Part I: Making a Decision

By: Joseph Pfund

The first major step to implementing a new system is picking the right one. Choose wisely.

 

No matter what business you’re in, your company probably depends on outside services, software programs, and products to succeed. In many cases, the various systems and products your business uses were put in place long before you came along, which inevitably means one or more of them will eventually need to be updated or replaced. If you’ve ever experienced this, you know it’s often a huge endeavor. Luckily, there are more and more people within organizations in the world today who refuse to accept a system that doesn’t actually meet their needs, just because they’re afraid of change. I like to call these people “good idea fairies”, because that’s what they are. Don’t be afraid to be a good idea fairy. Implementing a new system or product doesn’t have to be difficult or scary.

Any decision to improve your business by implementing a new system starts with identifying the root of the problem. What is it about the current system that isn’t working for your business? How could this be addressed? Is replacing it the best option? Define your requirements, your wish list, and then your possible future uses list. You’ll probably want something that can grow with your business, and not a temporary solution (or a “duct tape fix”, as I call it). Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, it’ll be easier to narrow down the possibilities.

Don’t forget to involve your team in this decision. Get their opinion. They’ll probably be using it the most, so they’ll need to like it. What do they like or not like about the current system? What features do they want? Involving them gets you buy-in from your team. They’ll be happier and more accepting of a new system, which helps later down the road when you announce the change and actually start implementing it.

Choosing the right product with the help of your team is the first major step in new system implementation. The next steps are to communicate the change to everyone affected, train them, work out the details, and get the new system fully integrated into your business operations. These steps will be covered in the next two parts of this series.