I was sitting in the office of a new prospect just the other day, and the inglorious topic of software blunders came up as a topic of conversation. This particular professional was carrying on about how they have found most software they have implemented in the past to be a real headache for users: filled with bugs, not user friendly, and poorly designed. When I looked around their office, I took note of many clues as to why this person felt this way. It led me to write this post. Here are the five most evident reasons software fails:
1. NO Implementation Strategy ~ This is not just the Why, but the How, and the What. They need to be clearly defined to measure not only the proportion of need for this software, but the methods to how it will solve problems, meet needs, achieve goals, and fix something that is broken. Many time I find that clients who sign on for new technology without strategy, haven't properly assessed the situation as a whole. They sign on to fix one thing, and create a slew of other concerns in the aftermath. There has to be a good strategy behind any successful implementation.
2. NO Desire to Change ~ Let's face it, any new addition to your already comfortable system is change. Change that is not embraced corporately will create a bigger problem for any company. Data is our most precious commodity, and it needs to be preserved and protected. Companies that resist change are usually not good candidates for successful implementation unless they change their thinking.
4. NO Appropriate Training ~ I tell my clients that training, and not just software training, but process training is 95% of a CRM solution. I have gotten to a point where I will refuse to perform an implementation without commitment to train in most corporate environments. The reason should be so obvious. People who are busy don't have time to teach themselves a new software and a new process. They need the method predetermined for them. This is not only fair, but it is necessary. You cannot expect a person to develop a system for use and a application on their own, and yet so many companies do this to their employees. This can cause anxiety about implementing any of the right software tools because of the wrong software experience.
5. NO User Feedback and Follow-up ~ This is critical to pass or fail. Like most technology, once you get your users on board, they become your biggest evangelist. Once the see the vision, tackle the mission, and embrace the tools, they drive your productivity sky high! This is what we want. This is what we like as Software Experts! We want to see the user commit. You have to engage the user to get them to marry the strategy. They have to be able to work, refute, develop, and rework the technology to best fit their roles and needs. They are as diverse as there are options! This is why feedback and communication can seal your deal. If you want a technology solution that delivers, include the users in its development and redevelopment. You won't be sorry.
Think of your technology as not the solution, but the method to your philosophy. Get a really good expert to help you define it in ways that can be interpreted through sophisticated software tools. As you do this, you will realize that your technology has endless possibilities and immense value to you, because of your timeless and developed philosophies underlying it. Then and only then will almost any software solution you implement will be a success.