What to think about when transitioning to new software

As a small business, the chances are that virtually all of your operations run from a single piece of software, whether it’s customer service, eCommerce, or human resources. Making the switch from one type of software to another can be a challenge, not only for customers who might suffer disruption during the changeover but for your staff in helping them get to grips with the software and how it works. We’ve put together some simple tips to help you… 

Test, test, test

It doesn’t matter why you’re switching from one piece of software to another: if it doesn’t work in the way you intended, it’s pointless. Software changes can help you save money, access new features, and streamline your business, but it’s vital that you test all of the functionality you’re going to need before you make the switch. Having a live demo of how the software will work should give you some reassurance and ensure that any initial issues are quickly ironed out – sure, it takes longer if you test properly, but it could save a lot of time and headaches in the long run. It’s better to do things properly than rush and wish for the best. 

Train your staff

Before deploying your new software, it’s important that you give your staff some time to try it out and ask any questions they might have about it. Depending on the type of software, you might find tutorials and introduction guides on YouTube, or it could be that the developer or a dedicated IT professional visits your workplace to give a presentation. You could appoint a couple of ‘experts’ in-house who can be the helpers should staff need a question answering. 

Have dedicated support on hand

It always makes sense to hire a dedicated IT professional to be there to answer questions about the software, but as a small business, the chances are that you won’t be able to do it all in-house. We recommend outsourcing to a company that offers IT support in Doncaster, for example. Knowing that there’s a friendly voice at the other end of the phone to answer any of your IT problems will put your mind at ease, and ensure that your staff have someone to talk to if you’re not around should there be a problem with your new computer software. 

Choose a sensible changeover date

Finally, make sure that you give yourself plenty of time for the changeover from one software package to another, and consider doing it during a quiet spell at work where both your staff and customers are least likely to be impacted. For example, if you run a hotel in the centre of town, the last thing you want is to change your software package during the busiest week of the year. Be strategic – the more time you have to prepare, and the more time you have to fix things should it all go wrong, the better. Weekends typically make sense for changeovers. 

Got any tips? Let us know and check back soon for more.

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