Software deployment involves the distribution of software across machines used by intended end-users. Developers conduct tests during and after the build process. The expectation is always that the software will perform as intended. However, this does not always happen. A myriad of environment and manageability issues could crop up requiring re-deployment, hardware upgrade, or other fixes. Let us break down some common software deployment issues and their fixes.
Data Classification and Management
One of the most common issues when deploying new software is inputting data in the new system. This is especially true when dealing with an institution that was using traditional ways of managing data. There must be a way of ensuring that data is captured adequately and classified correctly. Failure to do so messes up the workflow of the whole organization. Some processes take the output from previous ones as input. Inaccuracies in data entry could lead to mistakes at many levels within the organization.
This can be resolved through proper training of staff ahead and after software deployment. There should be regular audits to check for possible errors in data entry.
Integration Challenges during Software Deployment
While coding a new software entails most of the development work, integration is equally tasking. The new software must be integrated with the existing systems including CRM, ERP, and more. The development team must foresee this during the prototyping phase because it informs the technology they opt to use for development.
Part of integration is data migration, which must ensure nothing gets lost during the delicate process. Once the migration is done, the team has to wait and see how the new system holds up during the first few weeks after deployment.
Mitigating integration challenges is all about planning for all possible problems and having solutions ready for action.
Poor Software Deployment Process Planning
Software deployment can sometimes take months. This sometimes happens because of the size of the organization in terms of departments, offices, and staff members. The software development team may opt to roll out the new system in stages, checking for bugs, taking in feedback, and slowly getting users to accept it. The organization must plan properly for disruptions that could lead to a productivity drop. Employees will need to attend training on company time. There will be changeovers in systems that ultimately interrupt workflow. Any bugs in the new system might lead to interrupted customer service.
As such, adequate plans are necessary, including hiring extra staff, if need be, to cover for when some people attend training. In addition, there must be a communications strategy to inform customers of changes that might affect service delivery. This not only relieves employees of pressure but also protects the company’s brand image in the eyes of stakeholders.
Failing to Account for Hidden Costs
Software development projects will often have costs that are sometimes ignored during the planning phase. However, it is the work of management to anticipate such costs.
As highlighted, training is a big part of the deployment process. Trainings sometimes needs to take plan offsite and often could lead to the company having to hire extra staff to protect productivity. In other cases, those attending training after office hours need to be compensated for overtime. These costs can easily snowball to significant levels that can easily stall the project entirely.
Another category of costs often ignored is testing costs. During the deployment process, the system will need to be tested for such things as speed of task implementation, accuracy, security and more. For a large organization, there might be thousands of test scripts for all areas of functionality. This cost might not be part of the initial development costs. Software testing can cost as much as 25% of the initial development costs.
Resistance to Change
All the technical issues may have been taken care of, but if the intended users are not receptive to change, it may stall the deployment process. It is important to involve staff who will finally use the software right from the prototyping stage. The software team must collect views on the challenges the software will solve. This will inform the prototype they build, which must also be reviewed by end-users. This approach helps to build support and enthusiasm among stakeholders in the company. When the deployment stage comes, there is likely to be little to no resistance to the shift.
The Lack of a Feedback Loop
Software development projects are never one-and-off engagements. End-users will always have something to say about new software once they start using it. They may find that some features they expected are missing. There could be a few bugs in the system. There could also be some features that are unnecessary, thus making their experience more complicated than it ought to be. The development team should have a system for collecting such views and then implementing them in a second iteration of the software. Doing so makes the stakeholders feel that they have ownership in the project, which is critical for acceptance purposes.
Rapidly Changing IT Infrastructure Landscape
One of the major trade-offs that must happen during development is the choice of technology. IT is a rapidly changing field, with newer programming languages coming up every couple of years. New hardware emerges every year. The development team must choose technology that will not be obsolete in a couple of months or years. They must look at what is relevant in each sector and what the trends in software architecture are. Several organizations are opting for low-code solutions which not only accelerate the building process but also make reconfiguration easy. These solutions also reduce the initial investment in the software when compared to hand-coding solutions.
Picking the Right Software Development Partner
A major problem that could arise right after development is a vendor abandoning the project. Failure to provide training, tech-support, and new iterations of the software will leave your organization stranded. It’s therefore important to have a contract that stipulates the level of support expected from the vendor after software development.
If your organization needs assistance with software development, implementation, and integration, check out Transcendent Software. We are a fully-fledged IT solutions company with over 20 years of experience in helping clients get the most out of their IT infrastructure.