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What are the main reasons behind HR software implementation failure?

As with any other project, a major software update can be dead before it even begins

Nobody takes on a project or upgrade expecting failure. An important part of planning a project is anticipating potential points of failure; however, failure can be difficult to define, especially when dealing with something as complicated as a software backend system.

Failing to achieve the upgrade is a failure, of course, and so are budget or time overruns and staff uptake difficulties. These may not be as catastrophic, but they can still be extremely costly. Here are some things to keep in mind to help avoid any failures, major or minor, in your HR software implementation project.

Manage expectations

As with any other project, a major software update can be dead before it even begins if the key decision makers have unrealistic expectations.

Firstly, software systems are tools. If your organisation has issues with duplicate or missing data or other potential human issues, a new piece of software is unlikely to make a difference. In this case, training and enforcing best practices will almost certainly be cheaper and more effective.

Secondly, there needs to be enough support for the project, but not so much that it becomes someone’s pet. There are some projects that everyone agrees need to be done; however, nobody cares enough to put the time or money in, ending up with poor solutions and easily ending up more expensive over time. At the other end of the spectrum, you have pet projects and scope creep, where a small set of decision makers with a lot of influence push or defend unneeded or unwanted features, resulting in cost overrun, missed deadlines, and unnecessary additions.

Plan carefully

Careful planning mitigates or eliminates a lot of issues with any software implementation. Before you speak to potential providers, you should have an idea of what features you want and what you want to improve over your current system. Having and sticking to a plan will help you to keep costs down and avoid making a poor choice due to a ‘cool’ feature.

A major decision you will have to make is whether your system will be maintained in house or hosted. Hosted systems will, in many cases, be less expensive; however, they will also be much less flexible and require internet connectivity to access, which is potentially disastrous if your business has a slow or unreliable connection. If you are looking at in-house solutions, involve your IT team in the decision making to avoid potential hardware issues.

Ensure employee uptake

Even if your project goes perfectly, uncooperative or untrained employees can make it appear to be a failure. Before you go ahead with an upgrade, make sure the employees who use the system are on board. If you are upgrading something that works perfectly in their eyes, they may resent the training and difficulty an upgrade brings.

Finally, make sure that the provider you have chosen offers a decent level of training and make sure that key employees are properly trained. Do not try to use every feature from day one – start slowly and make sure your staff have the time and support they need to adapt.

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  1. The most important thing is to make a list of particular features you need. Then find a software that has those or is fully customizable.

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