Implementing Business Software Systems: Key Factors for Successful Implementation, Part 3


Comprehensive Training


Training is generally recognised as being fundamental to the success of a new system. As well as making sure people know how to use the new system, it is also crucial for gaining their buy-in. Training needs to be done prior to the system ‘going live’, but not too early or it will get forgotten.  Training will also need to continue throughout the life of the system.  Staff may still need help when they start using the system for real and, once the system has been up and running for a while, refresher courses may be needed on particular areas of the system.  New starters will also need to receive training.   The cost of training can be quite significant and needs to be included in the implementation budget.  The cost of training is also often underestimated, but if people don’t receive sufficient training they may not use the system properly, or at all.  If this happens, the full benefits of the system are unlikely to be realised.


Accurate Data


In order for the new system to capable of delivering the expected benefits, the information it holds must be accurate.  This means making sure that information, whether transferred from old systems or entered directly into the new system during implementation, is correct and complete.  The same applies to information transferred in from other systems or entered directly, once the system is in use.  It also means that information in the system must be kept up to date. Inaccurate data will reduce the usefulness of a new system and therefore its credibility and acceptance.  ‘Rubbish in, rubbish out’ as the saying goes.  It’s essential that the implementation team and users are educated in, and appreciate, the importance of accurate data.


Sufficient Testing


It is vital that the new system is thoroughly tested before it goes ‘live’ to make sure everything is set up correctly and working as expected.  Testing should involve taking a process from beginning to end, for different scenarios, and include any manual parts of the process to make sure testing is complete.  Testing needs to be planned to ensure that nothing is overlooked and so that an appropriate test system can be set up.  The amount of testing necessary, and the amount of time required to do it, is often underestimated. Planning the testing first will also give a better idea of the effort required. Thorough testing before the system goes live greatly reduces the chances of finding any major problems with the system when it is being used for real.  Problems that don’t surface until the system is ‘live’ could cause serious disruption to the business. It’s much easier and less costly to resolve any issues before people starting to use it for real, rather than afterwards.


For further information on Implementing Business Software Systems please contact Alison Barnes at Greenbeam Consulting Ltd on 0843 523 5630 or email