Preparing your small business for new software

A full software overhaul of your business can be a great way to iron out some kinks and try something new, but it also requires that you tackle the problem head-on. Whether you are integrating new payroll processing systems or moving to a cloud server, it is important to prepare for the change.

Schedule the Changes

Try to schedule each switchover so that employees know it is coming. This allows you to make it clear when certain services are expected to be down, meaning that they will not be caught off-guard while trying to use a program on their own machines.

Inform Employees

Let your employees know what you are changing. This includes moving to new tools, updating particular services, moving files around, or any other changes like that. Keeping them informed is important for making sure that they can still do their jobs correctly after the switchover.

Inform Customers

If a change is likely to impact customers – such as website software being adjusted and locking out the online purchasing options for a while – then post notices or announcements about it. Ideally, you should inform them ahead of time, letting them make last-minute purchases or other actions before they are temporarily locked out of doing so.

Inform Yourself

Be sure to look up each tool that you are going to switch to, even if you will not be using it. For example, it is important to understand what things like a pay stub generator actually do. You might never have to generate a pay stub or use a check stub maker,  but understanding that a paystub maker creates paystubs and payslips still help.

Save Files

Save any important files in multiple locations. You never know when switching to a new tool or installing a major update could wipe something, and you do not want to lose a lot of employee records or nearly-finished work due to the switchover. It would be best if you were backing everything up anyway, but it is especially important in situations like this.

Consider Failure Plans

There is always a chance that some software might break or not be compatible with another tool that you need to use. Plan ahead and make sure that you have a fallback if something goes wrong, like rolling back to an earlier version of a tool or reinstalling a temporary alternative tool until the current one is fixed.

Use Weekends to Test

If you are making changes to software that adjusts hardware, like electronic cash registers or a card payment system, then you can use weekends (when your business may be closed anyway) to test them out. Alternatively, if you are open all week, consider testing them near the end of the day when you have far fewer customers.

Stagger Upgrades

Never install a whole load of new software all at once – this makes it hard to find any points of failure if something breaks. Instead, take it one step at a time: install your small business payroll softwares one week, then cloud programs the next, and so on. If you do not do this, then you can lose track of what caused your system to break, making it much harder to fix.

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