With new technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Automation exploding the number of HRTech offerings, the variety also acts as a burden in the eyes of many tech buyers.
Selecting the best software for their needs is only a part of the task, and when it’s a group decision (as it should be), a software’s feature set usually is what sways the choice. Instead, businesses should consider the software’s industry success history, flexibility, customer support and integration ability. It’s this last element that keeps buyers up at night.
A successful implementation is the most important part of ensuring that the software solution you’re spending all the money on will end up making a solid return on investment. Buyers and vendors know this all too well, yet time and again, it is not just the last hurdle to cross, but the one that trips up most often.
I’m not going to get in the weeds with a review of technical development techniques such as Continuous Integration and Deployment, but I am going to highlight the critical steps a company should invest in to ensure implementation success.
One of the most important steps is including end-users from all teams and departments in the decision-making process. Many companies focus their efforts on gaining approval from executive leadership, but they should also be engaging key employees who will be using the system the most. It’s crucial to involve employees beyond the IT team. Engaging actual users of the new software in every step of the decision-making process will ensure everyone is invested from the earliest stage in finding and implementing the right solution as smoothly as possible.
Employee inclusion and engagement goes hand in hand with change management as an absolute requirement when implementing a new solution. Indeed, the ability to effectively manage change may very well be the most important skill executives, managers, and employees need to master. Most software vendors will offer user training and continuous modules for self learning, but this is inadequate when introducing a new process or system — especially when you consider software programs like AI and NLP, which are delivering entirely new work flows. Business transformations are beginning to take place without effectively managing change; when there are new processes introduced, factoring in the people aspect of the change that goes beyond how the technology streamlines the business operation is a key element.
Strategic planning needs to be a big part of the implementation. Companies should identify necessary process changes early in the implementation process, and users need to focus not only the transactional aspects, but also the changing interaction with other users and with systems not part of the new solution. By mapping this out in advance, users are likely to accept the new system at a faster pace and with greater success.
The degree to which a company invests in and supports an internal implementation team will depend on the complexity of the software system being deployed. As outlined, software complexity is not as important as the change in business process that the new program provides. Choosing a software vendor that will work with your internal team to ensure the integration, implementation, and roll out succeeds, is just as important as the wizardry that the software is supposed to deliver. Savvy buyers research past implementation case studies of prospective software vendors and place the ones with a successful track record at the top of their list.
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