4 Reasons eRA Software Implementations Fail
You don’t kick off a software implementation with failure in mind, but over 50% of software implementations fail. Implementations can fail for a variety of reasons, most of which have little to do with the software. Implementing a new eRA system is among one of the most expensive and time consuming tasks a research administrator can take on. To ensure success, avoid these four common reasons that software implementations fail:
1. Project Management Alongside Your “Day Jobs”
A main factor to implementation failure is when the implementation itself becomes disorderly to the company’s daily business practices. There must be a distinct balance between dedicating an ample amount of time and resources to a new project and showing results. Existing employees are often asked to perform their regular job while implementing new software at the same time. This is a tough road to endure.
Make sure you partner with a company who understands that your time is valuable and that they are willing to do everything they can to ease the process.
2. Thinking That Software Will Solve Your Problems When Software is a Tool
Software is a means to achieve defined goals—not the easy button, and while the two are related they are not the same. If your processes are inefficient, then new software will only help to enforce that inefficiency or make it even worse. All too often we end up implementing flawed processes, so we end up doing the wrong things the right way. You want to do the right things the right way. Your partner should be able to help point to best practices and provide their experience working in similar situations, offer ideas on how processes may be improved, and/or suggest ways in which the adopted system can adapt to your needs.
3. Not Getting Buy-In from Staff
Not getting enough buy-in from your staff goes hand-in-hand with the reason that follows as the most common reason implementations fail. Bring staff in early in the process, gather their requirements and concerns, listen to what they’re telling you, and provide your vision. Allow for dissent and work with those who haven’t bought-in yet to understand the reasons for their resistance. Your staff needs to believe in the strategy and the software you’ve selected before you proceed. Making them partners instead of obstacles will benefit the project in the long run. Where they had an opportunity to help you fail they’ll now feel invested in helping you succeed.
4. Choosing the Wrong Software and/or the Wrong Provider
Commonly staff tasked with picking a product has no experience in how to successfully select a software solution that works. If a provider is chosen that lacks management skills, doesn’t understand your business model, or cannot train employees properly, then the software implementation is almost guaranteed to be a failure. Even personality can be a factor. Some providers are so fascinated with their solution that they forget to spend enough focus on your actual business needs. You must ensure that the software is flexible enough to deal with changes in business processes or can support your users, or the project can fail as well.
So what do you do? Some engage a vendor too help them with product selection, which is costly and can be a “wolf guarding the hen house” situation when they themselves sell or are aligned with a specific product. The other option is to become more familiar with how to select a software solution. Moderas provides free monthly webinars on that process that aren’t geared to any specific software solution. The webinars provide a structure on how to use a Six Sigma process to make the best possible selection so you beat the odds and come up with a winning solution. We have seen attempts at big software implementations that caused the institution to cripple for years. Remember, bigger software is not always better. The list above is not all of the reasons why software implementations can fail.
Moderas specializes in web based electronic research administration (eRA) solutions developed on the open source Ariah Research platform. To find out more about us click here.