There are several factors to consider when you are planning to move software platforms. Particularly if the software in question is key to your business’s daily operation and profitability.
One of the most common mistakes is starting the process too late and trying to “shoe horn” in all of the precursor work, which often determines whether the transition is smooth or otherwise.
Most of your staff are probably fully deployed just doing their day job and moving software will likely require them to work extra hours. Alternatively, they must drop some of their normal activities to make the time.
Here are a few points to consider:
- Plan the transition date for a quiet time of the year and month.
- Appoint someone within your office to be “transition team captain” – to work with the software provider and direct traffic.
- Give yourself plenty of time. So, if the plan is to “Go Live” for the 1st of July, start the process in January (or even before).
- Plan for the disruption, by contacting your customers early and letting them know what is happening.
- Counsel your workforce to expect interruptions to their normal working day. Sell them on the benefits of the new software, emphasising the efficiencies to be had by more automation and better workflows.
- Choose a software provider with good training and support and preferably one with a team on the ground in your jurisdiction.
- Manage the “change management” in your office – many employees will resist the change and the “inertia” can be disruptive.
- Use the opportunity to clean up your data and get back some of the “data integrity” that may have been lost over time.
- Make sure the implementation timetable is clearly articulated and manageable at your end.
- Consider bringing in a consultant to manage the process, if your database is large and you do not have the spare internal capacity.
- Understand that nothing goes 100% right every time. So expect some transcription errors and be prepared to manage any client fallout.
Lastly, we would recommend that you choose your software provider carefully. In our market, we see many customers who move eighteen months earlier to a product that they thought was right for them at the time, only to find it doesn’t work.
Make sure you research the software product extensively and ask for other customer endorsements.
The devil is always in the detail with software, and what looks great in the demonstration, often won’t have the flexibility or engineered solutions you thought you were getting.