Chapter 5: Cloud Software Implementation and Change Management


In the previous chapter of this cloud buyer’s guide, you learned best practices for finding a trusted partner to help make your business case vision and strategy a reality. Selecting a vendor and software solution is usually where buyer’s guides end, but there’s a final topic critical to the success of implementing, and gaining adoption for, your new solution.

In this final chapter of the cloud software buyer’s guide, we’re sharing implementation and change management best practices from hundreds of customers so you can set up your organization for long-term success.

Why Implementation and Change Management?

If you’ve been through a new system implementation, you know first-hand how critical it is to have a clear plan for changing your organizational structures and ways of working. If this plan is thorough and well executed, you’ll make progress towards achieving your vision and maximize the value of your software investment. If not, stakeholders are unlikely to ever embrace the vision and strategy for this business area or your chosen software solution, and may actively resist the change.

We don’t want that to happen to you - so let’s dive into the change management best practices Veeva has seen our customers employ to ensure a successful cloud software implementation and drive user adoption.

5 Implementation and Change Management Best Practice Areas for Cloud Software

1) Leadership and Governance

Your initiative should have a clear, public executive sponsor that is ultimately responsible for the project’s outcomes. This individual should lead a working group or steering committee that includes your original working group members. These people can draw upon their valuable experience building the business case and evaluating vendors. The executive sponsor should also encourage ownership thinking within the group, empowering members to “own” their respective focus areas and delegating responsibility appropriately.

Kick-off the initiative with a meeting to establish clear scope and outcomes, as well as expectations and norms for the group members. Be sure that this group sets up feedback channels so they receive and review regular input from the user community, and communications channels to push messaging and priorities to relevant audiences. The group should also determine how they’ll measure success (more on this in section three) and set up a dashboard to track key performance indicators at regular intervals.

2) Communications

Whether you hire outside communications support or involve your corporate communications team, it’s essential to have an owner and plan for internal communications. Start by introducing the initiative in a variety of ways - just an announcement email is insufficient. Consider a short video of your executive sponsor explaining why this initiative is happening, who it will impact and how, and the value your organization hopes to achieve. Reinforce this content in written form, through email and even posters in your office, and in-person comments during relevant town hall or departmental meetings. Err on the side of over-communicating. Set an expectation for how often people will receive updates (bi-weekly, monthly?) on the initiative’s progress and stick to it.

Once you’re confident all of the relevant people have heard of the initiative and have a general idea of the key messages, kick-off with a launch celebration. Make it fun - you’re introducing a new tool to help make people’s jobs easier and give them time back for more important tasks! We’ve seen everything from branded cupcakes, goody bags, and posters to help generate interest and excitement from the user community.

3) Vision to Value

Your team worked hard to gather quantifiable metrics of your current state for the business case. Now is your opportunity to use that data as a baseline and measure the impact of the new system through a “Vision to Value” project. Simply identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that would signal true value for your organization, and establish baseline values for how you were working “before” leveraging your original research.

As your new solution gets up and running, measure these same KPIs to see the efficiency and other gains everyone is making. Include encouraging data from this project in your regular communications to users to reinforce the value the system is generating, encourage adoption, and assist you in securing support for project expansion.

4) End-User Training and Rollout

Training and rollout is all about setting up your organization for successful adoption. Assuming that easy-to-use software with a modern user interface was on your vendor criteria, you’ve already taken the most important step towards successful training and user adoption.

Demonstrate that you value your colleagues’ time by setting up custom training sessions that are appropriate to each user group/category’s role in the system, and for global organizations create schedules that are considerate of different time zones. Your trainers may have to do more work, and it’s worth it to set the right tone and drive user adoption.

Your team should also revisit who is going to use the system in what ways, and identify what work instructions, SOPs, and other documentation should be updated based on the new system.

Additionally, consider adding a game element to your roll-out plans. We’ve seen great success assigning users to teams to earn points by conducting actions in the new system, with a leaderboard and prizes for the winning team. This type of engagement is especially valuable if users are working from home as opposed to being physically together in a central office.

5) Looking Ahead: Maximize Value

One of the most compelling aspects of cloud software is that it’s always improving to include new capabilities, adapts to changing best practices, and can adjust to changing business circumstances or needs.

To truly leverage your appreciating asset designate an “IT system owner” and a “business system owner” to continually stay up to date with new features being released throughout the year and make recommendations on whether to proactively accept new capabilities. They should also check-in regularly with the vendor and internal business stakeholders to see if there are new use cases or opportunities to expand within your organization and get exponentially more value from the software.

Looking Ahead: You’re Equipped to Take On Your Business Problems!

From chapter one when we laid out why now is the time to explore addressing your business problems with cloud software, through researching and compiling your business case, to selecting the right vendor and now implementation, you’ve taken quite the journey. We hope that this cloud software buyer’s guide has given you the frameworks, best practices, and confidence to better realize the potential of your organization through cloud software solutions.

Veeva’s business modernization experts are standing by ready to support you on whatever stage you find yourself in the buying process. Contact us and let’s explore what’s possible for your organization with our cloud software solutions.

Tips and Key Takeaways

  • Implementation and change management related to your new cloud software should have a clear, public executive sponsor that is ultimately responsible for the project’s outcomes, and a dedicated working group to execute against your plans.
  • It’s essential to have an owner and plan for internal communications. Introduce the initiative in a variety of formats and times, and err on the side of over communicating.
  • Designate an “IT system owner” and a “business system owner” to continually stay up to date with new features being released throughout the year and make recommendations on whether to proactively accept new capabilities


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