If you own a franchise or a multi- chain business and have big plans for its expansion, you would have undoubtedly evaluated the implementation of franchise software as part of the overall business plan. Whether you choose to build your own franchise intranet, hire a web consultant to do so or buy a ready- to- use franchise software the key to its successful implementation hinges on final user adoption. In other words, are your employees convinced of its benefit for their productivity, is the software easy to use and can it be implemented without major disruption of business over extended periods of time?
Factors crucial to the success of a franchise intranet platform
Buy-in of stakeholders in the organization:Remember a franchise business is only as strong as its weakest link and therefore a buy-in from internal stakeholders on the benefits of the franchise software is essential.Expectations from the system from the various stakeholders (operations, logistics, sales, human resources and marketing)as well as the impact of the implementation of the intended franchise software on their functioning should be tabled upfront.Franchisees will also have to be convinced on the benefits of the proposed software; this means sending exciting e-mailers, newsletters, holding meetings and regional conventions if need be.
Training and franchisee participation:Let’s face it most of us find systems and new technologies daunting. Simply updating the system manual on the new hi-tech intranet is likely to drown franchisees in a sea of information! The last thing a business needs is the system slowing people down, impacting productivity and leading to ‘unaccounted’ for losses in revenue. Instead developing learning modules for specific groups and staggering training sessions should be the way to go. Tracking franchisee participation by monitoring system usage and reaching out to infrequent users will help drive acceptance.
Franchisee support: This cannot be stressed enough. All the training and communication will fall flat on its face if there is lack of service support for franchisees in case of a system downtime or technical failure. While most issues may initially arise from lack of awareness, there needs to be adequate confidence at the ground level on being able to reach out. Introduce a ‘community’ platform where franchisees can interact with each other and seek out best practices. Ensurean easily accessible centralsupport desk during business hours.
Franchise Software - Self built Vs. Out-Off- the- box solution?
While building a franchise intranet from scratch may seem an attractive proposition upfront, organizations looking to do so must also be ready to commit manpower and resources needed to implement it successfully. Likewise hiring a web development company for designing the platform can also be a relatively expensive option, not to mention the fact the franchise businesswould still find itself in the uncomfortable position managing long- term technical issues which are bound to arise. Both these models would also require 4 to 6 months for overall implementation.
Taking into account all the challenges of building and implementing an effective franchise intranet, franchise organizations would be well advised to buy an off-the-shelf solution. Chainformation Concept Manager™ (CCM), for instance, can implement the franchise software with a lead time of just 2 to 4 weeks, implying minimal disruption of business. Given their expertise in working with some of the largest names in the franchise business (such as IKEA, Wayne's Coffee, O'Learys and ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL), their staff is well trained in identifying potential bottlenecks and can therefore ensure a seamless transition for franchisees. The CCM turnkey franchise software is user friendly eliminating the need for a dedicated IT resource; instead administrative privileges can be provided to select personnel for fixing standard technical issues. Its support features include a community chat that users across locations can access. CMM also integrates with the organization’s existing email platform for ease of communication between franchisees and the central office.
For franchise software to be adopted successfully in a multi store business, it must work effortlessly. And in this regard an out-of –box franchise software is the clear winner!