Companies could benefit a lot more from all their existing software
- Sometimes companies could actually implement the same tasks with one software solution instead of many
- There is probably a new software solution that costs less while still responding to all the requirements and having all important features
10) Add integrations with other software
Building bridges between the existing software by adding integrations will make the data conveniently move from one software solution to another and vice versa. It will decrease the time spent on entering new data and keeps all the information up to date. Wouldn’t it be nice to have all your data automatically moved across all the software used?
11) Review all the existing software
When buying new software solution it is possible that it also covers all the features that currently demand three different software tools. We have many clients who discontinued utilizing their calendar, and project management software and moved their business planning to Scoro’s platform. It goes well together with the fact that not many companies understand all the features that software tools provide. Reviewing all the existing software and their features will save hours of time in the future.
12) Ask for employees’ feedback
No matter how much a business leader likes a new software solution, it is essential to ask for other users’ feedback during the implementation process. If some departments find that the software is missing important features, there are two possible actions: stop using software or ask for extra features.
We have developed special solutions for some of our clients to match their business goals and key activities. They wouldn’t have known to ask for extras hadn’t they discussed it with all team members beforehand.
13) The Big Brother Syndrome
Together with extensive software use in a company comes the Big Brother Syndrome – the feeling that someone is watching over you all the time and keeping track of your every move. It is particularly common in companies that use time tracking. The lower level employees might get the feeling that their bosses are reviewing their every data entry and counting hours spent on work.
Even if it is not the case and nobody is spied on, the need to explain it to employees remains present. The best way to battle the Big Brother Syndrome is to describe all the features and tasks that the new software will be useful for and show employees how they can benefit themselves. Present the new software not as a win for the business leaders and managers but for every person in the company.
As the first month of new software implementation passes, you’ll be able to learn more about the features and find techniques that work the best for your business. Ba patient and keep in mind that the learning process will continue also in the upcoming months as getting used to new tools and software takes time and effort.