When a business decides it is time to implement a new business system and gets down to the final selection of software and implementation partner there is one question that always gets asked that is one of the biggest questions there is…
“So, how long is this going to take?”
The sales answer is always something along the lines of “not too long…” and “this is routine…”
However, the issue here is that often the technology, education and implementation methodology that is being sold does not really line up with these expectations.
You are about to make a huge investment in software and that investment is much larger than just the price tag of the app itself, so of course you want to have it up and running as soon as possible. But if a timeline sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
To get a good feel for how long it’s going to take there are a few really key things to look at.
Technology Platform – Is this application going to require the purchase of hardware and require the setup and configuration of servers? Or is it a cloud/hosted app that will be up and running quickly? Point blank ask the salesperson how long it takes to get a new instance of the application up and running to the point that an administrator can log into it. Is it hours, days, or weeks?
Available learning resources – The absolute biggest driver to how quickly software can be implemented is the number of internal resources dedicated to getting it going. And the most important thing to empower those internal resources is training that is available outside of instructor or consultant led training. Many business software apps have little to no self-guided training available. And if they do, it usually requires an extra payment or subscription to the training.
General ease of use – Over time it has almost become expected that business systems are clunky and unintuitive. This is one of the largest reasons it takes so much longer than expected to get them rolled out. Learning to navigate requires training from an expert and becomes an exercise in memorization rather than following natural functional flows. Make sure the application you select truly is easy to use. This means that natively it is easy to find data even if you do not know where to go to look it up.
Ability to configure vs customize – During the implementation there are going to be things that come up that require the system to be tailored to the needs of your business. Does the software have a platform that allows you to make these changes easily? Or is it going to require custom programming?
Does the platform cover all areas of your business – One thing to really look at when implementing new business software is to make sure it handles all critical areas of the business because adding in third party software adds time and complexity. There are cases where it is needed, but when it’s a core area of the business an integrated solution is always best.
The bottom line is that there are enough variables that add time to a business software implementation project such as employee time constraints, competing projects and unexpected events. The technology itself should never be a reason or a roadblock to implementing in a timely manner.
If you have questions about how to implement new software or are looking to implement software for the first time we can help!
At Blaze IT were experts in all stages of implementing software to streamline, modernize, and accelerate your business.