Xperience

Four ways to prepare for an IT system change

Saying goodbye is never easy but it’s often the only option! Preparing to swap out the old system for the new can be a daunting task, but it’s necessary if you’re to stay ahead with the times. Technology is evolving at an ever-increasing rate, as such it’s vital you review your processes and systems to ensure you’re able to remain competitive. To successfully manage a system change, we recommend you follow these tried and tested steps.

Understand Your Audience

Before you begin any systems change project, it’s critical you understand how your workforce currently works. Where do they face issues with the system they’re using now and how could the new system improve upon it?

Spend time with each department and document how processes work, along with any shortcomings. This will also help you prioritise tasks as part of the systems change project and influence how you stage the rollout of the new system.

Create a Clear Roadmap

We may have signed up for it, but do we really want it? In truth, it is only when faced with change that we realise quite how much we’d rather not. The scope of your plan to change your system will vary based on the type of technology you’ve selected, but could involve any or all the following elements:

Key dates

Set out when your new system will be ready to roll-out and when you require users to fully switch over to the new system.

Deployment tiers

Prioritise departments for rollout. Some features of the new system may prove more beneficial to certain departments to others. Know which departments you’ll focus on rolling the new system out to first. What’s more, once one department is on board, it won’t be before long that everyone wants a piece of the action.

Training

By setting out key dates and creating a tiered approach to the rollout you can focus on creating tailored training both pre-launch and post-launch. Decide what training will be given and how.

Rewards

To encourage adoption it’s good to devise a plan to recognise those who make an effort with the new system. Set your expectations for adoption and ensure they’re realistic, given the diversity of your workforce, but plan to reward those who go the extra mile.

Budget

Successful adoption of your new system will depend on all the above points, but essentially, it’ll all come down to budget. Factor in all costs including a drain on resources, the cost of any hurdles you may encounter, training and any rewards you decide to provide. This will also allow you to analyse the ROI both before and after the systems change.

Be transparent

Be prepared for extra homework as bedtime reading takes on new meaning.

No one likes to change, so it’s vital you put your teams at ease. Clearly communicate your plans to change systems and welcome feedback. Everyone likes to feel part of the team – It helps them feel valued and provides job satisfaction.

By requesting feedback and criticism you’ll be able to set clear objectives and provide benefits to all affected by the change. What’s more, 46% of companies admit to not fully understanding the value of project management, even though understanding boosts the success rate of strategic initiatives by 16%. So, clearly communicating what you’re planning to do and why will boost the success rate of adoption.

Provide Comprehensive Training

As stated by the Project Management Institute, having a knowledge transfer process in place boosts the chance of project success by over 20%!
By knowing your audience, creating a roadmap that is accessible for all to provide feedback upon, you should be able to create a training strategy tailored to each department and individual. Keep training sessions short – with topics kept to 20-30 minutes long. Utilise various ways of delivering the training including demonstrations, videos, seminars, and presentations. And, factor in training post-launch.

Checklist

When preparing for a system change, expect the unexpected. Only then can you plan in extra time and have a reserve budget that will allow you to complete your system change project successfully.

To further help you, we’ve created a list for you to identify whether you’re prepared:

  • Have you set out clear objectives as part of your plan?
  • Is the ROI of a system change understood?
  • Do you have set deadlines in place?
  • Have you carried out a final, detailed review of your plan with management?
  • Do you have a set budget?
  • Is your support system set up?
  • Have you asked for feedback from the entire team?
  • Do you have all the right documentation prepared, along with a disaster plan?
  • Has a training strategy been created?
  • Has the system change plan been communicated to the teams affected?