Preparing to Select a New System
With advancement in technology and changes in consumer behaviour many retail businesses are embarking on new IT projects. Preparation for all this change can start well before a project commences and leaders can prepare early to help manage the transition smoothly and get the most out of new technology. Whilst there is so much to consider when on embarking on a retail change program, the points below should give you a good head-start.
Establish Business Requirements
An important stage of any new project is to establish your business requirements. Really take the time to outline clearly what it is you want from the new system. Detail specific business requirements, highlighting essentials and nice to haves.
It’s often tempting to think of process rather than the desired outcome. Try not to get too focused on how something is currently achieved, instead concentrate on each business requirement. Taking the time to do this will really assist you in the vendor selection process, throughout implementation, to Go-Live and beyond.
Time Management is Key
Technology projects are often complex and in order to succeed, require ‘buy-in’ from both senior stakeholders and business users. Allocate time to the project. It may seem impossible for yourself and your team to take time out of an already busy schedule but being proactive early and actively involved throughout the process is crucial to a project’s success. Before a project starts, be clear on your timeline. Highlight time periods that should ideally be avoided so that Project Managers can work around them. Review how to make existing business processes more streamlined. Allow for some flexibility especially during critical stages such as UAT, training and Go-Live. However, if you have taken the time to carry out these steps this flexibility will not feel so overwhelming.
Leadership style should be positive but realistic!
There are generally a few different ways that people handle change. As a leader, you will set the tone for your team. Being positive about change will encourage users to follow your lead. Communication is key, a great way to motivate your team is to highlight the benefits. Business users will be happy to learn that the bottom line will be positively impacted but there should also be tangible benefits that improve their personal experience at work.
Make sure everyone who is impacted is made aware of the effort that will be required when they are asked to spend time on the project. Highlight that there might be compromises to be made in the short-term to work towards long-term success.
How is your data looking these days? When embarking on a retail technology change program, data will be key to success. Often, existing data is migrated from multiple different sources. Cleaning up your data early will avoid data becoming a problem during the project. Setting business rules around data and allowing time for teams to clean up their Excel sheets in line with those rules, before the project starts, will make the data migration task much simpler and more successful.