Stepping into the realm of software implementation might feel like venturing into unknown territory, but it’s a crucial step in modernising your business and boosting your efficiency.
Just as you rely on your trusty physical tools to get the job done, the right software can become an indispensable part of your toolkit.
This guide is designed with you, the tradie, in mind. We understand that swapping a spanner for a mouse can be daunting, but we’re here to show you how seamless and beneficial this transition can be.
Benefits of Software Implementation
Implementing software that is tailored to the needs of tradies can boost productivity, reduce admin burdens, and contribute to the overall success of your business. Our clients see results such as better communication with their team and clients, improved onsite safety and compliance, time savings and most importantly, improved business visibility and competitiveness in the market.
When implementing any software into your tradie business there are some important steps that you will need to take to ensure the project is successful and that you see a return on your investment as soon as possible. Here’s a step by step guide of what to expect from a tradie software implementation.
Software Implementation Stages
- Find the right software/app
- Creating a implementation plan
- Data Migration
- Software setup and customisation
- Software Training
- Deployment and Go-Live
- Support and Updates
1. Finding the right software/app
Finding the right software for your trade business involves careful consideration of your specific needs, budget, and preferences. A good way to start this process is by listing down the specific tasks and processes you want the software to help with. This could include scheduling, invoicing, job management, customer management, etc.
Do thorough research to identify software options that cater to your industry and business size, checking to see if there are any industry-specific solutions that cater to the unique requirements of your trade. Once you have a few options listed, we recommend checking whether the software is compatible with your existing hardware and that it can integrate with any existing software you use and are planning on keeping such as accounting or email applications. If your business has unique processes, investigate whether the software can be customised to suit your needs and whether it has the ability to scale with your business as you grow.
Lastly, compare software costs. Will it be a monthly subscription or a one-time purchase cost? You will find many software providers offer trial periods or demos. Take advantage of these to test the software’s functionality and see if it meets your needs and is user friendly. Be aware that software companies will do a hard sell on their product, before committing to anything you should look for reviews, testimonials, and case studies to gauge the experiences of other users or engage an independent software consultant to confirm whether this product will indeed work best for you.
To summarise you will need to:
- Identify your needs
- Research your options
- Check compatibility
- Assess customisation and scalability
- Compare costs to features
- Read reviews and expert advice on the selected options
As you can imagine, this research phase will take up a lot of your time and sometimes comparing the options and features between softwares can get confusing. To simplify and fast track this process, TradiePad offers Scoping Sessions where we use our expert knowledge to narrow down your software options and present them to you, highlighting the pros and cons of each during an easy to digest 1-2 hour session.
To see how we can help, complete the Find the Right app form here.
2. Software Implementation Plan
A software implementation plan is a document that outlines the steps and processes involved in introducing new software or upgrading existing software within your business. The goal of the plan is to ensure a smooth and successful transition from the old system to the new one while minimising disruptions to your normal business operations.
The implementation plan typically covers everything from initial setup, data migration through to training schedule and go live date, including:
- Project scope
- Project deliverables
- Implementation timeline
- Training plan
When you work with an independent software consultant like TradiePad we help you map out the project phases using a tried and tested method to make the transition as smooth as possible. It is a good idea to delegate a project hero from your company who is tech savvy and who will help drive the change from within your business.
3. Data Migration
If you run an established tradie business you will already have a tonne of data such as client records and project files that will need to be migrated to your new software before you go live.
Software data migration involves moving data from an old software application to a new one, migrating data to a cloud-based platform, or consolidating data from multiple sources into a single system. It requires careful planning, execution, and ongoing monitoring to achieve a successful transition with minimal downtime or disruption to your business operations.
The last thing you would want is to lose any historical data making this a very important and essential step in the implementation process.
4. Software Setup and customisation
One trap most tradies fall into is not realising the importance of proper setup and customisation of software. Off the shelf software is quite easy to download and install on your device but there are many additional steps that should take place after installation if you want to maximise your investment into the software program.
Configuring, and tailoring a software application to meet the specific needs and preferences of your tradie business allows you to optimise the software’s functionality and features. Setting up user accounts and defining permissions is crucial for controlling access to various features and data within the software to ensure proper security and data integrity, you don’t want all your staff accessing your financials!
