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April 2009 | Volume 12 / Number 4
Viewpoint: Voice of the Customer

Ten Steps to Successful Software Implementation

(or how to save money and grow staff during tough times)

“This is just like a normal Monday!” That was a contact center Supervisor at 11:00 a.m. the day a new customer service application went live. Not only did the cutover go smoothly, the project came in several million dollars under budget. All music to this contact center consultant’s ears.

How can you achieve this kind of success?

  1. Consistent support for the project from the top. Senior IT and business management delivered key messages to team members and the organization as a whole. Management reviewed project status on a regular basis, moving quickly to remove barriers.
  2. Minimal software customization. This crucial decision saved money during implementation and will continue to save money over the years.
  3. Get process design right. Cross functional teams designed processes and developed business requirements. This enabled departments to understand how their processes affected other groups and reach consensus on the best approaches to shared processes.
  4. Focus on configuration. A critical area for CRM or any other implementation is ensuring that employees are assigned the appropriate roles and access.
  5. Make knowledge transfer a mantra. Design and implementation teams were composed of vendors, consultants and internal IT resources. So when vendor and consultants left the project, internal IT staff had the know how to support and extend the application.
  6. A well-managed project plan. Project planning started nine months before go-live. The plan had dozens of iterations as business needs and integrations with other applications solidified.
  7. Clear data conversion strategies. Strategies were carefully thought out and implemented with a range of solutions from systemic fixes to manual changes. Clean data at go live smoothed the implementation.
  8. Practice, practice, practice. We conducted a total of six mock go-lives. The last involved every member of the organization who would use the new application.
  9. Reward team players. Front line employees who participated in the project were rewarded through promotions and opportunities to transfer to other departments to broaden their skill sets.
  10. Create a sense of community. Two years working long hours, negotiating process design and business requirements broke down silos and forged working relationships that will support the organization for decades to come. IT

DID you know...

In a recent report titled “North American Hosted IP Telephony Service Markets,” Frost & Sullivan says the number of hosted IP telephony lines will grow to approximately 3.6 million in 2014, up from nearly 1 million at the end of last year. Integration with UC and business applications will serve end-users seeking a competitive edge, as well as communication vendors and service providers aiming to pick up market share and revenue.

Lisa Stockberger is a Vice President at Vanguard Communications Corporation, a consulting firm that specializes in contact center processes, operations and technology ( Contact her at [email protected].

» Internet Telephony Magazine Table of Contents

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