Mapping out a software implementation process in a care business
When introducing a brand new software system into a business, you need time to prepare and implement it properly. Not only will you need to help your employees transition over to a new platform, but you’ll also need to understand how different processes and departments may be affected by the change.
We like to describe it as an implementation ‘journey’’. In this article, we’ll share some of our experiences of typical implementation processes – and take you through a roadmap of sorts that will help you to understand how software implementation can fit seamlessly into a business schedule.
The seven key steps to implementing new software in a business
- Assigning the right leaders to manage the implementation
- A formal meeting to kick off the implementation project
- A project plan to detail the project deliverables and agreed timelines.
- Setting up your software environment
- Training your team
- Testing your new software
Let’s go into each step in more detail.
Acquiring and implementing software in a business is a huge project, which is why it’s important to have project leaders to help keep things on track. In larger businesses, this may be handled by a dedicated IT manager or a business operations team. But in smaller businesses, you may have to nominate someone from your senior team.. Choose someone with experience managing people, with the time to meet objectives, and who understands how each department works.
Your software provider should introduce a dedicated team including an Account Manager and a Project Manager (who will be particularly useful if you don’t have your own IT specialist or project team). In some cases, a Business Analyst will complete a deep dive to review your processes, and potential costs and ensure that values are aligned.
Project kick-off is a formal meeting to initiate the project. This is generally organised by your software provider, but you will need to take part and contribute.
The kick-off meeting’s purpose is to establish the project’s scope, timeline, people’s roles and responsibilities, and how everyone will work together. You should also discuss the collaboration tools that you will be using with your software provider- such as work management platforms (e.g Jira, Monday.com), digital storage spaces (e.g Google Docs, OneDrive) and communication tools (e.g Slack, Teams).
After kick-off, you will receive a project plan from your software provider outlining the agreed deliverables and timeframes.
Remember, that while the plan is the foundation for your implementation, it isn’t set in stone – it should evolve as circumstances dictate.
So don’t forget to review the plan regularly with your provider to ensure that you can meet your goals and objectives.
Set-up is the crucial period when the software is prepared for launch in your business.
This can be different depending on whether you are implementing digital software for the first time or migrating from an existing provider.
Your software provider should help you by migrating data, completing any special development work you have requested, and setting up your system environment.
Implementing new software can be a daunting experience for your employees. So it’s important to get the training stage right. Your software provider may have a dedicated software trainer to help roll out training across the business. This may be conducted via in-person training sessions, group video calls or video tutorials.
During this phase, you may have access to a test environment to play with the software and its features.
Prepare to launch
This is when your software provider will ‘hand hold’ and ensure that all areas of the system are fully utilised, working as expected and that all users of the product are completely comfortable with functionality before your new software goes live.
Go live is the final stretch of your implementation marathon. It is the day that your software is handed over and you begin to use it across your business. It is the point at which your test environment is fully switched to a live system.
Go live is a huge milestone in your project implementation, but it is not the end of your journey. It is a time to be extra vigilant to ensure a smooth transition, and monitor the system for any errors.
At this stage, you should feel supported by your provider and be working together to continuously improve your experience.
Want to read more about managing software implementation in a home care business? Check out our comprehensive project implementation page.