Implementing new software into your business is often perceived to be a risky proposition. Whether your concerns are around the credibility of the platform supplier, buy-in from your firms’ decision makers or agreement of internal users to trial and ultimately adopt new systems, processes and technology - software adoption can be wrought with challenges.
In this article we explore some of the aspects of technology adoption and provide some ideas for to help make adoption and implementation a little easier.
Carl Reader, accountancy industry commentator and columnist, joint chairman of business advisory firm d&t, and head of accounting at Practice Ignition, has over 18 years of experience in the accounting industry. He was one of the first to implement cloud based accounting, making him something of a pioneer since 2002. The firm has since won many industry awards and has resulted in partnerships with a plethora of high profile clients. If you were going to take advice from anyone, Carl Reader should be one of them, and this is what he suggests:
Professional demonstrations of the software - Seek a provider who will give you a personalised tour of their product and can show you the full extent of how it works in the context of your firm’s needs.
Make sure the tech suits your workflow
Often, we might see an exciting new software platform and decide that we simply 'must' have it... with all its bells, whistles and shiny interface. Before you get carried away though, at the demo stage ensure the software matches your workflow, rather than trying to shoehorn your workflow into the sexy new software. Sure there might be compromises and new workflow aspects to consider, but you need to make sure the software works for you and your team. Ask lots of questions and involve prospective internal users, even at this early stage.
Take advantage of free trials
If a software provider offers a free trial period, you should utilise the opportunity to familiarise not only yourself, but also your team with the software. That way, by the end of the trial period, you will have substantial experience with the technology and recognise its impact on your firm.
Additionally, should you have any issues at this trial stage, you'll be able to get an idea on the level of support available from the provider.
Feedback from your team
When you include your team in the free trial, you have the opportunity to obtain feedback from the people who will use it most. From this, you can gauge the effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of the software before committing to it.
Including your team in this process helps ensure internal buy-in and adoption later on.
If in doubt, commit less now - upgrade later
This point relates specifically to SaaS (software as a service) technology. Most software providers will have subscription options based on different requirements. Ensure you know what each level provides and determine the most appropriate one based on your firm’s needs. If you're not entirely sure what level to adopt at the outset, start with a lower subscription level and increase your package / functionality from there. Most technology providers are happy for you to upgrade your package, but will be reluctant to allow for downgrades.
We have become accustomed to multiple apps being integrated into the same software. For example, the ability to log in to one platform using the existing details from another. This has reduced the need to input the same information multiple times, therefore improving the efficiency of business operations and reducing the risk of error. If this kind of integration is important to you, ensure the software provider allows you to integrate other apps to promote smooth workflow.
Assign ‘internal champions’
Designate one person or a small team of people to specialise in the technology. If they know everything about the software, they become the first port of call when other employees are experiencing problems with it. This person or team can also ensure the software is being used appropriately and optimally.
Train your team
As previously mentioned, ensure your workforce is included from the moment you are considering the new technology. When you have completed the free trial period, it is recommended to get your team fully trained in the software so they know how to utilise it properly, and understand the benefits of using it.
Get professional support
If you are upgrading your entire system and you do not possess the expertise knowledge of technology to successfully integrate the new system yourself, you could hire a professional to implement the change. This will reduce the occurrence of errors which can lead to frustration, project delays, and potential increases in project costs.
Technology integration can be brilliant, but don’t get carried away!
Although technological advancements can be exciting and it can be beneficial to try new things, you should be aware that integrating new technology can potentially cause problems. Something called 'app overwhelm' refers to when individuals are exposed to many different apps over a short period of time, which for some, leads to confusion and frustration. Understandably, this may result in reduced productivity as well as harbor negative attitudes towards the firm. Therefore, if you would like to consider a new software, weigh the pros and cons before introducing it and have a well-defined exit strategy for the existing technology to allow for a smooth transition.
If you would like to see how Clinked could benefit your firm, why not book a demo with one of our excellent team members where you will be taken on a personalised tour based on your requirements. Remember, ask all the questions you need to make an informed decision and see how Clinked could be a great fit for your business.
With extensive experience working across all areas of marketing, content creation and software development, Kent has a wealth of experience supporting innovative businesses in achieving their goals and engaging audiences.