Jason Shipe, Manager of Project Management
Adopting new software solutions can be difficult but rewarding at the same time. Retailers want to see an increase in sales and more efficient productivity when adding a new software solution, but as we all know, changing an employee’s regular routine is easier said than done. Most employees—and most people generally—resist change and revert to prior routines. So, let’s review some considerations and challenges with adopting new software solutions:
- Failing to consider the non-tech savvy users
- Struggle with new and unfamiliar routines
- Lack of experience leading change
To achieve desired results, organizations need to effectively communicate the “Why” and follow a comprehensive change management plan. Understanding upfront all the considerations for adopting a new software solution will help you select the software solution and the buy-in from your users that will deliver the results you want.
Employees and change management
Think of all your employees. How many are tech savvy? How should you approach and train those employees who struggle with new technology? How do you explain and communicate to those employees that a new software solution is better than the old process that they may think has been working fine? There may be, probably are, more of this type of employee that you think, so it is critical to address this from the beginning of the process—from which solution is chosen, to how training will be conducted, to when the solution can be “handed off”—and documented in the change management plan.
The next big hurdle is experience, or more often lack of experience, in leading an effective change management process implementing software. There are a lot of moving parts, and they must all work together. Executive sponsor support with presence and buy-in on the new software solution is critical, as is an effective training team that conveys not only the “How” but also the “Why.” If your organization doesn’t have the required experience, you must consider how you will fill the gap. If you plan to depend on the software solution vendor, this will be a critical factor in who you choose so, again, something that must be considered from the very beginning.
The biggest challenge to achieving desired results from adopting a new software solution is almost always how to achieve end-user buy-in rather than falling back to what is familiar. This also must be considered from the beginning of the process. Here are some thoughts to encourage support in adopting new technology:
- Keep the end-users’ best interests in mind—enabling them to do their jobs efficiently and successfully —throughout the process.
- Great functionality is crucial but is it too complex to allow your employees to adapt to using it while also doing the rest of their job? What trade-offs are acceptable?
- Successful adoption by end users requires multiple concise communications that outline what is changing and how it affects each user group.
- Utilize influential early adopters to lead the change and drive buy-in from other end users.
- Train side by side with end users to show similar struggles and then benefits with the new software solution.
- Quantify the benefits and what it will require to achieve them. Use these as guiding principles when decisions are needed.
- Share your experiences on an old or new software solution. Be sure to include any challenges or roadblocks you have encountered and explain what you did to overcome those challenges. This will help you relate to your employees as well as provide guidance on how they can best manage the new software.
In with the new and out with the old is the way with adopting new software solutions. That can be difficult, but needn’t be if, when looking for a new software solution, you consider from the start all the likely challenges. Don’t think only of the desired benefits as they won’t be achieved if your employees can’t adapt to the change.