Thoughts to consider for a new software rollout

Ensuring staff adaptation of a new software

The time has come, you’ve finally signed off internally on the decision to utilise a new piece of software, or advanced functionality in existing technology. The problem is, you now need to convince your team they need to use it regularly and the benefits of doing so.

The following article draws on knowledge from helping global client’s rollout software and facing problems such as staff adaptation, rolling time zones and technological barriers.

Set clear, trackable objectives in advance

There are strategic benefits in sharing your milestone goals with the team, some questions you may wish to ask yourself, and provide answers to your team. Some example questions are:

  • What do you want achieved within the first week? Month? Quarter? Year?
  • What benefit is the new technology bringing to the company?
  • What is the minimum return of usage to make the project a success?
  • What training plan will be provided to the appropriate people?

Sharing the strategic overview with your team is critical to ensuring a smooth rollout. You may well have spent the time building a business case for a new technology adaptation, so most of the objectives can be gleamed from within.

Communication

Each member of the team needs to understand ‘why’ there is a change, how it affects them and what is in it for them. Sometimes, a single blanket email won’t quite convey the message clearly enough, a series of messages weekly leading up to the ‘go live’ or small, digestible team meetings to introduce the new technologies and set out training plans and goals.

Strategic rollout time

Ideally you will begin using the new technology within 1 or 2 days of the start of your internal work week. The closer to the end of the week you go for the rollout, the less consecutive days your team will have to use the software and the more likely the following week will see a drop in accurate usage. Many businesses see benefit in rolling out a training or pilot scheme for the initial week, with a full launch the following week.

Similarly, a rollout shouldn’t occur during a large project, immediately upon conclusion of a large project or during peak holiday season if possible.

Peer re-enforcement

The reality is, in most cases local peers hold more sentimental value to a staff member, than team members in higher roles within the business. In some scenarios this also extends to team members in other offices or branches.  There are often ways to incentivise this by providing bonuses or rewards for adoption. For example, you may wish to provide a packet of biscuits or an early finish if over an 80% adoption in the first week. This will change the driving motivation from needing to use the tool to keep management happy, to using the tool to ensure fellow colleagues get a reward.

Embrace mobile

Research has shown that many working adults have access to mobile & tablet devices now and an upwards trend in usage and availability is predicted. Many software will now provide access to an accompanying app, which synchronises data with the desktop solution, or removes the need entirely.

This workflow also allows for seamless usage. Your team will be able to utilise the technology to complete their requirements in whichever location they are, often without internet access being required.

Understand how it will integrate with other systems (if at all)

It may be that the new technology will bolster the use of other (existing) technologies, by either supplementing data or taking data and transforming it further. Conveying this to your team, by showing them how much more efficiently the business can operate, with less admin work being manually completed.

Will there be a change in technologies? Are there any other business processes or workflows that will require changes in order to work parallel to the new technology? If so, these changes will need to be made before the rollout, so that your colleagues aren’t learning a new system, as well as changing what they know with existing systems at the same time.

Training

Most importantly, training. Create a plan that suits your workforce and their independent learning styles. Some of the most popular options are:

  • Face to face personal training
  • Face to face Web Seminar
  • Pre-recorded materials (Videos)
  • Distributable PDF guides
  • Group webinars

 

It may often be a mixture of the above, or repetitions of meetings or webinars. Ensuring that everyone is trained appropriately is the surest way to ensure a smooth rollout. Each confusion or lack of understanding will only compound and push disdain for the new technology even further.

If you’d like to know more about how we help our clients rollout timesheet software, please do get in touch.

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