Most software can be customised by:
- Rearranging menus
- Choosing branding colour schemes
- Selecting your preferred display options.
Customising workflows allows you to tailor the software to match their specific business processes such as:
- Defining stages and steps
- Automating repetitive tasks to streamline processes.
Depending on the software program you choose, there may be the ability to customise data fields, reports and forms or create templates for common documents, emails, or project plans within the software.
Effective setup and customisation of your software from the start allows you to leverage the full potential of the software for your business and speed up your daily workflows.
5. Importance of integrations
Software customisation usually involves integrating the new software with other systems used in your tradie business, such as accounting software or email. Integrating software applications streamlines your workflows by automating the data transfer and communication between your different systems. This helps prevent human error, reduces duplicate data entry, and gives everyone access to the most up-to-date information available in real-time.
Software integrations are essential for creating a connected and efficient business. They streamline your processes, create better collaboration, better compliance, improved decision-making, and allow you to respond quickly to market changes and customer demands.
6. Software Training Process
Software training is essential to get everyone on your team familiar with all the features and functionalities of your new software. Training helps users navigate through software more efficiently, guiding them to perform tasks more quickly, reducing the time spent on manual processes and repetitive actions.
A well-structured training plan reduces the learning curve, making sure your staff are adequately trained on how to use the relevant features of your new software. Training helps to build staff confidence, making them feel comfortable and capable when using the software.
During software training with TradiePad, we break your company into segments for training such as admin and field staff. This allows us to tailor the training to focus on the features, processes and workflows that are relevant for each division of your business to learn, avoiding confusion and information overload. Segmented training also allows us to cater for various levels of tech ability and to customise software settings to meet each division’s specific needs.
7. Deployment and Go Live
The deployment and go-live process with software is the final step of introducing a new software application or a major software update into your business. By now you have customised your software to suit your business, integrated your systems, migrated your historical company data and all staff are trained and confident of how to use your new software. Deployment and Go-Live is the final step where you commit to using the new software to run your daily business. Depending on the complexity of your new software, the Go-Live can be deployed in stages, creating an incremental and progressive deployment to each segment of your business.
As with anything new, you should expect a teething period as your team adjusts to the new way of working. Change management is important here from your company project hero and it is ideal to have support access to your software consultant trainer to answer any questions, resolve any issues or make tweaks to workflows as you actively work with the software. TradiePad training projects always offer multiple follow up sessions with our clients and an ongoing support period to ensure easy access to the guidance you will need for a successful software implementation.
8. Ongoing Support
All good software programs are frequently updated with new features, improvements, and security patches. Having access to ongoing support will be invaluable for your company to stay on top of these changes and maximise the use of any feature enhancements. Good tech support will also help you identify whether issues are caused by software bugs versus human error and help you come to a resolution more quickly.
Benefits of working with a software consultant
Software consultants like TradiePad are typically hired for their efficiency, specialised skills and knowledge and their ability to deliver results. Whether it’s implementing a new system, or optimising existing processes, consultants can tailor their services to meet the specific needs and goals of your project and provide effective problem-solving strategies for any challenges or bottlenecks in software implementation that may arise. Their expertise allows them to provide a comprehensive software implementation to your tradie business faster.
Software consultants stay current with industry trends, emerging technologies, and best practices, their deep understanding of your industry can bring valuable insights to your project. This ensures that the solutions they provide are based on the latest advancements in the field. Think of them as your trusted advisor, someone that will fast track your learning, instil best practices and guide your business through the change process.
They should offer services to help you find the right software, handle the implementation setup, data migrations and integrations for you and most importantly, provide training to your team, transferring knowledge and skills to ensure that your staff can use and maintain the software into the future. Often software consultants like TradiePad will also offer ongoing support services which will help you stay current with software changes, access further training and can push for new feature updates from software companies at your request.
From choosing the perfect software tailored to your trade needs, to implementing it with minimal disruption to your daily operations, we’ve got you covered.
Thinking of implementing new software into your business? Let’s chat!
TradiePad is the trusted software consultant for trades and construction businesses in Australia and New Zealand.