The Value of a Roadmap on Construction Software Implementation Success
Ready to transform your organization with new construction software solutions? Finding the best construction software to meet your business needs can be the easiest part of your plan.
You have invested time and due diligence to find the right product and now you are energized and excited to start seeing the benefits from your new software! We call these expected benefits, the “perceived value” that your new software solution will provide your organization.
You sat through product demos, you heard the sales pitch, you went through a formal or informal ROI and now you have signed agreements. You are moving forward with the purchase of new software. The key is to find a way to deliver value to your organization quickly. And, to ensure you continue to maximize ongoing value as you expand your use of the software.
Unfortunately, most construction company software implementations begin without a clear plan and very little structure. It then becomes a struggle to achieve timely value (or first value) to the organization.
The Construction Software Implementation Roadmap
Think about that. What stands out as the reason companies fail to achieve value? It is not the lack of an implementation plan, but instead, the lack of a clear “implementation roadmap”.
Companies often have an implementation project go “off track”, simply due to lack of visibility, accountability, communication, and execution of a specific implementation roadmap.
They also face challenges related to assigned resources, the status of implementation tasks, or even an overall project timeline. Not only does this produce frustration during the implementation project, but it has a significant impact on the overall value received from the new software. Which, can often become underutilized by an unengaged and untrained organization.
Why does this happen and why do so many construction software implementations struggle? Our experience indicates it boils down to developing a structured plan – one that ensures project visibility, accountability, and communication. A roadmap for your implementation journey.
Successful Implementation of a Roadmap: Why It Matters?
Your software expectations and perceived value are high right after your purchase.
What do you do? How do you start? First, you should understand and document your organization’s value expectations. What specific ways will this new construction software add value to your organization? Where do you expect to see the most positive impact and in what specific areas will you see improvements? And by how much?
Ideally, during the sales process, a “discovery document” was compiled outlining the business and software feature requirements, and other critical data points to help you choose the right product. Now is the time to gather your business requirements and value expectations and mold them together into an implementation plan – a ROADMAP.
The implementation roadmap is just like the roadmaps we use every day, when navigating from one place to another. Your implementation roadmap should outline where you start, where you are going, what you will do along the way and ultimately where you should end.
Sure, there may be obstacles or detours along your path. Those are common. It is how you navigate through them that will matter the most for both your experience and results.
4 components of a successful implementation roadmap:
Team Alignment Process
It is essential to bring together the software selection/evaluation team and your broader implementation team. Set-up a meeting that is dedicated to this transition and make it a formal, onboarding type event. Their engagement and feedback will be invaluable in helping you set expectations, accumulate relevant information, understand the key players and their perceived value, and set objectives for the implementation.
Pay Close Attention to Roadmap Timelines
When are you going to start? When will this implementation end? Define the critical dates and document the expectations of value at each point. What did you share with your software vendors sales team regarding timelines? Identifying these key milestones and defining schedules and timelines is critical to ensuring everyone is aligned and expectations are understood. These timelines and schedules will make the tracking of the project easier and allow you to make relevant adjustments when necessary.
Assign Realistic Parameters for Implementation Roadmap
No ERP software implementation goes perfectly, so build contingencies and set realistic goals and targets to your timelines. Your timeline should be realistic enough to deal with issues and adjustments that arise during the implementation process.
Predefined Roadmap Agenda
You never get second chances to make first impressions. Make it a priority to ensure you have a very prepared implementation team. Before the meeting, share the agenda and any other relevant documents and get confirmation that attendees will review them ahead of the scheduled meeting. In your agenda, make sure you clearly identify the talking points for the meeting and share the expectations for both timelines and value.
Define Milestones and Communication Protocols
It is important to define your milestones and communication protocols during the kick-off meeting. Get buy in and confirmation to these milestones. Setting up effective and collaborative communication is essential for updating key individuals about the health and status of the project. Remember, successful ERP software implementation is a collective team effort and requires ongoing and consistent communication.
Remember the quote “accountability is the glue that bonds commitments to results”.
