We’ve been managing software implementations for major brands for over 20 years. By overcoming countless challenges, setbacks, and underwhelming outcomes, we’ve developed a process that ensures the best possible results within an efficient timeline. However, a successful software implementation requires commitment from the software provider and the company’s end users. Without support on both sides, the process can become a drawn-out, time-consuming, organizational nightmare. The most common pain points that clients endure during software implementations are:
- Elongated timelines
- Miscommunicated expectations
- Bottlenecked decision-making
Proper preparation can prevent these pain points. Here’s what to expect when undergoing a new software implementation and how to make it go as smoothly as possible.
Understand Your Role in the Software Implementation
Clients who are highly engaged in the implementation process are more likely to enjoy a smooth implementation and an on-time launch. Have an established project plan, understand your list of deliverables and deadlines, and allocate time for communication and coordination so that the timeline doesn’t get held up on your account. Many clients underestimate their involvement in the process because they expect the software provider to manage most of the workload. While the provider does manage a lot, creating a frictionless workflow is essential for a successful implementation so critical information and permissions can be exchanged throughout the process.
Clean Up Your Data Before the Implementation
Providing data in the correct formats can be one of the most challenging parts of software implementation. To make the process as painless as possible, scrub your data long before the implementation begins so that no extra work is required. That way it’s up-to-date and accurate when you need it. Send your software provider sample data early on; this will allow them to understand your data structures and identify any formatting or quality concerns. Then your software provider will provide base file layouts for you to match to the rest of your data accordingly.
Have Your Campaigns Ready to Launch
Consider what your biggest goals are for your new software once it’s up and running, then make sure the campaigns you want to use it for are ready. Chances are you’ll need to upload your campaign materials and parameters into your new software platform to fully launch it. For example, clients that are using our brand management solution should identify the creative assets that channel partners use most frequently and provide them to BrandMuscle so they’re ready to be downloaded immediately after a successful implementation.
Identify a Project Manager, Decision Maker, and a Small Supporting Implementation Team
Designate a core implementation team of two to three individuals. We find that if too many people are involved in the software implementation process, clients have a hard time making decisions, and that slows progress. If brand management is part of your solution, we suggest that you include a creative stakeholder with knowledge of Adobe InDesign. If Fund Management is part of your solution, include a stakeholder with knowledge of your brand’s co-op guidelines and accrual process.
Communicate Which Browsers End Users Typically Use
Certain software is built for specific browsers, so find out which browsers your end users mainly use and communicate that to the implementation team. BrandMuscle supports one of the two newest, most fully released versions of Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox. While other versions may still work, BrandMuscle only develops on the browsers defined above and will build quality assurance scenarios based on the browsers prioritized by your end users.
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