It’s a well-known fact that the construction industry has been apprehensive when adopting new types of software—and it’s not hard to see why. For one, construction-specific software differs from typical business applications, replete with unique workflow requirements. More so, interoperability between legacy and modern construction-only systems can be a challenge for any software platform—let alone those outside the industry.
Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel. In 2021 alone, 53% of construction companies implemented new software applications. Based on research, this number is expected to continue to increase as more and more organizations realize the benefits of data and analytics insight. So the question now becomes—how do you avoid the pitfalls and complications that can arise during implementation? Can integration be seamless? The answer is yes––if you have a well-thought-out deployment plan.
So, the first two questions become, what is a deployment plan, and why is it crucial to the future success of your organization? Essentially, a deployment plan ensures that an application is ready for delivery. Deployment is the process through which applications, modules, and updates are delivered, and it is vital to all aspects of new software implementation.
As mentioned above, deployment planning can seem like an impossible challenge with many new modern-day software solutions, digital integrations, and the ever-increasing need for interoperability between legacy and modernized systems. However, the fact is: software selection and implementation can be downright overwhelming when considering all the options available to you.
Thus, a well-thought-out plan is a driving force behind a seamless implementation. In addition, a clear agenda means smooth integration between old and new systems, fewer missed steps, less time wasted on manual tasks, fewer keystroke errors, and more. So, how do you develop a deployment plan?
There are many parts to consider when developing your deployment strategy: the first significant component to consider when designing your plan is the human factor (change management). Many complications can arise during software implementation––such as adoption resistance, employee engagement, and training. These highlighted challenges will also directly impact your organization’s productivity and subsequent growth. Because of these potential roadblocks, it is imperative that when implementing a new system, you plan thoroughly with your users in mind to reduce the risk of any frustrations that may arise during the process.
Next, ensuring that you choose the right vendor is the difference between a successful deployment and some unforeseen hiccups and roadblocks. In addition, selecting a vendor with ongoing support will ensure that you utilize your new software to its full potential and seamlessly integrate old and new systems. Finally, it will aid in selecting software that meets your company’s unique needs.
Once a new software application is selected, it can be tempting to start implementation immediately. However, adoption should entail careful planning. Furthermore, it is vital to communicate with employees and get them on board with a software change before implementation. An effective user awareness campaign will allow your employees to understand the benefits and how adopting the new platform will make their job easier. The outcome will be less resistance during the deployment stage.
Additionally, learning to use new software can be intimidating, so training is a cornerstone of successful system implementation. It promotes user buy-in from the start and ensures maximum effectiveness and efficiency of the software. Therefore, your employees should be taught the fundamental functions of the software. In so doing, they will be able to see the adaptation of the software’s functionality to their daily business processes.
When conducting your training sessions, you should employ a variety of approaches. This training could include classroom and online training, telephone and online support, and desk-side coaching. Cheat sheets and other learning aids are also beneficial. Identifying your super users to whom you can send employees with any questions they may have will ensure sustainable success.
Finally, monitoring software through every implementation stage is crucial in ensuring that new systems are running as they should. Monitoring should include but is not limited to the efficiency of digital timecard reports, user activities and experience, the time it takes to complete tasks, system errors and updates, and the seamless integration between legacy and modern systems.
The ROI through data insight, time, and money saved is well worth the effort—planning upfront is the key to success.