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Brian Beirl, DDS

Kingery & Crouse PA

TZDesign Group

Dave’s TOP 10 Reasons Why Your Software Implementation was NOT Successful

By Dave Boos

The 2006 CHAOS survey by The Standish Group revealed that across all industries only 35% of software implementations are considered successful, 19% are considered failures and 46% are considered to be challenged.  The following are Dave’s Top 10 Reasons why your software implementation might not have gone as smoothly as expected.

#10: You bought the “Starter Set.”
When implementing a new Accounting Software System, the first step is to review your current business requirements and long-term goals.  It is important to select a software package that not only supports your company’s needs now, but one designed with flexibility to grow and change with your business.  A common mistake many people make is they under buy due to cost, but spend more in the long run because the company outgrows the software and must switch systems entirely when business needs change. 

# 9: You bought the “wrong kind of screwdriver for the job.”
Key areas to focus on when choosing your software include the size of your business, industry, special components and technical support.  Choosing an experienced reseller is important, since the software purchase is only the first step.  Complete a “Needs Analysis” of your business and several demonstrations to ensure the product purchased is an ideal fit for your company.

# 8: You forgot to buy the “batteries.”
Report writers create custom reports using data already existing within your Accounting applications. All applications, such as General Ledger, Inventory, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable, include standard pre-designed reports, but they may not provide specific types of reports that your company needs.  Report writer add-ons are available and your reseller can determine the product needed to generate specific reports.

# 7: All the “parts” were not in the box.
Always review the list of core modules provided in the system, but normally these modules are not enough.  Most businesses need a variety of “add-ons” to truly complete their business automation process.  Additional modules can be purchased separately and integrated with the rest of your system.  Talk with your reseller about any special modules unique to your company that you must have to operate and be sure to get all of the modules you need.

# 6: Your “Installer” was just hired from his last job at the local grocery store. 
As mentioned previously, the software purchase is only your first step.  It is crucial that your implementation and training teams be knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with any issues that can arise.  After the initial install, you must be able to depend on your reseller for ongoing support, training, upgrades, add-ons, etc.  Building a strong relationship will ensure your business has the support to overcome any technical difficulties. 

# 5: The people that “configured” your software instructed you that C.P.A. stands for “Can’t Promise Anything.”
The services of a good accountant can be invaluable to any business and it is important that he or she supports the company’s software purchase.  To ensure the overall success of your business, your records must be up-to-date and accurate.  Your accountants can be a great resource when implementing a new software system because they offer guidance and experience relevant to important decisions regarding accounting processes.

# 4: You have to know a foreign language to call “Tech Support.” 
If you don’t work in the Software industry, some of the terminology can get a little confusing, especially if the person trying to explain it to you does not speak English well.  Again, this is where your relationship with your reseller works to your advantage.  Since they are the experts who set everything up, they can quickly look up your account, find the information they need and fix the problem.

# 3: You didn’t get a product that “plays well with others.”
By integrating all critical business functions, such as sales, purchasing, inventory, operations, financials, human resources, your website and CRM system, information is instantly accessible across the entire organization.  This eliminates duplicate data entry, costs and related errors, allowing your staff to provide timely, accurate information and better assist clients.

# 2: You installed it “on the run.”
Businesses must ensure that every step of the implementation process, from installation to deployment and training, is handled correctly.  Some tips to help the process go smoothly include implementing the software in phases, having a technical expert transfer the financial data, testing the software extensively before going live and completing staff training in advance.  To try to skip this step is a recipe for disaster.

# 1: You let “Bob” (who quit) train “Mary” (who got laid off), then train “Sue” who was a temp. 
Training users is one of the main challenges a company faces after selecting a new software system. In addition to completing daily work, staff must be trained on the software and take time to practice it.  Your reseller should be able to provide your staff with excellent training and assist in deciding when the company is ready to go live.


Business to Business Advice Columnist

About theAuthor
David M. Boos, CEO of Cornerstone Consulting has almost 40 years of experience in the computer industry. Dave began in 1983 servicing the PC based accounting software market. Cornerstone has since grown from a one-man operation to current operations in Tampa, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia and Los Angeles, California. And has added divisions of accounting and E-commerce software sales, custom programming, website design and Internet hosting. Dave is Novell and Microsoft Certified and is an Authorized Dealer for a wide variety of products including Microsoft, Sage and SAP Software. You can reach Dave at www.cornerstone1.com.