Deploying a new solution in any environment poses a certain number of challenges. These challenges can stem from determining how to best execute the deployment, to overcoming user adoption rate issues. Today I will illustrate the key components of a software deployment checklist; and also provide insight on overcoming some common hurdles faced when staring down the barrel of that deployment gun.
Let’s assume, for the sake of our discussion here, that you have selected a shiny new solution. You’ve taken it out of the wrapper and placed it in your corporate environment, where it is all set to go. It’s all ready for primetime!
But wait, how the heck are you going to let people know about this new change in your authentication process? Do you have a software deployment checklist in place? If not, we’ve provided one for you, and if you do, that’s great. Let us know what you think about our software deployment checklist in the comments below!
The Software Deployment Checklist
Pre-Rollout Email Notifications
Have you noticed lately how email has turned into the best way to communicate with almost anyone? Everybody is attached to his or her email; many even link it to their smartphones to always stay connected. This means it is a great way to notify your end-users of the impending changes in their log in process. That’s why email notifications are at the tippy-top of our software deployment checklist.
In a particularly interesting blog article, the folks over at Attunity note, “What we need is an integrated view that focuses on the real goal of business technology: building an effective, agile business.” In effect, reaching out to your users prior to the deployment is how you begin to achieve this focused view. Preparation leads to smoother adoption and a more successful deployment overall.
It is best to not only notify your users via email, but to do so well in advance. No one likes a surprise obstacle when they are trying to get their work done. This is why providing your end-users with ample notice is imperative to curbing problems and improving rapid user adoption rates.
Here is a sample email that one of my clients used recently:
Company X will be deploying a new login portal that will feature a Self-service Password Reset functionality for your use. In an effort to prepare you for this change we would like to share with you a brief video illustrating how to use this new software.
This new way of logging in will enhance your login experience, enable you to have control of your user account, and help protect your identity.
On June 24, 2015 the new solution will be in place. Please make sure that you have reviewed the video and are prepared to login via the new portal.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free toreach out to our IT Director.
This simple email was sent to the staff two weeks prior to the launch and proved to be beneficial in their deployment. That’s one success from the software deployment checklist, and we’re off to a great start!
Have you ever tried to assemble something without any instructions? It can be a real challenge! This is why you should include solid educational documentation within your software deployment checklist. As part of your deployment preparation, it is recommended that you put together documentation that covers frequently asked questions and also step-by-step instructions on how to perform the task at hand.
Above all, it is important to make sure that your documentation is formatted and written in a manner easily digestible by your target audience. Poor documentation can result in significantly higher maintenance and support costs for your software, straight from the gate.
Providing a user guide can be done a number of different ways including hosting one on your website, sharing or distributing the guide via a PDF, or printing and handing it out to your end-users directly. Either way, this guidance is sure to reduce the number of helpdesk calls and user confusion in the long run.
Making it Fun
Who does not like a little fun in their lives? Authentication can be fun too; it is all about how you approach it. Making your authentication deployment not only a technological event, but also a chance for someone to win some prizes…well, that is a good equation for some fun!
One of my clients took this idea and ran with it. They were implementing a Self-service Password Reset solution into their corporate environment, and this solution required the end-users to answer challenge questions to activate their account. They utilized the reporting features within our solution to collect the first 100 employees that registered their account and provided a pizza party for those employees at the end of the month.
So let’s expand on the initial equation: new solution + deployment + contest + pizza party = awesome!
Who says your software deployment checklist has to be boring?
I have seen many companies through their deployment, and some companies think that their work is done once the initial deployment has been completed. This is simply not true. Obtaining the feedback of your team and your end-users is an extremely important aspect to any software deployment checklist! You can learn a lot by reflecting on the process and collecting data.
Corporate software giants such as IBM even specifically note the importance of measuring success (noted specifically
in the IBM Best Practices for Software Deployment checklist). Momentary success is good. Continual success is
Chances are that this authentication deployment will not be the last software deployment your company does. In that case, valuable information can be collected to help assist you with future deployments.
You know the old moniker: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” If something is broken, however, you’re going to want to know about it to remedy the problem in the future.
This Concludes the Software Deployment Checklist
Deploying a solution does not have to be seen as a necessary evil; it can be performed methodically and actually be an enjoyable experience. Having a successful deployment goes hand-in-hand with pairing with the right authentication solution. Companies like PortalGuard have taken the time to build software deployment checklists that can take all of the guesswork out of your deployment process.