How to avoid common software implementation mistakes

You’ve identified that a new piece of software will help you achieve your goals. You’ve created a business case and secured funding. You’ve spent weeks scouring the market and attending live demos to find your ideal solution. You’ve paid the first invoice, launched the new software AND… everything’s broken.

This is an all too common chain of events organisations can suffer when launching a new piece of software. Whilst it’s never ideal when a new piece of tech doesn’t work straight away, in some areas of business, that annoyance can actually be critical. A new piece of social scheduling software not working right away? Not great, but a day without posts can be mitigated for. Your new payroll system failing to pay an entire division of employees? A completely different story.

Data suggests that up to 30% of HR tech implementation projects, in particular, fail when launched and the implementation stage is the critical period where mistakes happen.

In this piece, we’re going to look at how your next internal software launch can be a success… avoiding those go-live migraines!

Create a transition plan and timeline

Fail to prepare – prepare to fail. Implementing a new piece of business software is an involved process with numerous moving parts, integrations and actions that need to be carried out.

Without a proper transition plan and timeline in place, the chances of mistakes happening or key steps being missed increases.

Core elements of your plan should include:

  • A timeline for the switch, from onboarding new software to retiring the incumbent tech, which considers wider workloads and other deadlines.
  • Analysing which stakeholders will be affected, and which peers need to be involved in the implementation.
  • Any new training or upskilling required.
  • Securing your data and moving it to the new system.
  • Which employees will lead the transition, and what are their specific responsibilities on the project.
  • A backup or contingency protocol should things fail to go as planned.

Naturally, the level of planning will depend on the software you’re implementing. A standalone time tracking platform for 10 employees? That shouldn’t need too much planning. But a new global HR, payroll or rewards system for hundreds or thousands of employees? It’s critical to map out the project, create a timeline and bring the right people into the project to ensure successful implementation and rollout.

Don’t rely on too few team members

Everyone’s busy, and implementing a new piece of software might sound like a project many people won’t want adding to their plates.

The issue this thinking can lead to, is a very siloed project where important insight and key stakeholders aren’t consulted. It can also cause project delays with overworked project leads trying to manage all areas of the software implementation and launch themselves.

Delegating tasks to more people enables more eyes on the project to spot potential mistakes and issues, whilst also reducing the additional work burden of just two or three people.

It also means that, if your project leader decides to leave the company midway through the process, the rest of the team aren’t scrambling to try and pick up the pieces!

Map out your data with precision

For HR and payroll software in particular, your data is absolutely critical and moving systems poses a risk to its security and integrity.

Your newly chosen software provider should have provisions in place which help to ensure the security of any personally identifiable information during the transfer from one system to the next, or indeed re-creating any existing integrations.

But it’s incumbent on your in-house teams to make sure that the information being fed into the new system is accurate too.

Download now: Choosing the right finance software for your business

Implementing a new piece of software can be used as the ideal catalyst to perform a full audit of the information you have, whether it’s accurate or up to date, and also that the handling of that information complies with local data protection regulations.

And when that information transfer does take place, compare it to the old system to ensure old and new correlate.

Test before launch

Eagerness to quickly tick everything off the to-do list and get the new software up and running is great – but not if it comes at the expense of testing what you’ve implemented first.

It might feel like a time-consuming and ‘skippable’ step, but for business-critical operations such as payroll, finance and HR in particular, failing to test you’ve implemented is working correctly before launching it, presents a serious risk to the organisation.

Similar to checking if your data is correct by comparing old and new systems, you can carry out similar ‘parallel runs’ to see whether or not your new system generates the same outcomes as the old one.

For example, do payroll calculations render the same payouts and tax deductions? Does your new HR system accurately reflect accrued days off or requested holidays?

Checking these during the implementation stage means any niggles can be ironed out before they become a big headache for department heads… as well as your entire team.

Effectively communicate the launch

Finally, any change within your organisation should be effectively communicated with all relevant stakeholders.

Great internal comms are a fantastic way to touch base with employees, celebrate growth and also demonstrate ongoing investment to support how they work. New software is a good example of this, with investment providing ongoing support in the day-to-day operations of the organisation.

Effective communications during the pre-launch stage will also reduce the amount of follow-up work required by your teams.

For example, if you release a new HR system and don’t tell all employees what their new logins are, or updated processes for requesting time off or logging hours, the first week of the new software launch will likely see the HR or IT team inboxes inundated with support requests.

Any internal comms can be mapped out during the planning phase of the project, and be seen as an opportunity to promote how the organisation is moving in a positive direction – as well as gaining more immediate buy-in from stakeholders as to any new processes.

Reduce stress and improve efficiency with expert support

Switching from one platform to another takes time and work to ensure successful implementation and launch, and not all organisations have the in-house time or capability to properly manage the transition.

Planning, data, integrations, procedures, communications, testing and go-live management are critical steps that often require specialists to properly map out and run.

If you’re planning on implementing a new piece of HR, finance or payroll tech at your organisation in the foreseeable future and would like to outsource some of the related headaches that come with it, Phase 3 can help.

Our award-winning teams have helped over 700 organisations to successfully implement new technology from start to finish, from data extraction and load, quality assurance, implementation review and testing support to security, training, process reviews and rollout.

Learn more about our different services below:

Still scouring the market for the best software solution for your organisation? We can help there too.

Check out our professional system selection services here.

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Written by : Laura Lee

Laura’s role as Head of Marketing sees her continually looking for new opportunities to tell the world how great Phase 3 is.

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