Implementing new software sometimes looks like walking in the desert.

Each company is sooner or later confronted with the need of new management software, for instance a time, billing and project cost management solution. Such kind of software is a tool which belongs to a constantly changing world, and its life cycle is quite often very short.

Installation is only a preliminary stage of an implementation process that can sometimes be complex and require a lot of time. In the case of ERP systems, for example, the implementation process will generally require several months. One can imagine the stress and uncertainty that such an operation generates within a company.

Beyond technical considerations such as compliance of the IT infrastructure with technical prerequisites, integration with other software, and import of existing data, there are other important elements that play a role in the successful implementation of the new program.

These are human parameters. They should be taken into account in the specification of the implementation process:

• the risk of reluctance to change
• the motivation of key players involved in the implementation process
• the availability of key personnel during the implementation process.

Reluctance to change
The situation is well known, and very symptomatic. For example, employees of a company are accustomed to log their time in an Excel format. The implementation of new timesheet software can be seen as a disruption of habits and a strengthened way of controlling employee’s time.

Another example: invoices are generated manually with word processing software. The advent of software that processes timesheets, expenses and generates billing may create irritation and reluctance because its implementation will modify work methodologies which often are deeply rooted among the employees. This climate of reluctance could generate the risk of delaying the commissioning of the new time; billing and project cost management software and affect its performance.

Motivation of key players during the implementation
Before making a choice of change or acquisition of a new timesheet management tool it is crucial to ensure that key stakeholders, that is to say, the managers of the company are really motivated by this implementation and consider this new project management software as a significant improvement in their current processes. If this is not the case, the duration of the implementation will be longer than normal, and the brand new tool is likely to be under-utilized. A common example refers to professionals with highly developed ‘creative’ skills (communication professionals, architects, and others) who could be poorly motivated by the perspective to use organizational and financial software features for monitoring their projects.

Availability of key people
When you implement a new management time and expenses recording software, key people (Controller, General Manager, HR …) need to be available in order to assiduously attend training sessions. Experience shows that too large time gaps between training sessions has the perverse effect of diluting the knowledge acquired progressively, to discourage individuals and to significantly slow the process of implantation. In addition, the software vendor expects to be guided by his client to set its product plan and organize training according to the customer’s expectations.

Choosing a time and billing software based on technical requirements and software performance is a good strategy of evolution of the company. In contrast, the human component, as briefly mentioned above should require a detailed analysis beforehand. If all the conditions required for the implementation (technical and human) are not gathered, one should then perhaps postpone the operation to ensure its success later. In a nutshell, availability and motivation of key people constitute the key to a successful implementation. When a company decides to move forward with our time and billing and project cost management software we take those human parameters into consideration, and work closely with the customer to ensure a successful implementation.

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