For those of you who might just be starting off in the construction industry or have even been in the construction game for quite some time – implementing new construction software is a tough task for any team. While we try to make the transition process as easy as possible here at Premier Construction Software, there’s no getting around the amount of work that’s required. However, there are some things you can do to make the transition process smoother and as pain-free as possible. Here are 5 tips to help make your construction software implementation a success!
1. Clean up your data
There’s no reason to transfer inaccurate data to your new software system. It’s a waste of time and money to deal with data you don’t need. Cleaning up your data before you begin implementation will save you time in the long run.
Start by reviewing all of your data for accuracy. You’ll want to make sure everything is as accurate as possible before transferring it to the new system. If adjustments need to be made, make them in the old system, so your data in the new system is clean. For example, write off all your bad debt before transferring your accounts receivable balances.
The next step to cleaning up your data is to delete or inactivate old customers and vendors. If there’s been no activity in more than a year, it’s safe to delete or inactivate them. You can always add them back to the new system.
2. Be willing to change your processes
Each software system has its own workflow. Trying to implement an old workflow with new software is not efficient. Most software workflows are designed for efficiency and to ensure that the data gets where it needs to go. By circumventing the prescribed workflow, you’re adding time and frustration for your employees.
New processes can bring efficiency and effectiveness to your data processing. Work with the processes in the software until the software is fully implemented and you understand the system. Then, if the process still doesn’t work for you, you can change things.
3. Test new features with a small group
When bringing new features online, it’s best to test them with a small group of employees first before rolling them out to everyone. Choose the key employees for that feature or your most adaptable workers to be guinea pigs.
Use the small team to test the process and work out the bugs before going live to everyone. Gather feedback from the team and adjust your process or software set up as needed to improve efficiency. Work with customer service for your new software to develop the best workflow for your company.
You’ll want to maintain an open dialogue with the initial testing group and the team implementing the new software package. You’ll need honest feedback so you can adjust processes or software setup to get the most from your investment.
You’ll also want to keep your whole team updated on the status of the implementation. Let them know when you expect to roll the new software out and how testing is going. Everyone will want to know when and how they will be affected by the new program. Don’t keep them in the dark.
Remember that any change will bring growing pains. Employees may get frustrated when they don’t know how to do something, tasks may take longer, and information may be difficult to retrieve for a while. Most of these inconveniences will fade away as workers gain experience with the software.
During the implementation process you may be tempted to go back to the old system but remember that change is messy and doesn’t come without some growing pains. Keep persevering, knowing that the rewards won’t be immediate, but they will come. Everything will take longer in the beginning, but as employees learn how to perform tasks and retrieve information, efficiency will improve.
Implementing new software is a process that takes time. Have patience with your team and try to implement as many of these tips as you can, and you’ll have a better experience. Clean your data, be willing to adjust your processes to fit the software, use a small group to test new features, and communicate and persevere. If you do all these things, you’ll have a smooth transition and be up and running live in no time.
Dawn Killough is a construction writer with over 20 years of experience with construction payments, from the perspectives of subcontractors and general contractors. Dawn has held roles such as a staff accountant, green building advisor, project assistant, and contract administrator. Her work for general contractors, design firms, and subcontractors has even led to the publication of blogs on several construction tech websites and her book, Green Building Design 101.