3 Steps to Maximize The ROI on Your Software Investment
In our last blog, 3 Trends Currently Dominating the Maintenance Industry, we discussed how change management will always be a major consideration when purchasing and implementing a new software. The change a new software brings to your team requires a detailed plan of action to ensure successful adoption. Let’s dive a bit into what areas you need to account for when developing your change management plan.
Buying and implementing new software is not an easy task. Change comes with many ups and downs. People are resistant to change because, as a species, we are comfortable with what we know. The goal of a change management strategy is to prevent your new software from becoming shelfware. It is important to take control of the process and set parameters for how you will manage the change.
Lets review 3 steps to help make the change as smooth as possible:
Step 1: Early Involvement
The typical scenario is that someone in management picks a software to help their employees without consulting them first. The result is that “end users” resist the change and eventually are successful at turning a software solution into shelfware. No matter where you are in the sales cycle of a software purchase, it is never too late to get your end users involved. Ultimately, they will be the ones using the system and as such, it is beneficial to involve them early in the decision-making process.
Take the time to bring the end users into the conversation from the very beginning. If users are engaged early in the process, they are more likely to see the value in the change. More exposure to a solution before it is implemented helps end users understand and adjust to the change in processes. Additionally, your end users can provide deeper insight into the ins and outs of the daily work. They may be able to help you narrow down your selection criteria.
Step 2: Take the Various Teams’ Needs into Account
Your new software will have an impact on the overall organizational goals and objectives. The software you are purchasing and implementing might be used primarily by one specific department or team, but it is important to consider how this change will impact the departments and teams they work with. Does your change management strategy need to extend beyond just the individuals actually using the software? Will those outside teams struggle to embrace the change? How are you going to manage the change for the end users, as well as the teams they work with?
You should consider the following questions not just for the team primarily using the new software, but for all those who will be affected by the change:
- Why are you implementing this software? What problem does it solve?
- Are you introducing a new tool or replacing an older tool?
- What are the current workflows? How is the Software going to fit in or modify the workflows?
- What resources will manage, implement and support the Software?
- Training: Who needs to be trained? What kind of training*? Where will the training be held? What style of training will you utilize? How will you manage different learning styles?
- How flexible to changes in processes will your organization be? A Software solution might introduce new practices or workflows. A Software solution should be specialized in industry best practices so it might introduce processes adopt… Be open to exploring the different capabilities and features that might come with the software.
New software often results in new processes. Make sure you are reviewing the widespread impact of these process changes and planning your change management strategy accordingly.
Step 3: Embrace the Change, but Be Flexible
There is no denying that change is challenging. People can get very “stuck in their ways” and can be hesitant to try new methods. It is important to drive the change but not to force it. When people are forced into things they tend to go on the defense. Allowing your teams to take baby steps towards the change can be very powerful. For example, if you have recently implemented a mobile maintenance solution, allowing technicians to carry a paperwork order, as well as the new mobile device, can ease the transition. Ultimately if your new solution and the process changes it brings are superior, your team will slowly embrace the transition along with you.
As you’re making your way through the purchasing and implementation process of a new software, make sure you keep your change management strategy at the front of everyone’s minds. Having a strong, well-thought-out implementation process and staff who support the change is key to the success of the new software or process. Though there might be some bumps in the road, change never happens suddenly.