When you are rolling out new software at your company or trying to bring in some new members of staff and get them up to speed as quickly as possible, there is no doubt that you need to use a range of different techniques at your disposal. Part of this could mean having some software champions who take on a supportive role within the business. They can do everything from helping new staff members to get up to speed to teach on any updates that come through from the software provider themselves.
Of course, if you are going to have some software champions at your company, you need to make sure that you are picking the right ones who have the combination of the technical ability to deal with the software to the communication skills to be able to share this with others. Otherwise, the whole exercise will be a waste of time and could end up causing you more issues than benefits.
If you have never really considered having some software champions at your business before, there are plenty of different direct advantages involved in doing so. Let’s check out what a few of these happen to be, as it may well encourage you that this is a worthwhile path to go down. Before getting into this in more detail, let’s check out some of the major responsibilities of a software champion.
What Does a Software Champion Do?
There are many different direct responsibilities of a software champion at your business. First of all, they will be working alongside the software provider directly to work out where their package can be most useful, as well as the different direct problems at a company that they can help to alleviate. At the same time, they will also be tasked with individually taking on as much knowledge about the software and the different ins and outs of it, as well as being aware of any updates as and when they come in.
Importantly, there is also going to be a lot of input in terms of working with new members of staff and ensuring that they have all of the necessary training that will help them to utilize all software effectively. Plus, they are also going to need to hold training with existing staff members to ensure that they are up to speed with what needs to be done.
A big part of the role of a software champion comes down to simply always being there and ready to answer all questions that come in from others. If there is new software that is being brought into the fold at your organization, it could well be the case that they are going to need to take the lead when it comes to both implementation and testing to ensure that everything works well.
Of course, there is also going to be the troubleshooting element when some issues will start to spring up along the way, which is inevitable in the world of software. Therefore, a software champion will be trained to deal with most situations, and can help other members of staff to navigate any issues.
How to Choose a Software Champion
Now you need to go through the process of actually choosing the software champions in the first place. If they volunteer, to begin with, this can be highly helpful, as it means that they are all ready to take on all of the responsibilities that the role will entail. At the same time, it is also going to be useful if they are able to demonstrate some key characteristics that push them towards being successful in this particular role.
Number one on the list is that they can use the software effectively. However, they also need to be great communicators who can show that they have all of the essential attributes when it comes to communicating what can be some complicated concepts to people who may not be technically literate. A big part of this communication also comes down to ensuring that they are in close communication with the software providers themselves. On top of all of this, they also need to ensure that it fits in with their regular job role.
Reasons to Have Software Champions
Now that more has been discussed about the actual qualities that can make all the difference in terms of a software champion, it is also bound to be important to look closer at the key reasons to have some at your company in the first place.
Get the Most Out of Your Software
First of all, it is going to help you out when it comes to getting the very most out of your software, no matter whether this is Microsoft Office or Cadence PCB. Otherwise, you may well end up finding that there are a whole host of features that you do not end up properly utilizing. Your software champions should play a central role in ensuring that processes are set out right from the start, as well as doing more to ensure that any upgrades are integrated effectively.
On top of looking at how your software is running on a day-to-day basis, they could also do more to ensure that any large projects are handled effectively, looking into how the software could be better utilized in comparison to what is being done at this present point in time.
Give Staff Members a Clear Point of Contact
Sometimes, it can be highly difficult for staff members to know where they can direct their problems, but when you have some software champions in place, this means that they will know who they can speak to and some of the best potential ways that they can effectively deal with their problem. Ultimately, this can help to establish a great sense of clarity, as well as provide the reassurance to staff members that they know exactly where they need to go to be able to do their job roles in the most effective manner that is available to them.
This can be especially useful to staff that do not know all that much about software. At the same time, it is also going to prevent a great number of people from simply contacting the software provider and clogging up the overall system as a whole. Also, if the software champion is a highly approachable person, this gives a nice point of contact that people are more than happy to get in touch with.
Pass on Further Responsibilities
It is often the case that staff members are closely looking at how they can be presented with further responsibilities. Becoming a software champion is one of these, and it is not just a token role, it can provide some genuine use to your organization. This is one of the best ways that you have available of ensuring that employee satisfaction levels are as high as they possibly can be. The act of delegation also ensures that you and other senior business leaders have a greater opportunity to concentrate on the other aspects of their job role.
Delegate Contact to Software Suppliers
As well as communicating with staff members, it is also going to be the responsibility of software champions to ensure that they are in constant communication with software suppliers directly.
The establishment of this close relationship can help to create a situation in which they feel fully comfortable asking whenever any issues start to arise that need direct support. Also, it is better for the software suppliers themselves as they can all play a central role in ensuring that your company is making the most of the features that they have put at the heart of their software package.
Creates a More Confident Employee
It has already just been touched upon how useful it can prove to be to delegate to staff members in terms of providing them with additional responsibilities. One of the number one hopes and intentions is that you are going to be able to create a member of staff who is much more confident in what they are doing.
Not only is this going to be from a technical standpoint, but there is no doubt that so-called soft skills, such as communication, can end up being boosted in a significant manner. This can help the member of staff to feel so much more confident and satisfied in what they are doing, which should have some further positive knock-on effects in terms of your organization as a whole.
Flag Up and Deal with Problems Quickly
Another central part of having a software champion comes down to the issue of efficiency. You are going to be able to have problems flagged up quicker as people know the exact person that they need to do this with right from the outset. At the same time, the software champion will be in charge of escalating the issue most effectively, and this is either going to mean finding a solution for themselves or getting in touch with the software provider to get help.
If you do not have a clear software champion, it is all too easy to get into a situation in which problems are left for too long without a clear solution. This can easily mean that they are going to be left to fester over an extended time, rather than being dealt with in the most efficient manner possible, which is going to be a major issue for all sorts of different reasons.
Helps to Shape Processes
When software champions have been operating in the roles over an extended period, it is going to get to the stage in which they can prove to be seriously helpful in shaping processes in the future at your company. After all, they are going to know and appreciate the current software offering at your business inside and out, which means that the processes that they are helping to implement can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring that your business is operating in the very best manner with that particular piece of software.
Of course, while they may not play a central role in every single policy decision out there, it is certainly going to be a good idea that anything involving the piece of software directly should go through them. In this way, you are safe in the knowledge that you are getting an expert standpoint on it all, as well as consulting somebody who knows what they are talking about in this area in particular.
A Cost-Effective Solution
One of the other reasons why you should certainly consider going down the path of software champions is down to just how cost-effective the solution can end up being. After all, you are not going to hire anyone additional to work at your company.
Instead, you are going to be able to pass on additional responsibilities to someone who is already working for you. Sure, you may well decide that it is an appropriate choice to give them a pay increase, but this is still going to prove to be the more cost-effective solution than hiring somebody new with all of the different myriads of expenses that it will inevitably bring with it along the way.
As you can see from the reasons on this list alone, there are plenty of direct advantages involved in bringing on board software champions or recruiting them from the current list of employees that you have working for you. Ultimately, once you have some new software at your business, you are going to want to do all that you can to ensure that it is operating in the most effective manner possible.
The methods on this list certainly give you a fantastic opportunity to achieve this goal in the most successful manner possible. Plus, it can bring about some other range of benefits that have already been discussed in a higher level of detail earlier on in the blog post. So, what are you waiting for?