A certain amount of resistance to change is simply part of human nature. When it comes to IT is it any wonder senior management sway towards the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude? When faced with new software or IT projects there always seems to be ‘issues’ IT will have to deal with. No one really understands IT like the IT department, ‘unknown’ acronyms such as FTP, IMAP, SQL, SSL/HTTPS and API add to the confusion of other departments, getting to the implementation phase is time-consuming; all of which can exaggerate the work actually required. Assumptions and projections have to be made about the benefits of a new software, and also about additional costs such as training and resource required to work with the system. Then there are hesitations around ‘the cloud’ and ‘data protection’.
When the bottom line is the bottom line all of this can make it hard to guarantee a return on investment. So many revert to ‘let’s not change’.
“If I can pass on any advice to other managers it would be this; look at your current processes, be self-critical and do not rest on that age-old stance of “we have always done it this way.”
To see Your Housing Group’s full case study click here.
However, lack of use of innovative technology also has major consequences. And selecting the right software that will truly enable you to derive real value can be difficult. Changing ways of working and adopting new software can increase productivity and efficiency, reduce maintenance costs and free up time/resource which, in the case of compliance, can lead to improved safety and ultimately lives saved.
So how can you prepare for the implementation of new software?
Establish exactly how the new software integrates:
Does the software retrofit into your existing processes and systems? If it doesn’t, you need to evaluate just how much time and resource is required to integrate. Will it stop you using current systems? How easy is it to integrate with other software providers? Does it mean you have to change other systems? Can all your contractors upload to it? These are all items to consider before choosing the software as it could result in hidden costs and time considerations.
Assess your IT infrastructure and processes:
Implementing new services or processes within your organisation is disruptive. SaaS (Software as a Service) Cloud solutions and a well thought out migration plan help mitigate this. Downtime or data loss shouldn’t even be concerns at implementation if they were thought about during planning.
Address company culture:
New software can bring a change in the company culture, which can also come with apprehension from staff. If the idea is to shift the culture to one of more collaboration and streamlining, simply providing the tools within the new software is not enough. This needs to be turned around to emphasise the benefits and elevate fears, to explain why the change is important, and how it can positively affect not only the company as a whole but also the individuals involved.
As Lorenzi and Riley note, “People who have low psychological ownership in a system and who vigorously resist its implementation can bring a ‘technically best’ system to its knees.”*
Get the most out of your training:
Use the training to help empower your team members and as a tool to overcome resistance. The more people feel that they are in control and have a responsibility to the outcome, the more likely it will be the one you are desiring.
It is also important that the software provider addresses your unique business processes and challenges, and can adapt to accommodate where possible.
Define user roles and security:
- Think about who will use the new software before the training so that job roles can be assigned.
- Ensure that the software provider meets data protection regulations and hosts the software and your data securely.
- Many data breaches originate internally, in many cases by accident. Make sure data can be accessed, viewed and modified by the correct users to help protect your data. If the software is used on mobile devices have a contingency plan for if a device is misplaced or stolen – ensure they are password protected.
Clean up your data:
Implementing a new software can give you the chance to clean up your data. Have you archived your outdated data? Are you able to use historical data to provide a benchmark for going forward?
Narrow down what you want from the software:
What do you need out of the new software to enable reports to hit your business goals and objectives? Implementation is the perfect opportunity to align the reports you need, the dates you need to flag, the frequency of the reports and who they get sent to etc.
Develop a path to success:
Make sure you have a feedback protocol in place for both your teams and an open channel to your software provider. Any issues need to be resolved quickly to stop kickback from your teams which will have a negative impact on moral and successful implementation. Check that the software provider has a ‘help-desk’ system in place for raising issues, and how long their response times are. Do they have resources for continued support, FAQs, online tutorials, manuals, newsletters on software updates etc?
It will also ensure that both your team and the software provider are operating at their fullest potential.
Who owns your data?
Ensure that your data always belongs to you. Check the small print to make sure the software company don’t own the data uploaded to their system. If they do it could involve costs if/when you wish to cancel your agreements with the provider and get your data out of the software.
A change will always meet resistance, but investing some time and thought into the process can help ensure the successful implementation of new software.
If you would like to find out how The Compliance Workbook could work for you please contact us: