Roadmap to a Successful Business Software Implementation
by Dan Weaver, DynaSCAPE Account Manager
When implementing a business software solution there are many key factors that lead to a successful implementation. Of course, the road to success will come with obstacles and challenges that can arise throughout the process but having the proper mindset and leadership team to manage the project from the top down, will significantly help any company achieve their desired end goal.
Here at DynaSCAPE we coach hundreds of landscape businesses on green industry best practices including: budget setting, cost book creation, sales pipeline management, cost-based estimating and job tracking workflows. All with the goal to produce profitable jobs and increase productivity. Critical to the successful implementation is patience, challenging work and guidance; and, of course, it is critical to also have a software solution and company that will coach and guide you through the journey.
So, how does a successful implementation happen?
Start with a game plan that includes a critical path, milestones, goals and an ideal go live date. Creating, outlining and simply working backwards from the end goal, drastically improves your odds of your team’s successful implementation of a business operating system. Here at DynaSCAPE, we take your business through a series of configuration and training sessions where we coach and help upload your budgets, materials and labour rates and show you how to use the system, end to end, to help establish the game plan before we kick off the project.
Change in Culture, Operations and Work Flow
There are many options and levels of software on the market today that address specific aspects of your landscape business and others that provide end to end software solutions that will fully transform the way your business runs their operations, work flow and processes from initial call to final invoice. No matter the size of the software solution or business, the first factor we discuss is that operational changes are necessary to adopt the new system. We have learned this through hundreds of successful implementations through the years. Not every implementation is successful, which is where we identify the issues and course-correct where necessary, until the desired result is achieved.
Buy-in From the Key Players
The process should always start at the top. When implementing a landscape business operating system or any software solution that will change the way you operate and conduct business, it requires focused time and attention from the business leadership. A key point to note here is that the entire team has full buy-in and by having the confidence and direction from team leadership, will set the stage for a successful implementation.
Having the Right People in the Room
It is equally important to have the right people in the room during configuration and training meetings. The leader of the project “Champion” should oversee this and will be tasked to make sure they include the right people in each session. For example, if the session is on sales CRM and estimating, make sure to have the sales and estimating team present. If the session is on job tracking, make sure project and operation managers are included. If the meeting is around payroll, billing and invoicing, make sure to include the office manager, accounting and accounts payable/receivable personnel. This will not only help with the overall communication and highlight what is expected for each team member, but it plays a larger role in building the trust from top down, thus making the team feel involved throughout the entire process. Again, the owner and leadership team MUST be involved during the entire process to ensure a successful implementation.
Scheduling, Planful Approach and Goals
Before we hit the ground running and kick off the project, it is important to schedule and plan an approach for the project. The biggest factor here is to be realistic with your time and resources. First you want to have a “champion” in your organization that will lead the project and be responsible for tasking certain employees with homework during the implementation. The second largest factor is seasonality and timing. For example, it probably isn’t the best time to implement during “The 100 Days of Hell – Spring!” Pick a time that best suits your business (of course there is no ideal time to make changes) but be mindful of when you have the right amount of resources and time to commit to the project.
Making Meetings and Being Prepared
Once you decide on the best time of year for your big improvement project, make sure to show up and come prepared to these scheduled meetings with your training specialist. Missing meetings is the number one reason for stalling or delaying a project, which has severe consequences down the road like pushing back your “Go Live Date” effecting the success of your business system.
Practice, Practice, Practice
During the configuration and training meetings we outline and provide best business practices, work flows, how to use the system and provide home work. We preach that practice, practice, practice is always the key to improving and learning any software. By not practicing what was taught, you can easily forget and settle on old familiar processes. Be sure to ask for help, reference recorded training sessions and use the many resources provided to help with the learning of the system. All of this will help drastically during the transition to a great business system.
Software is only as powerful as the set-up, understanding, learning and practice of the system. By following the top down approach and attitude from your leadership team, having a planful approach, being prepared, making the scheduled meetings and having the right people involved, will ensure this success formula for creating a great culture and buy-in from your employees. If you follow these steps, the transition to a productive and streamlined business operation will be a breeze. Let us know your plan, we are here to help guide your business through this journey and would love to chat more about how our software solutions can help make your business GREAT!