Don’t Fear Your Software Implementations

Don’t Fear Your Software Implementations

When we speak to health and human service agencies, we’ve found that the idea of implementing new technology is quite intimidating to many executives. Uncertainty and hesitation arises when faced with the costs, length, and resources often associated with implementations. With that said, it’s quite common for the executive staff to ask themselves questions before undergoing their software implementations. Is this project feasible with our budget? Will this improve efficiency?  Do we have the resources to go through an implementation? The debate often ends with keeping the status quo. I mean, we are getting by, right?

Just getting by is not the answer anymore. Investing in technology is critical, especially for agencies to operate more efficiently and be more profitable in 2018. Unfortunately, during our recent DATIS 2018 State of Workforce Management survey, we found that over a third of health and human service are unprepared to invest in digital tools and strategies this year. When in turn, that’s exactly what many organizations need to get ahead. One of the main reasons behind this high percentage is the unwillingness to go through an implementation. With the right strategy, software implementations can be painless and propel organizations to new heights once complete. Let’s take a look at a few areas to help insure your next project goes off without a hitch.

Tip 1: Define a Strategy
Be sure to conduct a business assessment to ensure all your needs are going to be met after the implementation. It’s also important to look at vendors that have the ability to configure their product to meet your agency’s needs without significant customization, as this usually means substantial additional costs. We understand that there are many factors to consider during the software selection process, so we created an interactive Decision Checklist for you to follow that makes sure you cover all the bases before moving forward with implementation.

An agency can’t be successful with a digital investment strategy if it does not have an organizational strategy established first. Our recommendation is to define a technology strategy and adhere to the goals set for the organization.  Be sure to include key staff and define who needs to be involved with the decision-making process for each project. This strategy will be your foundation for future digital investments, and will help executives increase their chances of successful software implementations.

Tip 2: Avoid Disruptions
Many organizations find themselves fighting off distractions when dealing with  software implementations. This is largely because they have multiple projects going on during this time, stretching their workforce thin. Ensure your implementation plan is realistic and resources are appropriately allocated before you begin. Your chosen business partner should have an experienced project manager that works with you to help mitigate business disruption. We find implementations have a higher success rate when completed on-site and in-person.

Tip 3: Take Advantage of Customer Support
A key area for any new buyer when selecting a vendor should be customer support. Understanding how this vendor is going to support the agency during the implementation phase and post go-live will have a large impact on your success going forward. It’s common for agencies to make changes to their policies or rules during the implementations phase. Vendors that specialize in your space will have a deep understanding of common challenges faced throughout the industry and will be able to offer proven solutions to complex needs.

When the final decision is made on choosing a new software solution, don’t let the fear of software implementations hold you back. Remember, the sooner the software is implemented, the sooner your agency can take advantage of the ROI. Above are some tips to keep in mind as you move throughout the implementation project. Keep in mind: if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.

This DATIS Blog was written by Jason Bennett, DATIS, on February 19th, 2018 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Written by Jason Bennett