Demonstrate new products' capabilities for all involved


POSTED: Sunday, November 15, 2009

All too often, we hear about great software products that never catch on and end up going to the great bit bucket in the sky. There are certain guidelines that should always be kept in mind to ensure a smooth software implementation, most of which have nothing to do with technology.

The fact is that whenever you have a disparate group of human beings involved, every experience is different. Typically, however, there needs to be a universal recognition that a change is needed. Many technology products often fall into the category of a solution in search of a problem, or what we call “;technology for the sake of it.”; This situation needs to be avoided. This seems like an obvious step, but even nontechnical products suffer from this problem.

As such, an endorsement from the greater community is needed. This includes line staff and all levels of management.

Because you're dealing with different agendas and personalities, it is difficult to obtain such endorsements. But this is a critical step. Make sure the key players at all levels of the organization are aware of the proposed changes and what benefits such changes might bring.

Next, identify who might be your most influential, visible and vocal supporters. Meet with these people to demonstrate the benefits of the new software.

Supporters should be encouraged to continue their cooperation and provided with information to fortify their positions.

Further, identify your detractors as well. These folks should be made well aware of the potential benefits, but their reasons for opposition need to be heard and examined. This can be helpful to identify possible pitfalls that might not always be foreseen by enthusiastic supporters.

Of course, many times detractors complain simply due to personality defects or differing agendas, which are difficult if not impossible to remedy. But hearing out your detractors, especially influential, visible, and vocal ones, helps to mitigate any negative feedback.

As you go through the software development (or selection) process, it will be important to keep both supporters and detractors involved along the way. Regular communication on progress, demonstrations if possible and continual reminders of the benefits are extremely beneficial.

In the end, if you have followed these steps, your software implementation should be much smoother. In fact, our experience has been that even the simplest and most rudimentary systems are rarely met with negative comments.


John Agsalud is director of professional services, Pacific region, for Decision Research Corp. Reach him at 949-8316, ext. 171., or at johnagsalud@decision- research.com.