Software modernization is absolutely necessary for the continued productivity and efficiency of a company’s operations — but it can cause some confusion among employees. Legacy software has usually been used by a company for many years, and employees will have already become thoroughly used to it. Consequently, you may want to be a bit proactive about easing the transition.
1. Get Back to Basics
Some people are naturally computer savvy. Others rely upon familiarity to complete their work. For the latter type, simply stating that a software solution is “similar” to the old legacy software isn’t going to be helpful. You will need to retrain your staff from the very beginning if you want to absolutely ensure that operations are not disrupted. Treat the new software solution as an entirely different procedure — even if it’s really quite similar.
2. Provide Documentation
Sometimes people don’t just need answers — they need to be taught how to find the answers themselves. Providing written and digital documentation for the new system will vastly improve adoption, even if you feel as though the documentation is generally too technical for your users.
3. Start Them Early
You don’t want to have to familiarize your users with a new software solution all at once. Instead, introduce the software early on so that they know what to expect. Begin with only the idea of a software transition (which is really quite stressful in itself) and then have coaching and training seminars that will slowly introduce them into the new technological waters. The earlier you start, the better.
4. Have Some Training Wheels
There should always be a technical support contact available to employees for the first few days (or even weeks) of software adoption. This will ensure that employees can get quick and comprehensive answers to any questions they do have about the new system. If you don’t have this in place, you will find that errors will crop up that are never corrected; employees may begin doing the wrong thing or utilizing workarounds early on, and these habits will persist.
In addition to the above, there are a few things that you don’t want to do when transitioning from legacy software. In general, trying to overlap usage of legacy software and new software will just lead to a failure to adopt — and trying to transition overnight will usually lead to massive levels of confusion. The tech support department of the software that you are switching to can usually help.