The people involved in a software system implementation are a critical part of the process. They can be even more important than the system itself. The employees of a business will have different attributes and traits that will impact any system implementation process. A software system supports the processes that people perform in the course of their work. Some people will grasp the relationship between business process and support system more readily than others. And some people will be more adept at modifying processes to adapt to support systems. Following are traits and attributes that will come into play when implementing software systems:
- Fixed or Flexible – Some people are more set in their ways and some are more flexible. When it comes to software system implementation there are pros and cons to both types. People that are set in their ways are more resistant to change but they also are less likely to change jobs and therefore will be more knowledgeable in company processes and procedures. Those that are more flexible will accept change more readily but may be less likely to follow accepted norms within the organization.
- Short or Long Term – When implementing a new software system – people that have been with the company a long time will have knowledge and experience of ‘the way things are done’. This can be an invaluable asset when implementing change such as a new software system. But long term employees can be more resistant to change and will adapt slowly. Short term employees may tend to not be as set in the way things are done but also will be less knowledgeable about the way things are handled thus not as able to map a new system to accepted processes.
- Knowledge of Company Processes – Company processes can be viewed as falling into two distinct areas – front line and back office. The areas are distinct however procedures within the business will span the entire organization. A system implementation will be best served by establishing those in leadership positions from the different areas. A business that has simple fixed methods of providing customer service will have a pretty straight forward system implementation process whereas a business that provides ‘you can have it your way’ customer service will have more twists and turns in its procedures and therefore will involve more mapping of support system to business processes.
- Leadership – Businesses tend to have a mix of people that naturally assume leadership positions and others that are more comfortable as followers. Regarding system implementation management’s role is to ensure that leaders take ownership of the system implementation and that followers follow. If people feel that a new system belongs to them the chances for a successful implementation will increase substantially.