Best Practices to Achieve a Successful Software Implementation

Enterprise software purchases are no small endeavor, for large and small organizations alike. Conducting a needs analysis, researching and vetting viable options, making a purchasing decision and finalizing an agreement require time and effort, and those steps are just the beginning. Once a contract is in place, the real work starts.

Achieving client satisfaction and ROI of any technology purchase requires a smooth implementation. When the process goes well, these initial touch points set the stage for a mutually beneficial long-term relationship between the software provider and the client. At FileTrail, our expertise is with implementing records and information governance platforms, but our best practices can be applied to a range of software types.

Setting Expectations for Records Management

Among the most important success factors is expectation management. Start by having intentional conversations with relevant departments within the organization. We talk with records staff and various IT teams along with their leaders to understand their needs, ensure they have clear expectations about the process and timeline and gain their buy-in on the plan.

Education is an important component of this. Change is hard for many people, so we make it clear that when the new system is in place, it will be different from their legacy system – but we remind them that’s probably why they’re upgrading, to gain a better solution. And there’s always a learning curve, so users need to know it may initially take longer to perform some tasks, until they are fully trained.

Setting these expectations at the very beginning is critical. Doing so helps everyone to stay focused, especially when issues arise that may be viewed as a deviation and could otherwise escalate quickly into a conflict.

Best Practices for Data Management

Implementation best practices include conducting a thorough, upfront analysis of the client’s data and how it is used. Working with the migration team enables the identification of key focus areas during configuration. This is reassuring to the client in initial meetings, when the team is able to kick off the project with an understanding of the data and unique needs, and it provides the client good insight into its data early in the project.  

Another best practice is to use industry-specific deployment templates. By configuring the template to the client’s specific sector, the software not only aligns with the end users’ workflows but, importantly, speaks their language. This makes it more familiar from the start and promotes faster and easier adoption.

Software Installation, Implementation and Training

Formal training, both for software administrators and for their end users, is also a key ingredient to a successful implementation. Using a “train the trainer” model creates power users who learn the product more thoroughly, but we also take advantage of dedicated software training resources when available, as they can tailor training sessions to individual users’ needs or perspectives.

When investing in a new enterprise software installation, never underestimate the importance of getting off to a good start with a smooth implementation. Working with an experienced partner you trust makes all the difference and is likely to both improve user satisfaction and increase ROI.

The FileTrail Difference

Recognizing the importance of starting strong, FileTrail continually invests in our implementation team and the processes they follow. In recent years we’ve prioritized this critical part of our service, aiming to reduce the time frame for most client installations of our software products even while our volume of projects has steadily grown – and we’re proud to have shown improvement:

  • 2021 – Eight projects go live, average project length one year
  • 2022 – 28 projects go live, average project length six months
  • 2023 – anticipated 40 projects to go live, average project length three months

Achieving faster, more streamlined implementations is helping our clients improve user satisfaction and realize ROI more quickly. Contact us to talk with a FileTrail rep and learn more.

For additional information about our Implementation process and in-house team, visit our Implementation page.

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