Deploying major enterprise software can be a daunting task, especially for a municipality or contractor working with legacy systems. New technology can disrupt workflows and daily operations and may require significant staff training. Some organizations delay upgrades and improvements simply to avoid the temporary inconvenience and loss of productivity. Eventually, however, new software is necessary; the disadvantages of hanging onto an obsolete system far outweigh the appeal of sticking to the status quo. To ensure that your transition — whether to a new asset management solution, email platform or sewer inspection software — is smooth, follow these best practices.
- Get your data in order. One of the biggest hurdles a software deployment team encounters is jumbled data. Before beginning the deployment process, ensure all data is organized, in one place and ready for transfer. This may mean locating and cleaning up years worth of inspection reports, video files and mapping data. Not every software has a data validator, so be prepared to go without one. Taking this step before planning any active deployment or integration processes can help your team stay on schedule and avoid surprises along the way.
- Gather the right credentials and team members. Data can’t transfer into the new system if it can’t get out of the old system. Locate and document any credentials that may be needed during the transfer. Also be sure to engage any team members whose presence or participation is important for the transition early in the process as well, including city managers, engineers and end users. Upper level management and the IT team should always be involved while deploying software.
- Bring in an expert. Most enterprise software companies have an expert implementation or deployment team to ensure deployments go smoothly. Utilize their expertise whenever possible. WinCan’s specialists, for example, often consult throughout the sales process, advise on data preparation and execute remote installations to get the software environment ready prior to training. They then make on-site visits to train essential personnel and go live.
- Make a plan and be realistic. Implementing municipal software is a big task. Understand how your software will be used and what your employees’ workflow will look like. Work with experts to figure out exactly how you want implementation and day-to-day use to look; then identify potential challenges and build space for those contingencies into the plan. Understand that something may go wrong, but the better thought-out your plan, the smaller that something will be.
- Test, test, test. Deploying enterprise software is a complicated process with lots of moving parts. Every wastewater system and community is unique, and things don’t always work right the first time. Providing a ‘sandbox’ for the various stakeholders to work in ensures that workflow issues, requirement gaps and product changes are identified early and repaired before the official roll-out date.
- Be patient. System adoption is a critical component of a successful deployment. Taking time to engage early and often with key users and stakeholders fosters greater acceptance within an organization. Each member of an operations team has different skills and experience, so each team member will learn to use new software at a different pace. After the initial training, it may be helpful to pair team members more comfortable with the new software with members in need of additional practice to provide in-field, hands-on training.
Deploying new software can be intimidating, but following these principles and utilizing the expertise of an implementation specialist will simplify the process.
If your municipality is considering a new sewer inspection and asset management software, request a demo of WinCan VX today. Our team of development, service and implementation experts is ready to bring your new software online smoothly and efficiently.