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Why Change Management is Critical for Software Implementation

Software implementation is often a troublesome and costly area for businesses. With some research suggesting that many implementations fail at first try, there is huge scope for improving how businesses plan and execute this process.

That many companies find this process problematic and difficult to achieve can partly be attributed to a lack of understanding or expertise.  And with so many implementations considered unsuccessful at first attempt, there is understandably a wide-ranging conversation about how to best get the necessary planning and groundwork ‘right first time’.

One critical management tool for successful implementation is the use of change management. When used effectively, a thorough and well thought out change management plan can help to facilitate the human transition from genesis to adoption.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the critical ways this method can help your business achieve a successful implementation. 

Diagnosis and assessment

Some implementations fail due to a lack of preparation; a Change Management Plan can provide necessary emphasis on correctly diagnosing where your business stands before the implementation and how able it will be to ‘make the change’ successfully.

Everything from the overall objective to the actual process of adoption and implementation should be included in a thorough management plan. There are plenty of resources available for businesses lacking in expertise, though it can sometimes be a good idea to enlist the help of an experienced third-party.

Depending on the size and complexity of the implementation, there will usually be a Change Management Resource Team assigned to both facilitate the process and provide accountability; many businesses will expand this to include senior and middle management members and even a Change Management department or support team – basically as many people or teams as necessary to ensure the success of the process.

Securing the support of your employees

A significant aspect of successful software implementation is gaining the support of your employees – after all, they are often the people who will most use the new software – so getting them on board is crucial. This is another common cause of implementation failures.

An effective change management plan can address this, including how the process of securing employee ‘buy-in’ will actually happen. This will usually feature a lead-in process that includes in-depth training and a clear communication of the reasons for the change.

If you can secure the support of your employees, you’re a long way towards a successful implementation.

As a general rule, there will be an ongoing need for coaching and problem-solving; it is crucial that this is addressed, especially as some people will take longer than others to become proficient. Change Management provides a mechanism for these processes, as well as a way to measure how well this is achieved.

Effective communication with stakeholders and customers

Change management also provides the necessary emphasis on strong communication with stakeholders and customers about the why’s and how’s of implementation. These are important features as success is partly dependent on having their support. This is sometimes an overlooked aspect of implementation: Securing the buy-in of stakeholders and customers is vital.

Accountability and ownership

As already mentioned, a Change Management Plan can provide a necessary emphasis on accountability. Many implementations fail due to a lack of measurable goals and process ownership and responsibility. With Change Management Project Teams, Managers and resources correctly assigned, there is more chance of a successful implementation. 

Thanks to Unleashed Software for this providing this exclusive article.