Champions for Change Needed!
Successful software implementation requires executive buy-in
Change is good. But change can be pretty damn hard when it comes to rolling out new software in an organization. There are two major issues at play creating a barrier to successful adoption of any new software or process among users: fear and habit.
Fear – We fear the unknown. “New Software” is an inherently scary concept to a lot of people. The mere mention of anything technological is enough to send some employees running for the hills. There is comfort and stability in using the same old software day after day, year after year; people know how to use it, even if it’s not necessarily useful to them. Employees may be fearful that the new software won’t do what they expect, or that they will have difficulty learning how to use it.
Habit – We are creatures of habit. We like routine and we like to know what’s going on (or at least feel like we do). When a new software or process is introduced in an organization, it is bound to disrupt the habits of employees. Convincing staff to rethink or relearn habits can be a massive challenge.
So how do we deal with these issues and overcome them? There are lots of rules of thumb that can be integrated into a new software implementation plan: great training and support, communicating the objective of the software, making it about the user and publicizing savings (time and money) can all be essential parts of your strategy, but there is one factor that is probably the most important: Executive Buy-In.
At least one major player in the company – the CEO, the President, a Project Lead – must show complete enthusiasm and support for the new software. They must spread their enthusiasm to the rest of the team. Someone in a position of power and control in the company must be a champion for the change. The implementation of a new software solution is not an IT issue – it’s a company-wide issue and without a vocal advocate leading the charge, it’s unlikely that there will be the necessary adoption of the solution. Lack of support from those at the top of the pyramid is one of the main reasons new software implemetations fail.
To be successful, get the CEO, President, project managers, development leaders, and people of influence in the company and make sure they’re not just on board, but truly and infectiously excited about the software. There must be reinforcement from the top - whether it's making use of the system mandatory for a trial period or offering incentives for active users. If you can communicate the importance of using the system to your team with top executives in full support of the solution, your successful software implementation is only steps away.