Retail software implementation: dos and don’ts

You’ve been planning your EPOS software upgrade for months, and with ‘go live’ day looming you’re starting to become nervous about the transition.

26th April 2016

You’ve heard of plenty of ‘go live’ day nightmares, such as losing all your data, the software freezing and refusing to budge, and staff who refuse to use the new system and want the old software back.

Implementing software is a long process that starts when you decide on a software provider. Through initial planning, to training, testing and the upgrade day itself, there are plenty of stages where something could go wrong. Equally, there are many opportunities to fix things.

If you’re thinking of switching EPOS software in the near future, here’s how to make the implementation process go smoothly.

DO take advantage of flexible training options

Training is extremely important - if you want your staff to use your new software at all, they must feel comfortable using it. If your software provider offers arange of training options, don’t just choose the cheapest automatically - think carefully about the solution that’ll work best for your business. Options include onsite training, external workshops, online training, or a ‘train the trainer’ approach where key users are trained, and then train their colleagues. The options you choose will depend on your budget, the number of expected software users, the computer literacy of your staff, and time constraints.

DON’T leave data migration and conversion until the last minute

Your software provider should start discussing data migration at any early stage process. Ideally, they’ll use your company’s migrated (and converted) data in your training programmes, so that you can learn with data that you’re familiar with. Depending on the format of your data, it may need to be tidied, or converted. This can take time. Several test migrations should be carried out before you switch. It’s vital that data migration goes smoothly, so if you haven’t heard from your provider about this service and your ‘go live’ day is looming, start nagging.

DO choose a conservative implementation date

It’s never wise to rush a business change as significant as a software upgrade. Your new provider can help you choose a suitable date, but it’s always best to be cautious. Discuss timelines and determine potential bottlenecks and how you can avoid them.

DON’T have unrealistic expectations

Even with the best training available, the new software is bound to have some teething problems. Expecting any software change to pay off immediately is very optimistic – remember that you’re making the upgrade because of the long term business benefits it’ll bring. Additionally, the new software won’t be able to double your company’s annual revenue alone; it’ll need some help!

DO ensure all users are comfortable with the software

Regardless of the training method you use, it’s vital that all employees who use the software are on-board. For retail software to bring benefits, all data must be stored and processed through it. You can’t afford to let some employees use an alternative system merely because they’re more comfortable with it. Invest additional time in training those who are sceptical about the software’s worth, and schedule refresher sessions every few months for struggling employees.

DO decide on KPIs to measure success

While the value of software can be difficult to measure, it’s always wise to decide on a few key metrics to track before and after the software’s implementation.

Even the most meticulously planned software implementation will hit a few bumps along the way. However, by being aware of the pitfalls in the process before it begins, you’ll give your business the best chance of a smooth changeover.

Interested in switching EPOS software? Contact us for more information on how Trader can transform your business.

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