Legacy system conversion projects are always challenging. Rollout strategy can make a huge difference in successful user adoption and overall project success.
Only when I began writing them down did I realize that I had recurring dreams. I had believed that my dreams were largely random and varied, but instead I learned that I had many frequently recurring themes. Similarly, the process of writing down my thoughts on software development has shown me that there are also recurring themes.
One of these themes is the impact of rollout methodology on a project's success. More specifically, rollouts of legacy system conversion projects. Rollouts of brand new systems into an organization are typically less painful, as you are often automating a paper process, or inventing a new process that improves productivity. However, legacy system conversions are almost always painful, as there are many processes that have emerged around this system. People have developed a form of muscle-memory with the old system that even they themselves scarcely understand.
We have successfully replaced dozens of legacy systems where everyone was happy and all was good with the world. But it's not those projects I want to talk about. I am going to talk about the projects where things went awry, because I don't want to make the same mistakes again. Hopefully, these words will also help the reader to avoid similar problems in their projects.
Now that your company has rolled out its shiny new CRM system, you’ll want to make sure your team is fully on board. How can you track Salesforce user adoption? What are the signs you don’t have full buy-in from your organization on using Salesforce?
Of course, there are many useful reports available in the Salesforce Adoption Dashboards. To get the most benefit from those dashboards and reports, you'll need to quantify your expectations. How should your team use the system?
Can software replace my job? It's a concern with roots going back centuries to the arrival of the first automated power looms in 18th-century England, continuing into more modern times with the large claw-like robots that build automobiles. Today it seems there are hundreds of websites making their living pushing clickbait headlines describing the perils of the coming Robopocalypse of software automation replacing human workers, and I often see those fears bubbling to the surface when working with clients. Fortunately, in my experience, those fears are often overblown, and I'm not alone in thinking so. Wired's James Surowieck agrees that we have nothing to fear.
The automation jitters usually start to come out during discovery. I talk with clients to clarify the business logic, workflow rules, or other automated features, and I'll use the term "robot" to describe the software we're building. After all, "if I can't tell the robot what to do, how will it know how what to do?" It's somewhere around here when we're asking somebody to explain their whole job function that somebody on the client's team will mutter, half-jokingly, "So I guess I better start looking for another job, huh?" It's not hard to understand where that thought is coming from. After all, if we can completely strip away the human layer and turn their job into a series of rote, mechanical steps, what role is left for them? I quickly try to assuage their fears.
We get this question a lot from business owners in the middle of a growth phase. Often, they are already using systems for accounting and CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and they are not sure what processes could be improved, and if there is a business case to improve them.
Over the years, we've identified a number of clear indicators that it's time to invest in technology. This can be in the form of implementing a pre-existing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), implementing a platform solution, or developing a custom software solution. We'll elaborate in an upcoming post on which of the 3 solutions is the right fit for you, but for now let's focus on the "smell test" of determining if there is a need. Some are obvious, while others are more subtle.
So how many times today have you stopped what you were doing so you could pick up the phone, press 1, and then one by one listen to the 5 or 10 voicemails that piled up while you were in your last sales meeting or project discussion? Did you have to listen to any of the messages a few times to write down that number they told you to call back on?
Are you viewing this blog on your left screen, middle screen, or right screen?
If your answer is "uh... my only screen" and you spend significant time in from of a computer, then you're missing out on a huge opportunity for productivity gains...Adding another monitor.