Checklist and tips: How to successfully introduce new software in your company

How change management processes can support you.

You've implemented new enterprise software, but now you are faced with the following problem: Your employees don't understand the software. But where did you take a wrong turn? Let's take a few steps back together and see what processes you might have overlooked to help your employees understand the software. How do you do a better job of introducing the software? What points should you consider next time so that no one is left behind?


In this article, we'd like to look at software implementation in the context of change management. But what is change management anyway? The business dictionary defines it as follows:


Change management is the 'ongoing adaptation of corporate strategies and structures to changing conditions.' This can also be seen as a process for implementing change in companies.


However, it is often easier said than done, as 70% of change management processes either fail or fizzle out. We would like to take a look at the steps that need to be gone through to ensure that everyone involved is involved and, in retrospect, satisfied with the new enterprise software. What methods from change management can be adopted to make the process even more successful?


The problem with digital technologies: User manuals


Who hasn't experienced it? You've just bought a technical device and now you don't know what to do - the user manual is too complicated and you have no clue how to operate the device. But even the simplest piece of IKEA furniture can end up in a disastrous setup if the instruction manual is faulty or incomprehensible.


The industry association Bitkom examined this very problem by means of a representative survey and established the following: Just under half (47%) of people in Germany have problems understanding operating instructions and thus making better use of digital technologies. Although the interest is there, the majority of respondents (61%) would like easier-to-understand instructions, personal help (48%) and simpler user interfaces (40%).


The question now is how this can be transferred to the introduction of enterprise software. It's quite simple: If employees are not introduced to the new software step by step and in a way that is easy to understand, this leads to frustration. This reduces the willingness to learn how to handle and use the software properly. Fears, mistrust and the feeling of being left in the lurch lead to massive initial difficulties that can be hardly reversed and prevent a good introduction process.


Introducing the software: A process

You have made the decision to introduce new software. The most important thing first: You should set clear and unambiguous goals. Inaccurate objectives are one of the main reasons that change management processes fail. Ask yourself the following questions at this stage:


  • Which groups of people will use this software? What should be addressed in each group of people?
  • What concerns, fears, and conflicts may exist within and among the groups?
  • Do processes need to be adapted to the software or vice versa?
  • What specifically is to be achieved with the introduction of the software? What should be different or better?
  • How do you want to see that the software has brought about positive changes?


After you have set your concrete goals, the next step is to take a closer look at the general conditions. Ask yourself these questions:


  • What priority does the implementation of the software have, especially in comparison to other, parallel projects?
  • What is the level of commitment among executives?
  • Who are the internal contacts in the company?
  • Who is actively involved in the introduction and is also the responsible contact person afterwards?


It is important to consider the feasibility of the project in terms of the responsible persons and contact persons. Which factors make the project realistic and which make it unrealistic? Which factors should be prepared or eliminated so that the project can be successful?


The last thing you should consider is the aspects around implementation. Here we can tell you what is particularly important: define both the rough and the detailed approach - including deadlines. However, since the implementation is the decisive step, we have prepared a checklist.


Three steps to successful implementation


1. Weighing the costs and benefits: Introduce realistic software


It may sound trivial, but your software should of course do what your company really needs it to do. Anything unnecessary will only overwhelm users - which is not desirable, especially if the system is supposed to make work easier as opposed to being a source of frustration. Future users should be realistically prepared for the software and involved in the process from the beginning. What do they want and which workflows should be facilitated?


2. Involve all sides


Not only IT managers and those who introduce the system should be involved, but also executives, data protection officers and possibly the works council. If all levels are initiated and awareness of the software is raised, general acceptance will be much higher later on. No matter how large the company may be!


The issue of change management cannot be overlooked when introducing new systems, and new tools and technologies can seem threatening to many employees at first. Change processes can feel anxiety-inducing. Resistance to change is natural, so management should find it all the more of a priority to make sure it is addressed. Fears can prevent empathy, and this is where adoption can fail.


It is therefore also worth investing in an expert change manager to guide the entire process. This provides a neutral moderator who can act as a contact person for questions and concerns.

Of course, don't forget training sessions to adequately introduce your employees to the system. Employee training is also crucial in this process.


3. Communication is key!


A lively communication culture should be maintained both before, during and after the introduction of the software. This can lead to early conflict management, which will also increase acceptance of the software.

Therefore, involve executives here as well, schedule question and answer meetings, solicit feedback, and involve users on a permanent basis. Institutionalized feedback helps you with quality control and with keeping the software up to date and constantly improving it.


With our tips and our three-part checklist, you should now be ready to implement your new corporate software in your company. If you still have further questions on this topic, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or use our contact form. Are you missing a software you would like to introduce? We are also happy to help you in the area of contract programming.

Why an individualized software is worth it? Read about it on our blog.