1. Have a process for identifying and measuring your software project benefits – from initial project approval, selection, implementation through to post implementation. Regular monitoring and measuring will flag up issues, enabling you to take action accordingly.
2. Implementing a new system, is much more than just buying new software. Projects often include additional hardware, databases, consultancy, training, labour costs and will not be successful without them. All the foreseeable project components should be recognised well before the project is approved and costs for these included within any ROI calculations. That way, whilst the ROI will be more realistic, you’ll be more prepared and be more able to maximise your ROI.
3. Do not make excessive cuts in the project budget, which may appear to increase ROI on paper, but in practice could severely hamper the success of the project later on. For example, if the project team would be able to work much more efficiently with the latest high-spec PC’s and large monitors – then provide them, as the increased output will than outweigh the costs saved by using inferior equipment.
4. Ensure your technology is compatible and consistent. If the new software requires new or upgraded hardware, or database etc., then provide it. There is really no point in trying to run new software with hardware that cannot cope.
5. Re-engineer your processes, to work with your business and to get the best out of the new software. If you have existing processes that are poor, implementing new software is not going to have much impact unless you revise the processes accordingly. Spending time re-engineering your processes is time very well spent.
6. Ensure your project team and software users have good training. This means paying for training. Either buy from the vendor, or set up a train-the-trainer scheme and do it yourself, plus have regular on-going training and a programme to support users. Don’t just rely on manuals, DVD’s, or online help. The better the training, the quicker your users will become competent and expert with your new system, and consequently the better your ROI will be.
7. Get the right people involved. Sometimes, extra training is just not enough. If this is the case - don’t struggle on. If you need new skills and knowledge, then bring in additional people, even if it is only for a short period.
8. Thoroughly cleanse your data and ensure you only have good quality data in your new system. Otherwise, no matter what the software is, it’ll still just be ‘garbage in - garbage out’.
9. Focus on the big potential gains from implementing new software, such as below. Then, identify and use relevant metrics to monitor improvements.
- Reporting - preparing, printing and mailing regular reports can be very labour intensive. With new software, time spent on reporting can be drastically reduced, enabling those employees involved to be re-allocated to work that is more important.
- Productivity – the time it takes to carry out the same specific tasks, before and after implementation.
- Removal of manual / human errors within the present system.
- Reduced duplication of information and tasks.
- In fact, any routine process in the existing system that consumes a lot time, which could be automated or human involvement substantially reduced, within the new system.
10. Ensure you, your project team, all users and the organisation as a whole, adopt the new software solution. This means, that everyone gets behind the new software, pulls in the same direction and actively chases the planned benefits – both during and after the implementation. So if necessary, spend more time planning the implementation, training, managing the project and convincing any doubters to get behind it.
In summary, to maximise your software project ROI, you cannot simply cut your costs – you need to invest and spend, in order to succeed.
For more IT project proposal information visit: Why change your present system? / Project scope checklist / IT project proposal / Proposal format / Basic roi calculation / Return on investment calculator / Project budget / Hidden costs of acquiring software / Project budget template / Proposal evaluation sheet / Software selection acronyms