How to ensure a successful software rollout

Laura Parker
Apr 2019

This article is part of our Process 101 guide.

We’re not going to bore you with theoretical models, like the Technology Adoption Lifecycle, about how a software rollout SHOULD work in practice. Instead, we’re going to share the ACTUAL steps you need to ensure your new technology is accepted and the changes embraced.

But first…

Let’s consider why 71% of software rollouts fail…

The answer is really simple: people.

You can have the most wonderful system in the world, you can have the most robust software rollout process in the world, but if your people decide they don’t like/want it – they’re never going to accept and adopt it.

People have individual preferences on what they do/don’t like – and some people like to be difficult and go against the grain just for the sake of it.

Also, people don’t conform to a nice little framework, where everything runs like clockwork. They all bring different life experiences, and varying degrees of scepticism to the table, which are going to act as barriers to your technology adoption.

Software rollout best practices – understand your people

People want to be productive…
Ultimately, people are at work to do a job, which is always going to take precedence over everything else. And if their performance (and bonus) rests on hitting certain numbers, you’re going to need a pretty good reason to make them down tools and take the time to learn how to use your new ‘shiny tech’.

The key to success is to make your new software a routine part of their day as quickly as possible; when your users see the software as part of their business-as-usual activities, it ceases to be seen as ‘software‘, instead becoming ‘the way we do things‘.

Achieving this requires your new software to flex, so it seamlessly fits into the way people currently work. So think about how your people work – are they office-based or remote? Do they use a desktop app, browser plug-in, or a mobile app?

The more familiar your software is, the easier it will be to convince them to try it and adopt it.

People want to be involved…
The worst thing you could do when implementing new software is to spring it on your team – their instinctive reaction will always be to resist, because people naturally fear change. But involve them throughout the rollout process and you’ll bring them along with you on that change journey.

Achieving this requires regular, quality communication and a rollout plan. If you involve people from the start, telling them that you’re looking for new software to support X function within your team/business, the reasons why, and how you anticipate it will benefit the team/business and them personally, they’re going to buy-in to the change, rather than go with the knee-jerk reaction to rebel.

And then maintain their involvement throughout the software rollout. Create your champion who’s going to help you sell the new tech in your team, and then out into the wider organisation. And take a bottom-up approach to adoption and empower your people to lead the project.

People want to feel valued…
Nobody likes being told what to do. Everybody, regardless of their role or level of seniority, has something to contribute to the success of the organisation. And that means they’re not going to appreciate having orders dictated to them.

People want to feel like their opinion has been heard, and that their contribution matters. They’re performing their role day in, day out, and if they feel like your new software isn’t going to support their role, they’re going to tell you. Fail to listen, and not only will they feel like you don’t value them (and therefore become demotivated), you’ll miss an opportunity to learn how you could improve your operations.

Achieving this requires you to have a mechanism in place, and the culture to support receiving feedback. If it’s a ‘normal’ way of how you operate, everyone will feel comfortable to share their ideas.

People want the tools to just get on…
We’re all busy and the last thing we want is to have to attend an in-depth training session where someone’s going to dump a load of information on us that we’ll have forgotten the second we walk out the door.

Give people the tools to get on and figure it out as they’re actually using the software, and you’re more likely to improve your adoption rate.

Achieve this by choosing software that comes with a whole suite of support services, from first-time tooltips, to in-platform live chat, step-by-step guides, support articles, explainer videos, and all the little tips and tricks that are going to help them achieve their common everyday tasks with ease.

beSlick: software for the people

Ok, so this is the bit where we pitch to you…

beSlick is software that’s specifically been designed around the way people naturally work and choose to adopt new technology into their lives.

We record, categorise and discuss every piece of user feedback at our product meetings to ensure our platform continues to align with how people naturally work.

And we have a comprehensive support centre that strives to provide user-friendly advice, video guides, tips and tricks to get your users onboarded and using beSlick as part of their business-as-usual quicker.