Most people who encounter digital signage content think of the screens and projectors. The best digital signage software powers a digital signage player and ensures smooth integration with third-party solutions. It’s also responsible for up to a 46% rise in customer satisfaction. Software implementation is often a challenging and costly process that requires a highly-skilled, committed, and flexible team. An implementation plan increases your chances of success by anticipating and solving most of these hardware and software issues.
Why You Need an Implementation Plan for Your Digital Signage Software
Before proceeding with implementation, ensure you’re doing it for the right reason. According to research, 76% of American customers who enter new retail stores do so after viewing a digital display. A software implementation plan helps you in the following ways:
- It helps you conduct due diligence to determine the best course of action. You won’t experience buyer’s remorse if you avoid hasty decisions.
- You get to involve relevant stakeholders who will provide valuable input into the process.
- It allows your employees to understand its capabilities and adapt to any changes it causes.
- You can configure your software to work with and maximize the opportunities offered by third-party components.
How to Successfully Implement Your Software
1. Have A Solid Business Case
The larger your company is, the more difficult it is to make decisions such as software implementation. Miscommunication can prove a costly mistake or even cripple day-to-day operations, especially if you’re working with a tight budget. Ensure all decision-makers are on the same page concerning your professional objectives.
Most importantly, your digital signage software should integrate seamlessly with the hardware. Since the screen is at the core of your promotions, make sure your software can power the latest, high-quality, commercial LCD brands. Other than seamless delivery, it should have an intuitive content management system.
The software should handle dynamic content such as live TV, RSS feeds, playlists, widgets, slides, social media, HTML5, and other data feeds. Your media players should also control multiple locations, allow real time updates, and automate recurring features.
There are five key steps to follow when building a business case. Firstly, highlight the challenges you’re currently facing that your new software would solve. The next step is to outline how the solution will address these pain points. Thirdly, perform a detailed cost benefit analysis to justify the budget.
Then, create a timeline of how long the implementation will take, including the expected ROI. Finally, have a detailed plan for managing the changes and potential disruptions to your digital signage platform.
2. Partner with A Trustworthy Software Vendor
There are several digital signage software products in the market. They include Enplug, OnSign TV, Hexnode, Yodeck, UPshow, Raydiant, Zeetaminds, NoviSign, ScreenCloud, and TelemetryTV. They facilitate advertisements and internet content such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds. Mvix also offers a bundled software option with its high-quality players. With so many free and premium options, you need to analyze your needs before making a choice.
Do you want cloud-based, on-site, or hybrid software? What level of experience does the vendor have? Is it a scalable solution? What types of content do you prefer on your digital signage networks? What do existing customers say about the product? Will the vendor offer training, after-sales support, and timely software updates? Is the software compatible with Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Android, and Linux digital signage solutions? These are some of the questions you should inquire about each option under consideration.
Likewise, it’s advisable to assemble a competent team to oversee the implementation. It should have at least one member from each of your company’s core departments.
You have a higher chance of success if the team members share your passion and commitment to the project. They make it easier to come up with a logical process design that fits your needs and objectives.
3. Control Your Scope
Scope creep can occur in any project, including a digital signage system design. It refers to the tendency to keep adding new requirements, which ultimately causes failure to deliver the original blueprint. Other than dragging out the process, it increases costs and may result in stakeholders losing interest in the project. Although it’s tempting to add bells and whistles to your digital signage software, prioritize the most primary functions.
A needs document contains all the features your software should have, which helps you focus whenever you go off course. It also provides vendors with a concise list of what your organization needs for the project. Although it’s natural to have new ideas as a project progresses, you must exercise discipline to avoid scope creep.
One way of doing so is to utilize collaborative project management tools. Examples are Wrike, monday.com, Basecamp, and Asana. They’re suitable for established businesses with more than 50 employees. If it’s a smaller team, you can use free or affordable options such as Trello and Microsoft To-Do. No matter how large your organization is, these solutions will keep you confined within your objectives.
4. Integrate, Train, And Test
Integration is a crucial step in implementing digital signage software because it includes data migration to the new system. You can automate this function and choose between doing it in real time or outside business hours. Useful feedback improves the decision-making process. Modern digital signage software solutions have dashboards that provide all the data you need depending on the metrics. It’s advisable to have standard reporting templates that every team member understands.
Training takes various forms. You can educate your employees, clients, viewers, and other stakeholders on how the new software works. Even in instances where they’ve been exposed to the layout elsewhere, they won’t necessarily understand its inner workings. Furthermore, learning is a continuous process that requires ongoing sessions depending on your needs.
You can’t successfully implement your digital signage software without thorough testing. You can undertake this step in four levels beginning with preliminary unit testing. The others are the project team, integration level, and end-user testing phases. In the same way as training, testing should be a continuous process throughout and after software implementation. It’s essential for the following reasons:
- It reduces failure rates by identifying and fixing bugs before rolling out the software to a larger audience.
- Testing determines whether the new software is compatible with some legacy systems that you still need for smooth operation.
- It’s an essential aspect of root cause analytics, which improves overall efficiency.
- Testing aims to make the software as intuitive as possible for the end-user by consistently refining it.
- It improves confidence in your software if the testing conforms to industry certifications and standards.
5. Encourage User Adoption
As good as your new digital signage software might be, it might still struggle to gain users. Put guidelines in place to convince them of the benefits. Once your target audience gets used to a particular way of doing things, they become reluctant to change, even if it’s to their advantage. One way of improving the situation is by using the ADKAR model:
- Awareness: Understand that adoption might not be as swift as you hoped.
- Desire: Create incentives to encourage uptake.
- Knowledge: Create a practical plan to handle the changes that your new software will cause.
- Ability: Close any gaps in skills and resources that limit engagement.
- Reinforcement: Measure the effects of the previous four steps. Reinforce the ones that achieve positive results.
Keep returning to your needs document to remind yourself of the pain points and evaluate whether your new software solves them. Create specific targets that it should meet within a certain period. Depending on how large your implementation team and organization are, you’ll also need to schedule customized messages for each department.
Each team has varying goals to achieve, so you can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to user adoption. Focus on these team-specific needs when communicating with them.