1. The project is an opportunity!
A decision is made to install new software for a reason and a Modern Workplace solution such as Microsoft 365 can open the door to a multitude of opportunities for businesses. However, there are always those at the company who will predict the project’s failure before it’s even started due to it structures and culture. Highlight the opportunities for the company. Which issues will be resolved by the new software? Talk to colleagues throughout the company to find out what problems they are having which could be resolved by the Modern Workplace solution. Make sure you are clear about the benefits it can bring and never lose sight of the opportunities. You should also ask that the critics give the project a chance to succeed. Seek them out and listen to their concerns. You can either try and address them directly or offer to open a continuous dialogue with them. In the best case, you can draw on experiences that will be beneficial to you in this project. Dialogue is an important tool which brings me on to point two ...
2. Don’t forget stakeholder management!
The number of stakeholders affected depends on the software, but when introducing a Modern Workplace solution, they will be in all departments. By carrying out an initial stakeholder analysis and putting in place a system of stakeholder management, you can ensure that the right people are being taken into account and you can communicate with them during the course of the project. The stakeholder analysis considers everyone in the company who has a legitimate interest and also potentially some influence on the project. When it comes to the Modern Workplace, this includes department heads, HR admins, corporate communications and many more. When you meet with these stakeholders, you can open a dialogue on the benefits of the project. Speaking of dialogue ...
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Staying with the example of the Modern Workplace, every employee is affected. If you don’t communicate, rumours and office gossip will quickly set the tone and more often than not, this will be negative with people wondering what it means for them. So, the earlier you start communicating the benefits of the project—its status, planning and offers of support, the sooner you can influence the information making the rounds. Good communication also means knowing in advance who your target groups are, which information they need and how often they should be informed. And while we’re on the topic ...
4. Get your users involved!
As it’s the users who will have to work with the software, it is logical that they should be involved in choosing applications and features or in the implementation itself. Work with them to develop application examples that can be used in communication and training to demonstrate the applications’ benefits in real-life work scenarios. The perfect time for this is during the pilot phase when you can also win over valuable supporters. And this also leads very nicely to my next point ...
5. Get yourself some opinion leaders!
You’ve heard it all before, but these people can help ensure success. They communicate directly with colleagues, bring with them expertise and experience from the various departments and serve as direct contacts. They also listen to the needs and wishes of their colleagues and feed them back into the project. Opinion leaders are involved from the pilot phase and can be your most important allies, but to make sure you really can rely on them, you have to make sure they are able to deliver ...
Consultant Digital Solutions
Digitalisation is about much more than buying modern technology. You may have the best tools at your disposal, but to unlock their true value your people must be able to use them efficiently and, of course, want to use them, too. In the end, it’s the users who make or break your success.
6. Train the trainer so you don’t have to do everything yourself.
You need to make sure your opinion leaders are given the support they need. Give them extra training so that they are not only willing, but really able to provide their colleagues with support. The same applies when you want to utilise in-house trainers. The more they know, the more they can pass on to the users. Changes are an exercise in evolution, and you need to make sure that everyone can keep up ...
7. Walk before you can run.
No matter if it’s “only” software that is being installed or if working practices are being adapted, both are changes. Introduce features and application examples step-by-step so that users have time to get used to them and aren’t overwhelmed. This approach also allows you to collect feedback at any time, which you can then use to continuously optimise your offers. Anything new needs to be tested out, but what’s the best way to do that?
8. The freedom to experiment – For the curious, the cautious and everyone in between.
Give your opinion leaders and users the opportunity to try out new functions and features. It happens quite often that functions are not used simply because the users don’t know how to, which is why it’s important to allow time for them to play around. This can be made possible using demos, but also workspaces, pages and teams with different permissions and the assurance that everyone is there just to try things out. This can also be a space where people can share their experiences as some people will always see functions that others never would have noticed. User knowledge is, after all, crucial to the project.
9. Feedback – Communication goes both ways.
At the start we discussed how important it was that you communicate. We’ve already talked about the importance of opening a dialogue with stakeholders and users and this can be achieved by creating a project e-mail address, contact form and other tools. It’s important to use these channels to gauge the mood and thoughts of your users so that you can react to their concerns, fears, wishes and questions. One frequent concern relates to searching out information.
10. A central point of contact – Keeping the hunt for information to a minimum.
You might have the best offers for support, but they won’t matter if your users can’t find them, especially if the information they need is spread across various sources. It’s more than likely that the answers to most questions posed to support can be found in detail somewhere. Make life easy for your users and create a central project page, for example on the intranet, and invest the time to make it user friendly so that users can actually find what they are looking for.
It’s not rocket science and you’ll probably think it sounds logical. At least, that’s the reaction we tend to get. At the end of the day, it’s all about making things simple, but there are many people who struggle with that. And that’s understandable as things tend to be easier when you’ve had experience in similar projects, such as in when to communicate what. And yet doing something is better than doing nothing at all because otherwise, you’ll never gain experience. You can get in touch with us at any time to speak to experts and other Bechtle employees. After all, a simple conversation can make a big difference.