Your implementation team will get frustrated when they do not know what is expected of them or who is responsible for specific tasks in the implementation. The quality of your results will depend on your degree of accountability. You should define who is responsible and for which tasks during the entire implementation plan. Roles and responsibilities can take many forms. Ideally, you should have a project manager and departmental managers engaged throughout the implementation.
We recommend having a third-party project manager, someone outside the organization, to provide overall project oversight. Also, make sure you maintain executive sponsorship from your leadership team, and if possible, an executive or leader from your construction software provider. No matter how many people you have, make sure their roles and responsibilities are clear, defined, and actionable.
Consistency in Implementation Collaboration
Staying collaborative and consistent in your efforts is essential to the success of your implementation. Just like any other journey – your passengers need to know where you are and when you arrive – otherwise, you will frequently hear “Are we there yet?” Keep an eye on the progress of your construction software implementation and regularly review whether you are on track to hit your timelines and reach your milestones. Celebrate successes during the implementation and do not dismiss concerns, issues, or risks. Your implementation team will welcome and appreciate consistent and collaborative communication.
Consistency in Tracking Implementation
Documentation is another key to your project’s success. Always track issues and assign responsibility for resolution and maintain high accountability along the way. Additionally, you can create testing scripts and actual data workflow scenarios through your software solution to ensure that configurations and setup are correct to meet requirements and expectations.
Set Resolution Expectations
At the end of the day, the success of your ERP implementation project will come down to completing assigned tasks and proactively pinpointing issues – specifically how, when and by whom they will be resolved. The sooner you identify functional and technical issues, the quicker you will be able to review and fix them. This is where you can confirm that your team is working collaboratively to resolve these issues within the specified timeline and without compromising the expected business value and desired outcomes.
Go Live Readiness
Readiness Assessment. Ongoing Customizations and Support
You have organized your project team and have been laser focused on visibility, accountability, and clear communication. Tasks have been completed, issues addressed, and your ongoing testing plan has been a big success. Now, you need to ensure your team is ready to “go live”. We call this a readiness assessment. It involves walking through all workflows and confirming that your end users and other stakeholders know how to effectively use the new software to accomplish their task and achieve the desired results.
Written or tested confirmation is much more effective than a simple yes or no response. We use an automated tool for confirmation for the ERP projects we oversee and consider this approach an industry best practice.
Your ability to tailor or customize your software, will depend on the construction application that you decide to implement for your construction company. If available, some customizations were likely made during the implementation process. Now, you can review and analyze future tailoring and decide when these new customizations should be added to your environment. Focus on the value these potential customizations offer to the organization and the impact they may have on the end user workflows.
Ensuring your customizations align with your business requirements and expected value is critical. Do not allow ad-hoc user specific suggestions to dictate company-wide workflows and processes.
It may be helpful for you to work with a software implementation ERP partner to help you identify and assess the considered customizations. A partner can help you better understand the cause-and-effect of each change.
Post-Live Support and Assistance
An ERP implementation partner can also help you with post-live support. Ensure your organization can continue to make the most of the solution after launch. Having resources available to quickly answer questions, confirm appropriate workflows and reinforce confidence from your end users is a valuable component of any implementation plan. This will ensure you are in the best position to celebrate the launch of your new software.
Bringing it all together…
Choosing and implementing the right construction software solution can be a difficult and challenging endeavor. The industry track record is mixed. Implementation challenges can be considerable.
Success starts with finding the right solution that meets the specific needs of your business and provides the expected value. Leverage an experienced partner to guide you through the process.
Successfully implementing your chosen solution is an ongoing process, one that will have its ups and downs. The good news is partners like ConTech360 have the experience you need to successfully implement all types of construction ERP software and an array of other construction technology products in the market today. The best way to ensure the success of your implementation is to start out with a good implementation roadmap.
If you stick to your implementation roadmap and utilize the resources of your partner, you will be amazed at how smoothly the process can be and the value it can bring to your organization. It is a journey well worth the investment.