You’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and money in selecting the right Nursery Software for your setting. Making sure that your team can use its full capabilities is essential to getting the maximum value from the software you’ve picked. Implementing a Software Adoption Strategy could be the key to making sure your team feel comfortable using your new software.
What is a Software Adoption Strategy?
A Software Adoption Strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines how your nursery will introduce and integrate new nursery software into your daily operations. It’s the roadmap that ensures a smooth transition, minimises disruption, and maximises the benefits of the software for both your staff and parents.
What makes up an effective Software Adoption Strategy?
There are many factors involved in creating and implementing an effective Software Adoption Strategy. Here are some aspects I think are key to a well-rounded, successful strategy.
Needs Assessment and Goal Setting:
Identifying your nursery’s specific needs and challenges allows you to understand how your new software can make a difference to your setting. Make sure you set clear objectives and goals for the adoption process such as reducing administrative workload or improving parent communication.
Involving all relevant stakeholders, including practitioners, administrators, and parents, in the decision-making process not only makes them feel involved in decisions you make at the setting but also ensures that your software benefits everyone involved in using it. Make sure you understand stakeholders’ unique requirements, concerns, and expectations regarding the software.
Choose a nursery software that aligns with your nursery’s needs, budget, and technical capabilities. Consider factors like ease of use, scalability, and compatibility with existing systems.
Training and Education:
Putting a training plan in place ensures that all staff members are proficient in using the software. Your software partner may have training available to book, make sure you are aware of the different options available to you.
Conducting a pilot phase with a small group of staff members allows you to test the software in a controlled environment. After letting the group use the software for a specified period of time, gather feedback and make necessary adjustments to address concerns and improve usability.
Rolling out the software gradually, beginning with a specific section or group, allows staff to become familiar with the software before implementing it across the entire nursery. Start with your pilot phase group, before moving on to the rest of your staff, before finally introducing it to your parents when you feel comfortable.
Developing a clear communication plan helps you to inform parents about the software’s features, benefits, and how to access and use it. You should maintain open lines of communication with staff and parents to address questions and concerns throughout the process.
Monitoring and Feedback:
Continuously monitoring software usage and collecting feedback from staff and parents helps you better understand how everyone is getting on using the system. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and gauge overall satisfaction.
Tips for Implementing an Effective Software Adoption Strategy:
Be prepared to adapt your strategy as needed to address unforeseen challenges or opportunities.
Share the vision:
Take time to explain to each member of your team why you are upgrading your software and identify how this will improve their ability to be at their best. Show how the software will benefit the running of the setting as well as directly improve the experience of the young people in your care and provide their parents with confidence in your setting. For example, explain how capturing observations on a tablet can save practitioners time by not requiring them to print off photos and write up observations, so they can spend more time with the little ones.
Identify user roles:
Who will be using the software and what role will they play in its implementation? These roles will differ significantly across your setting – from cashflow management and invoicing through to sharing communications and observations with the parents of those in your care. Ensure each individual understands their role in the implementation of the new system and how it will impact them.
It is not unusual for people to be resistant to change and more comfortable with the status quo. Having shared the vision of Why with the team, understanding the How then becomes important to ensure its success. Selecting a supplier who offers clear and comprehensive training support is key to user adoption and will help your team access the full benefits of the software.
There will be times when your team may come across issues using the software and when they will need immediate access to a technical support service. This could take the form of online customer support chats, telephone calls, the ability to email your provider’s help centre, or online Help Centre access for out-of-hours support. Check that your supplier is able to offer this level of support as part of your software package. You should also regularly check new release notes and update the software to ensure it remains current and effective.
Create feedback loops:
Encourage your team to be open and enable them to provide you with feedback and insights into how they are finding using the software and to share both positive and negative experiences. You should then be able to discuss this with your supplier who will be able to help improve the user experience.
Recognise and celebrate milestones and achievements along the way to keep morale high.
Implementing a new nursery management software is a significant step toward improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your nursery. By carefully considering your nursery’s unique needs, involving all stakeholders, and following best practices, you can navigate this transition smoothly and ensure that both your staff and parents reap the benefits of your new software.
At eyworks, we consider ourselves to be a software partner rather than a supplier. Our involvement with our clients doesn’t finish at the point of purchase, it continues throughout the lifetime of the software. We have comprehensive training and onboarding resources and a dedicated team of specialists available to help our customers with user adoption and any issues they may experience. We listen constantly and have even been able to incorporate feedback from our customers into our product development program, developing new features and delivering improved performance.
About the author
Charlotte Plummer, eyworks Support Manager has worked with eyworks since 2021. Before joining eyworks she was an Early Years manager where she achieved outstanding as a setting.
Charlotte joined eyworks on the support team and has since progressed to become the Support and Training Manager where she oversees our support superheroes and provides training to our wonderful customers.
A fun fact about Charlotte:
She once did a skydive to fundraise for the Harry Rainbow Charity, whilst juggling being a mum to four children (a daughter, and triplet boys!)