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Implementing New Technology: Lessons In Change Management And Leadership

Kerri Davis Nov 18, 2022 9:37:51 AM

While at dinner with a fellow proptech firm a few weeks ago, one of their team members said, “We have clients paying for our product, but they haven’t invested the time to implement and use it.”


This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.

Adoption is an issue. Any change, from a new product implementation to an update in an existing product, can cause a lapse in adoption. How do we all—as providers and users of technology—ensure successful implementations and long-term adoption?

To answer that question, we will need to address three key areas prior to rolling out and updating technology.

 

Change Management Plans For Implementation And Feature Enhancements

Implementing new software or feature enhancements can be a big lift for any company. Before beginning a transition, it is helpful to ask your team a few questions.

  • Who is going to run point on this implementation?
  • Does that person need support/have enough time?
  • How long is this going to take?
  • What is our plan for training and roll-out?  
  • How often are we going to check in post-roll-out?
  • What do we describe as success post-implementation? 

A strong implementation with well-thought-out leaders, plans, deadlines, follow-ups and measurements for success can lead to immense team support and immediate adoption.  

If the setup feels muddled, employee unease is likely warranted, and you may be stuck in a contract with software that no one wants to use.  

When I set out to build our property management software, onboarding, transitioning and training were huge pain points we wanted to solve. For other software companies out there, I think there is a real opportunity to enhance onboarding procedures, as it marks the beginning of a new relationship with a client. Our goal is for the client experience to be positive—from engaging with our sales team to onboarding to daily use.

 

Leadership Buy-In For Increased Adoption

According to the most recent State of Software Happiness Report 2019 from G2, more than half of the over 1,600 people surveyed said they are unhappy with the software tools they are using at work. A quarter of those surveyed said they would consider leaving their position due to “mismatched” software.

In my experience, prior to introducing new software, it is important for every member of the leadership team to be bought into the value of the new software and the why behind the change or addition. A great place to start is creating a task force with the impacted department leaders. They should have a grasp on what team members in their department—the daily users—need and want. This task force should identify pain points currently experienced with the tools or processes in place and then seek out solutions that solve those problems. 

Examples of these pain points.

  • Too many systems. Employees may be logging into dozens of tools each day and entering redundant information if the systems do not integrate well (or at all).
  • Difficult to use software that is either missing important functionality or simply dated and behind the times.
  • Lagging systems that create a loss of time for your team. 

Case in point—we recently made the switch from Salesforce to HubSpot. While our marketing team was passionate about the switch from the start, our sales team was hesitant. By bringing sales (and operations and customer service) into the process, identifying pain points they were currently experiencing in other systems and then having everyone involved in the entire process, from initial conversations to demos, we were able to address the needs and wants of all involved and receive buy-in from everyone.

 

Technology And The Company DNA

A change in technology, whether it be implementing a new product or updated features, has the ability to impact a company’s “DNA.” There will always be a few laggard employees, but you can shift the overall perspective in favor of the change by ensuring that everyone understands the goals and reasons behind the switch from the start.

After all, if buy-in and setup have been properly addressed, the software should alleviate pain points, not create them. Emphasize communication between those who readily accepted the transition with those who may remain hesitant. The focus should always be on the software’s ability to initiate progress and forward-thinking within the company.

 

Regardless of the software being introduced, a smooth transition is only guaranteed when you have created a clear, structured, thought-out implementation and change management plan, ensured leadership understanding and buy-in, assessed the pain points of all employees and thoroughly assessed how the innovative technology will impact a company’s DNA. In a world of rising resignations and inflation, taking these steps prior to implementation is worth the effort to make your investment a valuable one, keep employees happy, keep efficiency up and keep costs down.

 

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