1. Get leadership buy-in.
When companies decide to purchase software and deploy it effectively there is alignment at the top. Sponsorship from the most senior levels when rolling out enterprise software is absolutely critical. Senior leadership alignment and endorsement of new initiatives, tying in objectives where possible, creates the strongest backing for an enterprise software launch and the most successful adoption across the board.
2. Do your homework.
Make sure you have considered all options both internally and externally. Meet with internal teams to understand whether your existing systems can or can’t achieve the desired outcome. Consider at least three alternative options because the question is coming: Who else have we considered in this process? Be sure to check your procurement policy to understand how many quotes and vendors need to be considered before making a decision. For Enterprise software purchases you should expect 10-12 people to be involved in the decision process and depending on how robust of a procurement process your organization has expect a timeline of 3-18 months to get it purchased. The more upfront work you do will help to streamline your internal processes and get the green light to purchase.
3. Choose your internal team wisely.
It is important to choose your internal team wisely and ensure you have representation from senior members of the different departments that have a critical stake/role in the project. Having this specific group attend onboarding, kickoff, and team calls is equally important to the successful implementation of the software. It is a win if the team you choose can explain the “why” and the “how” of the enterprise software.
4. Do not treat it as a sprint.
Be pragmatic from the outset. Do not go into the project with expectations that it will get completed in a month or two. There will be holdups, and there will be times when you are likely to need to take a step backward to move forward. Let the team know a realistic timeline to get the software rolled out, but also be sure to let them know there is a potential for slippage on those dates if determined things go wrong or slow down.
5. Adapt to change.
In every software deployment, there will always be a few naysayers or people that struggle with it. There might be individuals that did not support the chosen route or are disappointed that the new approach is replacing an existing system. This is where the leadership buy-in you sought will pay off. Regularly communicate endorsement from the top and the importance of the project to the business. But be prepared to adapt to change as the project gets rolled out. Ensure that potential naysayers have a role and an investment in the project.
6. Keep lines of communication open.
Promote an atmosphere that allows the whole team to be open in taking a fresh look at how the software can impact/improve the business. There is a risk that the project comes too quickly and people feel left behind. Provide those people with the opportunities to ask for assistance and remain engaged. Keep the leadership team involved at all times. Do not let them come to you with questions. Be proactive with bringing them up to speed at every opportunity you have.