Common Obstacles Businesses Encounter When Adopting New Software

18-Aug 2022
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Chelsea Williams COPYWRITER

Fear is a sneaky emotion. It can creep up in areas of our lives in which we’re not prepared to find it. Work life, especially of the entrepreneurial variety, is one of fear’s favorite breeding grounds. And significant commitments like software adoption can be major triggers.

However rational the decision to move forward with new software may be, we’re all at risk of succumbing to our irrational side once the implementation process begins and those fears start to rear their devious heads. 

The result? A rocky start to what could otherwise be an exciting phase of unparalleled growth and efficiency.

Luckily, you can plan ahead to have a smooth experience.

Robert Germain, VP of Client Success, leads Accelo’s team of relationship experts: those who offer implementation guidance, client follow-up and technical support. He understands the interpersonal nature of a client-based business and the importance of building a solid connection with the people you serve.

Having worked with professional services business leaders from many industries, he also knows a lot about why software adoption doesn’t always go as well as people want it to. 

Below, he shares his wealth of advice, including pro tips, do’s and don’ts about getting your team ready to use a new platform.

In your experience, how should business owners and leadership teams prepare mentally for adopting new software?

Robert: “It comes down to understanding the challenges your business is having and being open to how technology can solve them for you. 

What are the things that technology is not addressing for you right now? For example, do you really know your profit margins? Do you know what your people are doing with their time? Are you sure the information in your accounting system is accurate?

Know the answer to those questions as they pertain to the system you’re adopting.

Next, you need to be ready to approach your problems in partnership with the team whose software you’re investing in. You can’t stay siloed if you’re collaborating with an external team. Ideally, they’ll help you start small so it’s not overwhelming for anyone. 

Before getting started, it’s also important to rally your troops so they’re truly engaged when it’s time to train them on the new software. Don’t keep people in the dark — they need a little time to get used to the idea.”

What mistakes have you seen professional services businesses make when it comes to software implementation?

Robert: “First, they don’t often have the right people in the room at the right time. In other words, they’re expecting to have just a few higher-ups make a choice about software and then let everybody else catch on later. There has to be a conversation about total business health involving members of each team or department. Then, they’ll each be able to better see the collective benefit of the decision to try something new.

Many businesses also fail to assign what we call a ‘champion:’ someone willing to own the adoption process and follow through. An external software implementation team won’t be able to figure out your culture completely, so they need some real engagement and cooperation from your team.

That’s not to say you only need one person involved. If the right players have the opportunity to attend demos and training sessions, they’ll be able to ask questions that are relevant to them and get exposure to everything the chosen platform is capable of. Instead of receiving information as it’s sporadically disseminated down, they feel like they’re a part of the change.

Another mistake is staying focused on today rather than the future potential that a new platform can bring. There’s every possibility that right now, in 2022, you’re still in survival mode. And you might think, ‘How can I take my eye off the ball and make time for this big new thing when I’m just trying to make payroll next week?’ It’s hard, but overcoming that is the only way to grow.

Last but not least, I see people assuming technology will be the magic bullet and do all the work for them. Your business software is not a washing machine or a dishwasher. You can’t just expect to press a button and walk away."

Why do business leaders get stuck in a stagnant headspace about software? 

Robert: “Fear. We’re always afraid of the things we don’t yet understand. Any meaningful shift requires looking past the way you've always done things.

You intuitively know where you and your business are going, but not every member of your team will automatically be on the same page.

If you don’t feel confident enough that your structure can be maintained while you direct resources away from your people temporarily, it’s not going to go well. Your level of confidence as a leader sets the expectations for everyone else.

“Businesses are run by humans, and humans are filled with all sorts of emotions and concerns. You have to be able to look beyond the day-to-day, the personalities and groupthink, and see the potential of technology to solve your problems.” - Robert Germain

 

Fearlessly Paving a Tech-Forward Path: Robert’s Pro Tips

  • Seek real-life examples of digital transformation. When you’ve narrowed down your list of potential platforms, look for case studies and reviews highlighting how other businesses in your industry have used them successfully. You’ll probably notice their worries were similar to yours before they took the leap.
  • Face your fears about software adoption head-on. Hint: The first step is to acknowledge that you have them.
  • Build a personal library of resources — or go with a platform that offers multiple avenues to solve problems. Sometimes, you need dedicated technical support; other times, crowdsourcing a community of like-minded users will be the right approach.
  • Take “tiny bites out of the elephant.” As with any other big move you’ve made in business, incorporating new software into your team’s day-to-day can’t happen overnight. Fight the tendency to give in to impatience, and remember that faster isn’t better in this case.
 

Ready to avoid the mistakes Robert has identified? Think beyond what you have to do today. Consider your long-term goals by scheduling a demo of Accelo.

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