We know the transition to new software can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming for school nutrition professionals but it doesn’t have to be! Implementing the right school nutrition software effectively can increase your revenues, user satisfaction, or even better—annual reviews. No matter what goal you are trying to achieve, successful software implementation makes your life better. When starting the implementation process keep these 7 best practices in mind:

  1. You are in Control
    You are in control

The success of the implementation process lies in your hands. You assume the crucial role of actively managing and driving this procedure. Implementation teams at your school nutrition software company lend support but not to do all of the work for you. When you begin a new software implementation you must have your goals in mind. These goals include your expected go live date, deadlines, and expectations. If you know what you want to get out of the transition you are more likely to be successful and meet those goals.

  1. Good Data In = Good Data OutGood data

This is the single most important thing to keep in mind throughout the implementation process. As with any critical action, it is extremely time consuming. When transitioning software you must carefully changeover your data to the new system. Remember: the information you get out of the new software is only as good as the data you put into it. This data can range anywhere from student information to menu planning recipes. No matter what the information is, proper entry is crucial to the successful use of new school nutrition software.

  1. Understand Why You are PurchasingROI

Are you facing problems with your current software? Is it not meeting your expectations? Or are you just looking for a change? When thinking about implementation it is essential that you understand why you are making this purchase. If you know the issues you hope to avoid you can figure out how the new software addresses them. Sitting down and figuring out what return on investment you are trying to achieve through the purchase of new school nutrition software will be beneficial. By figuring all these components out ahead of time you are on the fast track to implementation success.

  1. Internal Marketing is KeyInternal Marketing

Marketing is essential in any business, however, in your case you must market internally to the users of the new school nutrition software. Creating buy-in at the get-go is essential and can be done through a variety of methods. One method is to provide trainings through you or your vendor. During these trainings it is likely that the buy in will begin. These training classes become a forum where users can discuss their concerns and develop solutions with the support of their colleagues.  After these trainings have occurred it is likely that your customers and managers will begin to see the value of the newly implemented software. If your team believes in what you are doing it is almost a guarantee that the results will follow.

  1. It’s All In the DocumentationDocumentation

Before you kick off this crucial process you first need to know and document the details about your school nutrition program. This will not only be useful to you but also your software company’s implementation team. If you already have important information documented, great! If not, think about things like how many POS machines you have, how many users you have, and whether your staff is using touchscreens or mouse devices. Thorough documentation will prepare you for a successful and expedited training of your users.

  1. Communicate With the Implementation TeamCommunicate

Keep in mind that your software company’s implementation team can only help you as much as you help them. If you do not speak up and ask questions they will not know how they can best serve you throughout the process. The team needs your feedback so that they can help meet your school nutrition software goals and needs. It is better to solve a challenge during implementation rather than with 100 kids waiting in the lunch line!

Most importantly…

  1. Have fun!
    Have fun

The implementation process is an exciting time for your school nutrition program! A new adventure is always challenging, but keep in mind the benefits you will reap when it’s all said and done. When executed properly the implementation of new software will make a significant impact on the efficiency of your school nutrition program and will make your life better!
Share this post with peers who need help going through the implementation process! Now that we’ve refreshed your memory about the best practices, let us know what you have done to successfully implement software in your school nutrition program. Do you think our suggestions will help your organization in this crucial transition?