Building Blocks for Success during the Implementation of a New System
Written by one of our Product Specialists, Laura McMullin
Building a new system is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. The success of that new system implementation depends on many factors, including the right mix of people, processes, and change management. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the key building blocks that can help ensure the successful implementation of a new system.
- Identify your needs: Before the implementation process even begins, it's essential to have clear and well-defined objectives. This will help guide decision-making throughout the project and ensure that everyone is working towards the same end goal. Of course, most of these pain points and goals would have been discussed prior to implementation so it's a good idea to sit down with your team and look at your current processes to really understand what needs to be translated into the new system or what does not. There are some processes that may have been in place for years, but no longer serve us with the new system. It's also important to establish realistic expectations for what the new system will deliver and to communicate these expectations clearly to all staff.
- Strong Project Management: A well-run project is essential for the successful implementation of a new system. This includes establishing a clear project plan, setting timelines, and assigning responsibilities to team members. It's also imperative to choose the right team members to be included in an implementation. While we want the information to be disseminated to as many employees as possible, sometimes having a smaller team leading the charge is the best way to go. Who are the main users and trainers? Who will be responsible for the configuration? Who makes the decisions? These are all important questions to ask yourself when thinking about who to involve in the project management. Once that team is established, then you can focus on regular check-ins and status updates to keep the project on track and address any issues that arise.
- Effective Training: This is often where the product specialists come in! However, that doesn't mean the users are completely off the hook. An effective training normally involves a collaboration between product specialist and user. A well-designed training program is essential for ensuring that employees are equipped to use the new system effectively. This should (and does) include formal training sessions and ongoing support and resources to help employees as they work with the new system. As a user, creating additional documentation that is specific to your organization will aid other users and future users in understanding how your organization handles certain aspects of the system.
- Dedicated Time for Training: This is mostly a spin-off from Point #3. However, it's important to set aside dedicated time for training. We need to think about how quickly we want to implement the software. Do we have time? Or are we changing systems now and need to be up-and-running ASAP? Without a clear image of when implementation needs to be done, it will be difficult to decide when to schedule training time. Creating a plan for training and sticking to that plan (life happens, I get it!) as best as we can is what will tip the scales when it comes to training.
- Continuous Improvement: The implementation of a new system is not a one-time event. It's important to continuously monitor the system and make adjustments as needed to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the organization. This may include updating processes, modifying the technology, or providing additional training. If the information going into the system is not correct and accurate, the information coming out of the system will never be correct and accurate! A yearly audit of your system is a great way to take stock and make sure that everyone is understanding expectations and taking responsibility for their section of the system. This also ensures that the training obtained during implementation stays fresh.
By focusing on these key building blocks organizations can ensure that their new systems are implemented smoothly and that they deliver the results they are intended to. Happy training!