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Has a business software implementation project just been handed to you, armed with a general 'get-it-done' declaration? Congratulations! You have been put in a position to be a champion for your company!

Or perhaps the implementation was your idea? In that case... Congratulations! Your expert foresight and superior decision-making have put you in a position to be a champion for your company!

There are five phases of a business software implementation project: Decisions, Pre-Installation, Installation, Going Live and Sustain. This article will focus on what is arguably the most important phase of the project, the Decisions Phase, where the choices made can dramatically impact the cost, timeline and success of the project. In the Decisions Phase, we answer crucial questions about the implementation project, including:

  • WHY is this project important?
  • HOW will it be accomplished?
  • WHAT is our Return on Investment?

Answering these questions is critical to the success of your project, because good decisions are based on a thorough understanding of your needs, your organization and the tool you are choosing to implement.

Know the Project and Your Organization

What is the objective of the business software implementation? What need does it address, and why is now the time to address that need? What are the intentions that are driving the project, and its ultimate goals? How will it change your organization, and what Return on Investment (ROI) do you anticipate?

You also need to understand your own organizational dynamics. Which departments are impacted by the implementation? Who are the decision makers, and what are their roles in the project and their level of involvement?

A thorough understanding of the implementation and your organization mitigates confusion about deliverables, reduces project delays, and improves the accuracy of time and cost estimates.

Choose the Right Tool

Understanding the business software solution to be implemented means more than reviewing its list of features and requirements. It is vital to understand how it will either replace or assimilate into your existing processes. How will the solution itself affect the communication and relationships within your organization? What is its impact on the workflow of individual users? While different solutions may offer similar features, their methods of implementation and impact will vary.

Understanding all aspects of the business software implementation, not only its functions but also how it will impact your organization and users, improves the quality of plans for installation, deployment and user adoption.

Business software implementation cartoon

View a larger version of our business software implementation comic.