System Implementation — Push, Pull and Control

There are ever-stronger incentives and imperatives driving UK companies to consider IT system updates and overhauls.

And in some cases, the pushes and pulls are bringing rapid, ill-conceived system implementation that misses out the crucial steps needed to ensure a smooth process.

So, let’s look at the things driving organisations to explore major software implementation projects, and what’s required to make changeovers less fraught.

What are the pulls?

Technology companies are offering updates and new options at an ever-increasing rate. To stay competitive, it means companies must be constantly alert to how they can do things leaner, faster and in a more cost-effective way.

Automation is a fast-evolving science. If you don’t jump on ways to improve customer experience and staff efficiency, then your competitors will soon start to outpace you.

The same applies to the incentives offered by Big Data and the IoT. You snooze, you lose. New system implementation on a large scale may be required for companies who are able to invest in better data control and analytics to grow their business.

The pushes that bring software overhauls

Two of the biggest drivers of software implementation are more of a necessity: cybercrime and data protection laws.

The emergency of ransomware WannaCry then Petya has highlighted that no organisation can afford to be complacent. When the NHS and HM Prisons find their computers and essential files under threat, it clearly shows that all organisations need to stay on their toes.

This includes building proactive warning services into the IT systems and looking at ways of keeping firewall security updated. But for some companies, a complete system overhaul may be required.

There is also the spectre of the General Data Protection Regulation pushing IT changes and updates. The deadline for its implementation is now less than a year away. Compliance to avoid hefty fines includes far-reaching and stringent new controls over all aspects of data management — including encrypting personal information, with all the business complexities that entails.

Steps to take to ensure smooth system implementation

With so many forces pushing and pulling companies to update and even replace existing IT systems, there is an air of urgency surrounding the issue.

Change, or be damned.

But any system implementation requires measured and careful planning. This includes a very clear perception of the required outcomes, realistic milestones for how it will be achieved and contingencies for when it hits snags.

The software you choose should offer a time-tested methodology for its introduction. This should be measured against the peaks and troughs of your particular business. In this way, you can optimise the progress to be achieved in quieter periods, and compensate for likely pressures and bottlenecks.

Avoiding knee jerk IT overhauls doesn’t just require expert project management and careful planning.

Quite simply, the largest danger is forgetting the human side of the equation and leaving staff too much in the dark.

With the right IT support to overhaul systems and implement new strategies and software, the next vital component is employee engagement.

They will need to know why the change is necessary, how it will affect them day to day, and what the ultimate aims are.

It may even mean offering incentives to secure their commitment to implement the changes, plus rewards for them playing a role in quality control and data protection processes.

Controlling the bigger picture

If your new software implementation is isolated to one particular business function, it is easy to focus attention on that area, without factoring in the inevitable ripple effect.

System implementation planning and communication needs to be viewed from a distance by the project manager. They need to map out the repercussions and secure “buy in” from throughout the company, from inventory control and R&D, through production to marketing and finance.

Carefully orchestrated system implementation needs the right conductor

Getting the right IT support is clearly vital to orchestrate system implementation.

This doesn’t just mean having additional expertise to control the switch-over. It can also mean laying invaluable groundwork, such as putting as much of your IT function into Cloud services as possible. This can ensure it will be shared smoothly across multiple sites and remote workers for example.

For details of our IT support for planning, executing and measuring of system implementation, contact us today.