Best Practices & Overcoming Challenges When Going Through a Major Software Replacement Project
When it comes to replacing a major piece of your software, this is the perfect time to start analyzing all your data integrations between your systems, dashboards, reporting, and procedures to really understand the “why” and actual benefits. Additionally it is the perfect time to initiate procedural changes as innovation increases efficiency increases. This allows your organization to either eliminate or reduce the time and level of effort for many processes and utilize that for other business process executions.
Data, Reporting & Processes Best Practices
The data you have forms the reporting you distribute which forms the processes needed for distribution.
The first step is to understand the scope of your systems. Create a diagram of all your systems with high level flows of what is data is going in what data is going out. This will allow the team to see the big picture of how big and complex the system architecture of your organization is.
This will start shedding light on several things:
- How critical it is to have proper documentation on all integrated systems
- Realizing what subsystems are no longer needed
- Realizing what customization's are no longer needed
- Quality of data in the system – data review will show how healthy the data. If not corrected, the same “bad” data will be imported into the new system
- Realizing what processes and reporting are no longer needed which in turn may mean what data is no longer required to be fed in
- Reporting is huge since as little as 1 report that is no longer needed or 2 reports that can be consolidated can show major time and resource savings. When reviewing reporting, ask the following questions:
- How often is each report executed?
- What is the level of effort to run each report?
- Why are we running these reports? Do you know the benefits?
- What decisions are being made based on these reports?
- What value do these reports bring to the organization?
- Can any be consolidated?
- Are they still needed? Do the recipients even know they are receiving the reports? Is it just an FYI for them?
Procedural Buy in from Management and Employees
From a procedural perspective, many organizations are executing their business process operations in a certain defined way. Each department has their own standard operating procedures and that is what all and new employees are trained to. These procedures are based on what has worked in the past and the software that governs it.
What organizations fail to realize is how much time, resources, and money is wasted on these processes that were created from either several years or decades ago. Management is busy working on their own personal and company goals that they miss how critical it is to sit down and think if anything can be executed more efficiently. We’re all guilty of this, why would we? Everything is running smoothly, business as usual, there are no issues to report so there is no need or urgency to review what is being done and how it’s being done.
This is typical and that is why when a big software replacement project is in play this is the best time and opportunity to:
- Look at all the processes and procedures and re-engineer them to work with the new system.
- Get management to buy in to your ideas as they will be more open to change
- Get employees to accept to learn new ways of doing things since they need to learn a whole new system anyway