It never fails. You and your co-workers have just gotten used to doing things with your current workflow software, including learning its quirks and limitations. You’ve come up with your procedures and workarounds that suit your unique work situation. You got this thing down to a science; from here on in, it’s smooth sailing.
Then someone higher up on the corporate ladder comes along and announces that the company just invested big bucks in a new workflow software product. Either that, or said higher-up declares that the company has bought the latest upgrade to the existing software.
“Don’t worry!” the well-intentioned buttinski declares. “It’s going to be great!”
Famous last words.
Naturally, it now falls upon you and your staff to implement the new workflow software as seamlessly as possible. Here are the things that could go wrong, euphemistically referred to as “challenges”, and how to avoid them.
IMPLEMENTATION WHILE MAINTAINING BUSINESS AS USUAL
Even though you’re bringing in this new software (or upgrading the old version), chances are the company is still experiencing a normal workday, which means people need access to systems and applications so they can do their jobs. There’s no time for downtime.
Even though it seems like the equivalent of changing a flat while the vehicle is still in motion, it can be done. For starters, you need someone to head up the project that is familiar not only with the new product and how to install it, but also the workflow processes that your company performs on a daily basis. With someone who has a good understanding of both sides of the coin in charge, there’s a greater likelihood that smart, informed decisions will be made.
The best way to implement workflow software is to do it in stages so that the fewest people are affected as possible. If you think sufficiently ahead of time, there can even be work set aside for the people who have been rendered idle while their software is being installed/upgraded.
THE WRONG TOOLS HAVE BEEN BROUGHT IN
If a company has managed to invest in the wrong workflow software, then a whole barrel of problems has just opened up. Such things do happen on occasion and usually because the person in charge of software acquisition has become so enamored of a particular product that they didn’t give enough thought as to whether or not it’s the right one for the company in the first place.
Unfortunately when this happens, the die is cast, and it’s usually too late to undo the purchase. The company has just blown major dollars on a solution that doesn’t make for a good fit, but now they’re stuck with it, and everyone’s going to have to make the best of it.
The best way to head off this disaster is to ensure that there is adequate representation of the people who are going to USE the program before purchasing the application. This representative must be able to articulate precisely what tasks the team needs to accomplish and what the expectations will be from the software. After all, as “The 5 Keys to Successful BPM Implementation” says, “Ultimately, you and your team are the only ones who can determine which BPM software solution is the right one for your needs.”
POOR OR NON-EXISTENT TRAINING
Finally, there’s the problem of inadequate training. Even if the application performs as advertised, things can get messy while the team is in the process of wrestling with the learning curve. That’s why there needs to be a member of the implementation team that has the responsibility of making sure that the vendor provides all of the training and documentation needed for a smooth transition.
It especially helps if there are one or two designated people who make it their mission to know the software front and back, and become the go-to resource people whenever anyone else has a question.
Buying new software or upgrading the old version can be a major plus for everyone in the company. However, the pitfalls may be damaging, so care must be exercised in heading off problems before they hit. That way, implementation is smooth, and the company suffers no downtime.