Small and mid-sized businesses need software to run their business, but don’t have large IT teams or project managers to handle software implementation projects. Software includes ERP and accounting systems, customer relationship management software, productivity software, eCommerce and others.
So its not surprising that business owners get racked with anxiety at the idea of purchasing expensive software and making sure it gets implemented correctly. Even with the best of partners, software projects can go bad. In my career I’ve been confronted with projects going in the wrong direction. And I’ve seen organizations spin their wheels for years fighting with software that isn’t really doing what they want.
Here are a couple of things you can do to ensure successful software implementations:
1. Assign an internal owner or champion — Senior management is busy and they may simply abdicate the project’s success to the partner. This is a big mistake. Someone within the company needs to have a personal stake and commitment to the project’s success. The project owner will ensure users adopt the software, and hold the partner to account.
2. Do a disciplined needs analysis — Salespeople want to make a sale. They are taught to understand the customer’s hot button needs and demo the software against those needs. This is followed by getting a commitment to purchase the entire system and implementation services. My practice is to split the project into two engagements. The first part is purely a needs analysis in which an internal champion or external consultant takes the time to understand your needs, document business workflows and then work with the partner to demo the system against those requirements. Proper needs analysis will ensure the software implementation budget is more accurate and will be implemented aligned with your business.
As a business owner, you may not have internal team members to control software implementation risk. But if you take personal ownership over the success of the project and invest in some upfront needs analysis, you will better manage the anxiety that comes when bringing in new software.
Why work with Indusflow Systems
Indusflow Systems is a Toronto-based IT services firm that provides a comprehensive portfolio of technology services to small and mid-sized organizations. Services include managed IT services, software development, and implementation of Sage 300 ERP and Sage CRM software.