Situation: A company plans to implement a new CRM system. They have a project road map and have assigned a manager for the implementation. However, the CEO has concerns because this is the most significant software roll-out that the company has ever attempted. She wants to assure that the roll-out proceeds smoothly, and that and that sales, marketing and customer service functions are not hampered. How do you simplify a firm-wide software roll-out?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Focus on company business objectives as you plan and implement the roll-out. Optimize the system to company business objectives, not just what the team wants.
- Scope this out as a project management exercise.
- Identify objectives.
- Build and test.
- Roll the system out to preliminary production and collect feedback on functionality.
- Rebuild and test.
- Plan and conduct system orientation training.
- Set a date for the roll-out.
- Don’t immediately roll the new system out company-wide. Conduct an initial implementation with a small scale test team. Make sure that everything works as planned and that day-to-day function is not compromised. From the information that you gather during initial implementation, tweak orientation training so that everyone is comfortable with the new system.
- During initial planning sessions to set system objectives, meet first with managers whose teams will be impacted by the roll-out. Managers may not speak freely if their support staff are present.
- Have a roll-out celebration and be generous complimenting personnel who have been involved in planning and roll-out.