Bespoke Software Implementation Plan: Six Critical Steps
Have you ever introduced new software into your business, only to realise that things aren't going as smoothly as you quite hoped?
Don't worry, you're not alone. Unfortunately, this is an experience felt by lots of businesses when deploying new software due to poor strategy. That's where a software implementation plan comes in. But what do we mean by this exactly?
Software implementation refers to the process of adopting and integrating a software application into a business workflow, typically as part of a wider digital transformation strategy.
A software implementation plan is much like a roadmap for this, helping everyone stay on track and set up the software for success.
In this blog, we'll dive into what a software implementation plan is, why it's important, and the five critical steps needed to create one to ensure that your software project is a success!
Why is a software implementation plan important?
A software implementation plan is important because it outlines the steps and resources needed to successfully deploy a new software system. It makes sure that everything runs smoothly and on time, and that everyone involved knows what's expected of them. Plus, it helps identify any potential roadblocks so we can avoid them before they become bigger issues.
Think of it like a GPS Satnav for a road trip — it helps you get where you want to go while also helping you avoid traffic and find sneaky detours if needed. Having a plan in place just makes the whole process of software deployment a lot easier and stress-free for everyone involved.
Who is involved in developing a software implementation plan?
A software implementation plan typically involves several key stakeholders including project managers, software developers, quality assurance specialists, project sponsors, and at times, end-users. Other members of a cross-functional team, such as designers, data analysts, and security specialists may also be involved, depending on the scope of the project. The more diverse the team is in terms of skills and knowledge, the better chances of developing a plan that ticks all the boxes and ensures the successful implementation of the software solution!
So, now you know the basics, let’s get into the steps involved in the process!
6 steps to consider in your software implementation plan
Like with most business projects, evaluation is a critical step to ensuring successful software implementation. First and foremost, when introducing new software into a business, it's important to ensure that the teams, IT structure, and operations are ready for the change. Just think of it like this — if the team isn’t ready to use the new software, or the IT infrastructure isn't set up to handle it, then things might not run so smoothly.
Check to see if any new equipment is needed or if you need to put on any extra training sessions for the team so that they know exactly what to expect from the software. It’s also a good idea to execute the plan and implement software during quieter periods of your business to minimise disruption.
#2: Be transparent
Open communication and transparency are super important when deploying new software. Firstly, clear communication helps everyone involved to understand what's going on, what's expected of them, and how they can best support the deployment process. This way, everyone is on the same page, and any confusion or misunderstandings can be more easily prevented.
Transparency also helps to build trust and ensures that everyone is comfortable with the changes being made. Implementing new software can be a big transformation and it’s not uncommon for team members to feel apprehensive about the change in the workplace and what it might mean for them. If people feel like they have a good understanding of what's happening and why they are more likely to embrace the new software and get on board with using it, helping them to transition to a new way of working more seamlessly.
Lastly, open communication with your employees helps to identify any potential challenges or problems before they arise, so they can be dealt with proactively, reducing the risk of delays or issues down the line.
#3: Test, Test, Test!
Another important step when implementing new software refers to testing. Once your bespoke software has been developed, you’ll need to put it through a thorough testing and quality assurance process. This is important as it helps catch any bugs or issues that could cause problems for users; ensures that everything works as expected; and ensures that your end-users will have a positive experience.
As well as helping to ensure a smooth journey when deploying your software, testing is particularly important when it comes to security. With cybercrime on the rise, detecting and fixing any vulnerabilities in your software will help to combat any chances of attack which could have costly implications.
#4: Distribute resources wisely
To achieve successful software implementation, it's important to make sure you have enough resources on hand to help make the plan a reality, including skilled team members, time, and money,
It’s wise to consider all the potential bumps in the road that you might come across during the software implementation process, and what resources you are likely to need to smooth them over. This way, you can have a backup plan ready just in case things don't go as planned. Plus during this process, it'll give you a clear understanding of what resources you have, and what you might need to secure before implementing the software.
#5: Keep optimising
So you’ve had a successful software launch, but does the work stop there? The key to having software that goes above and beyond for your company in terms of ROI is down to continuous optimisation and review.
This essentially means having a strong plan in place to track feedback and use this to improve the software throughout its lifecycle. User feedback and evaluation can provide helpful insights into what is working well and which areas need improvement. By listening to users and incorporating their feedback, you can make sure that the software continues to meet their needs and provides a great experience for everyone involved.
#6: Review the software implementation process
Last but certainly not least, when creating any plan, it’s always extremely helpful to look back and review how the process went. Use metrics to determine whether your software implementation was a success. There are several metrics that can be used to determine the success of a software implementation, including:
- User Adoption: the number of users using the software.
- User Satisfaction: how happy users are with the software.
- Time to Value: how quickly users are able to start using the software and seeing benefits from it.
- Software Performance: includes metrics such as response time, stability, and availability.
- User Engagement: the amount of time users spend using the software and how actively they use it.
- Return on Investment (ROI): the financial benefits of the software implementation, including reduced costs, increased revenue and improved productivity.
When reviewing your software implementation plan, you may find various areas that could be improved when deploying future software. For instance, maybe you could’ve done more thorough testing pre-launch, or perhaps you needed more skilled IT professionals on hand to ensure a smoother transition. Maybe next time you’ll call upon an experienced software agency to handle the whole process. Whatever the finding, this reviewing stage is a great opportunity to ensure your next software launch is an even greater success.
At Rocketmakers, we specialise in adopting an Agile approach to software development — it’s how we make sure we build the right product, and build the product right. When working with our clients, we ensure that when it comes to software implementation, no stone is left unturned. Our rigorous process involves our team of developers, designers and software architects putting users at the centre of our process. The results speak for themselves.
If you're ready to start your next software development project, get in touch.