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5 Tips to Successfully Implement a Software System

As an IT practitioner for 24 years, and 18 of those years spent analyzing, building, and implementing software products, I have had my fair share of successful and not-so-successful software implementations during my early years, whether internally or for clients.

To help you avoid the most common pitfalls in your own implementation, I have curated my top 5 tips on successfully implementing business software systems.

Whether it is a hotel management system, a simple inventory system, or a full-blown ERP system, we’ll walk through crucial tips to set your software implementation for success.

From proper scoping, to team communications, to allowing flexibility, I’ve got insider advice to help you implement smoothly. With these practical pointers in your back pocket, you’ll feel ready to take on your software implementation with skill and confidence. 

1. Clearly Define Goals, Scope, and Timeline

I get it. You want all your headaches to be over when the system is put in place. You’re expecting an “on” switch where everything is automated, and results are given to you on a whim.

I have witnessed too many businesses having this mentality, and 100% of them fail. Why? Simply because they expected too much, too soon.

When embarking on a new software implementation project, clearly defining the goals, scope, and timeline upfront is critical. This helps set proper expectations and ensures all stakeholders are on the same page regarding what will be delivered and when.

In the 2021 EY 7th Global Corporate Reporting Survey, 56% of finance leaders said that “there has been resistance to some of the changes we have had to introduce”, leading to a substantial reliance on manual process even though most of the organizations have ERP systems in place.

Setting clear goals and scope will discourage this, as you will work hand in hand with your end-users to plan for a non-disruptive migration to a new system, while effectively letting them experience the benefits of adoption.

Start by determining the key objectives and priorities of the project. What specific problems are you trying to solve? What capabilities or functionalities are most important? Get input from all departments and teams that will be impacted to make sure nothing is missed. Review and refine until you have a focused list of key goals.

Next, define the scope by specifying what is included in the project and what is out of scope. Detail the features, integrations, data, and processes that will be addressed. Also note any constraints like budget, resources, or deadlines that could influence the scope. It’s better to start small and build over time rather than take on too much at once.

Finally, create a detailed timeline for all project stages, including planning, development, testing, training, and launch (go-live). Factor in extra time for potential roadblocks or setbacks. Break the timeline into manageable chunks and set clear deadlines and milestones.

Revisit these definitions regularly throughout the project and make any needed adjustments. As priorities or constraints change, you may need to redefine the goals, narrow the scope, or extend the timeline.

The key is maintaining a shared understanding with all involved so you can work together effectively to achieve the best possible outcome. With clear goals, an appropriate scope, and a realistic timeline, your software implementation project will be set up for success.

2. Assemble a Team of Process Champions.

To successfully implement a new software system, you need the right people to champion the project. Identify key team members from different departments who will be affected by using the new system. These Process Champions will help guide teams through the transition and ensure everyone’s voice is heard.

These individuals can be your Purchasing Manager, the Executive Sous Chef, the Housekeeping Manager, the Income Audit, and others. They should be respected and knowledgeable members of their teams, able to motivate and support their coworkers.

Meet with them regularly leading up to the implementation to discuss:

  •  How the software will impact their team’s day-to-day work. Address any concerns and make a plan to minimize disruptions.
  •  Ways they can encourage user adoption and help others learn the new system. Give them strategies and talking points to share with their teams.
  •  Ongoing feedback and suggestions for improving the implementation process. Be open to making changes based on their input.
  •  Additional resources or training they may need to support their teams properly. Provide extra help so they feel fully equipped for the role.

Appointing Process Champions from each team and giving them the tools and authority to guide the transition is key to the success of any software implementation. Their role should continue even after launching the new system to help address any issues and ensure long-term adoption. By putting the right people in place and keeping the lines of communication open, you’ll gain valuable allies to help push your software project over the finish line.

3. Invest in the Correct Software that Aligns With Your Goal.

Now that you have set your objectives and consulted your team, choosing the right software to help you achieve these goals and support your team is equally crucial.

You need to avoid complicated systems that tend to burden your team unnecessarily – distracting them from the goal and ultimately killing the project. Asking your team to use an overtly complicated system is like telling them to communicate using a different language.

Consider software systems that automate most of the needed clerical work. A fully integrated system, where information is automatically captured from one endpoint to another, will not only ensure the integrity of the data but will save time for your employees, which can be used in analyzing this information to improve your processes and systems.

You also need to consider the after-sales support that will come from the system provider, especially for operation-critical queries or assistance. Getting support when needed ensures non-disruption of your operations and creates an environment where your team can lean on outside support should they need it.

4. Measure, Then Scale.

When implementing a new software system, it’s important to start small by measuring key metrics and then scale up over time based on your learnings. Rather than rolling out a huge, company-wide launch right away, take an iterative approach to ensure long-term success.

For example, start with a few essential items when implementing an inventory system. Select easily quantifiable items (soda cans, bottled beverages, tissue rolls, canned goods, and the likes). This way, you can test manual and automated processes before scaling up. By starting small, your team is given time to adjust and learn best practices to sustain these systems.

Set baseline

  • Track the progress for at least a week to establish a baseline. Continue measuring to see how the numbers change. Look for improvements in customer satisfaction, work efficiency, employee productivity, and other metrics you want to impact.

Make improvements

  • After a few weeks of use, check in with the team for feedback. See what’s working well and what could be improved. Adjust the processes and systems based on their comments and continue measuring KPIs. Repeat this process until you’ve optimized these for the team.

Scale up

  • With a successful initial rollout, you can implement the systems to more items or teams and eventually company-wide. But continue the measuring and optimizing process with each new group. Their feedback and metrics will help enhance the tool to benefit all users.

Starting small and scaling up will produce the best results when implementing new software systems. By focusing on continuous measurement and improvement, you can build something that truly meets your organization’s needs. Make any final tweaks needed to ensure widespread adoption and success with each rollout.

5. Build a Company Culture.

Finally, building a positive company culture is critical to the organization and to the success of any software implementation project. Your company culture reflects the values, attitudes, and behaviors of everyone in the organization.

I would go far as to say that if you haven’t instilled a positive company culture, do not dare embark on more significant tasks such as a software system implementation. An organization needs to define its core values first. It first needs to make employees understand the value of accountability, trust, and teamwork, among others.


You now have 5 solid tips to remember when taking on your next software implementation project. By defining clear goals, assembling a skilled team, managing scope and timeline, testing thoroughly, and planning for maintenance from the start, you’ll set your project up for success.

Don’t be afraid to lean on these tips even after launch, too – they can guide you in keeping your software systems running smoothly for the long haul. And if things still go sideways? Don’t panic. Software projects are complex, and even the best preparation can’t control everything. Stay agile to pivot as needed. The key is keeping your end goals in sight no matter what comes up. With some practical tips and flexible thinking, your next kickoff meeting will be the start of something great!

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