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Four steps for successful software as a service (SaaS) implementation – Step 1

Step 1 – Raising awareness

You’re clear on the return on investment for purchasing a licence to a SaaS product. However, with so much else going on at work, it’s difficult to see how you’ll find the time and headspace to implement it successfully. Even though you know implementing it will help create that space in the future. Juggling the day job and change can be tough. Sound familiar?

We have this conversation regularly with new clients who are thinking through the implementation process to bring insightQ into their organisations to underpin their quality assurance and improvement processes. There’ll always be day to day pressures that keep us rooted in the status quo.

Combining our years of change management consultancy with the experiences of our clients, here are a series of short blogs covering the four steps to help you to plan for success and make that ROI you know is there a reality.

The steps we’ll cover in this series are:

Step 1: Raising Awareness.

Step 2: Motivation to Change

Step 3:  Upskilling the Team

Step 4: Embedding the Change

If you’re an insightQ client you can access the templates in the Store and Share modules. If anyone else would like them to use for other SaaS implementation projects, please email hello@mesma.co.uk and we’ll send them to you.

Step 1 – Raising awareness

Focusing on what we lose by sticking with the status quo

Often when we are looking to change the way we do things, we set out a version of the future; a vision or goal. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this of course but we know people are persuaded more by what they will lose as opposed to what they will gain. It’s good to set out to be clear on both if you want people to buy-in to your plan. As Robert Cialdini reminded us in his interview with Harvard Business Review ‘Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for showing that if you’re trying to mobilize people under conditions of uncertainty, notions of loss are psychologically more powerful than notions of gain.’

Spend some time thinking through what will be lost if you don’t do anything different.

Consider this from the perspective of your colleagues; what you think might be lost by doing nothing will likely differ from theirs.

For example:

The senior leader or quality manager might be focused on:

We’re struggling to find the time we need to develop innovative  improvement strategies. If we don’t move to a more streamlined approach to managing our fundamental QA processes this won’t change.

Or

Our self assessment reporting process takes far too long, and the result is far too detailed without an obvious impact.. We aren’t going to be able to move beyond this working the way we currently do.

The curriculum leader might be more interested in:

If we don’t manage our quality improvement plans from a central point, we’ll still have too many emails flying around and I’ll keep getting frustrated being chased for updates against actions.

Everyone might be interested in:

We have far too many unwieldly spreadsheets on the go with no version control. It will take us longer to update these and stop people changing them than any of us have the time for or interest in doing.

Teachers and trainers might be interested in:

We know our current approach to undertaking observations is perceived by staff to be unhelpful and too focused on the grades. We’ll struggle to make it a more inclusive, developmental process without making a more significant change to our model to support them.

The IT team might be interested in:

Our current IT infrastructure is creaking. We are making this worse since we merged with X with too many legacy systems operating. Without any change, we will continue to experience performance issues which will get worse rather than better.

Sometimes, it’s the opportunity that’s the reason for change

It’s also important to recognise that sometimes, the reason for the change isn’t based on responding to a current problem (ignore the sales people!). Things may be ticking along ok, but you know for example, in future you’ll need to respond to a different external landscape or you’re looking to be more forward thinking in using technology to underpin your operational activity.

In these cases, my  advice is always one of honesty. I’ve seen far too many fudged project implementations based on a forced ‘selling’ of an idea to people. Your team aren’t daft, they’ll see straight through it and you’ll struggle to encourage behaviour change further into the process. The reason for change being, if we keep doing what we do now, we won’t get any better.

What’s in it for me?

Allow people to be a little bit selfish in the case of change if you want to instigate a meaningful shift. That doesn’t mean to say they won’t do it, it’s simply that they are asking a perfectly reasonable question which is ‘What’s in it for me?’

So, whilst a team member may hear what is being lost by continuing to work the way they currently work, they also want to understand what will be in it for them to do something different in their already busy day.

We’ll focus more on motivation in the next post.

For now, let’s focus on practical actions.

Step 1 Actions

With that in mind, consider the following:

Who are the key stakeholders in our proposed change?

What are their current frustrations with the way you operate as an organisation? In the case of insightQ, in relation to overseeing or participating in a quality management approach?

Which of these frustrations can you include in our generic communications and who is best to deliver that communication from a position of authority?

Which of these frustrations are very specific to groups of stakeholders and who is best to deliver those messages from a position of authority?

Against each of these frustrations, consider the ‘what’s in it for them (not you!)?’ Ask your colleagues to identify what they need from the software for it to achieve their return on investment in time and energy.

Its too easy to skip this step. Investing the time in raising awareness of the need for change will help you to avoid falling into the trap of assuming everything is working because you’ve trained staff in how to use new software.

In the next blog covering Step 2, we’ll focus on motivating people to make the transition.

If you’re an insightQ client you can access the templates in the Store and Share modules. If anyone else would like them to use for other SaaS implementation projects, please email hello@mesma.co.uk and we’ll send them to you.


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