Julie Ginn is Marketing Director at Axium, a software development company specializing in accounting, project management and business development software solutions for the architectural and engineering (A/E) industry.
How human behavior affects software implementation success
March 4th, 2010 by Julie Ginn
To a large extent, implementation success depends on human behavior. Oftentimes the real key to success lies in two critical components: the right person leading the process and an honest evaluation of a firm’s readiness for change. Every person has a different tolerance level for change, and motivation and education goes a long way to easing uncertainty and fear. If you’re looking at implementing new software, one of the most important factors you should consider is human nature.
Make sure your expectations are realistic, not idealistic
Don’t underestimate the time it’ll take to make a shift in your firm’s cultural habits and processes. At the outset of the implementation, you should consider lowering expectations to allow some time for user adoption. It’s important to keep in mind that software is a tool but it will be real humans who make it work. It’s good to pinpoint who will be your champions, and who will dig their heels in. Sometimes the best course of action is a limited roll-out before extending the software to the rest of the organization to gauge peoples’ response.
Communication, Motivation, Education
Articulating the value of new software to every person affected is key. Remember to emphasize what the firm is trying to accomplish instead of presenting a list of software features. People can relate to end goals. Take a close look at the processes in place now – which ones work and which ones should be revamped – and illustrate how new software can not only fix what’s been broken, but can make everyone’s job a little easier.
In today’s constantly evolving competitive arena, change is something that cannot be avoided if a company is going to survive. Most people do not love nor crave change. This is why it’s necessary to do an honest assessment of your people and your current culture before you begin the implementation process. In the end, it’s going to be the individual users who will determine whether or not your firm will get the most value out of a software investment and achieve the goals the change is intended to drive.