This is the third in a series of articles listing the reasons why now is the time to determine if new programs or solutions are needed for your firm as we look towards the end of the calendar year. The first article (Planning for 2024: Now is the Time) looked at the technology planning process. Last month’s article (Now is the Time: It’s Time to Decide) outlined the steps an organization can take to approach and invest in new solutions in a logical fashion. Today’s article assumes you’re on your way. Congratulations! But now what? How can an organization guarantee their decision(s) will produce a successful result?
- Identify your team – This is a collaborative effort between representatives of your organization and your vendors. And this means identifying designated representatives. Who among the staff will serve as key stakeholders invested in, and responsible for, promoting your objectives? If you want a new billing and/or accounting program, then your team needs to include staff involved in those processes. If you want to implement a new document management or document generation solution, then people involved in those processes need to give their input. Make sure your representatives understand why your organization is investing in new solutions and are proactive in promoting them.
- Plan, plan, plan – Understand the process of acquiring your new program(s). Develop a detailed project plan outlining tasks, milestones, and deadlines. Make sure it is comprehensive, realistic and clearly understood both by members of your team and the vendor(s). Realize that no plan is perfect – discuss risks and have contingency plans as well
- Keep in touch: As you move forward, don’t keep people in the dark. Hold regular status meetings to update stakeholders on progress, issues, and upcoming changes. Clearly communicate upcoming changes to employees. Explain the reasons and benefits to gain their acceptance and cooperation.
- Knowledge is Power: Be sure to include training in your plan. Ask your vendor(s) to identify who will provide training to your staff – do they have independent consultants or employees to provide training? How is training delivered – on site? Via Zoom or Teams sessions? YouTube videos? Is there supporting documentation? Will there be testing during the implementation process to make sure data has been properly migrated and the program works as you expect it to do? Or is there end-user training only? At what point in the project will training begin? Well-trained staff means less disruption and greater acceptance of change.
- Resource Management: When you make your decisions about a new solution, take its system requirements into consideration. Here’s where your I.T. consultants play a valuable role. Make sure your hardware meets the requirements. If your solution is cloud-based, ensure you have adequate bandwidth for internet access, not only for your office but for wherever your users will use your programs.
- Post-Implementation – or, After the Dust Settles… Test your new program(s) to make sure data was properly migrated and the program(s) meet your objectives. Report any and all anomalies and follow up to ensure they are resolved. identify what worked well, what could be improved and document both for future projects.
By adhering to these strategies and maintaining a focus on effective communication, careful planning, and proactive issue resolution, disruptions to business operations during software consulting projects can be minimized, ensuring a successful and smooth implementation process.
Technology is not just an expense; it is a strategic investment. At Crosspointe, our team brings years of experience in implementing, training and customizing solutions for our clients. We place the emphasis on solutions and not just products. Want to know more? Contact us as 877-375-2810 or write to us at [email protected].
Dana Riel is President and Founder of Business Solutions, Inc., serving the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1985. Her firm is the authorized training center for the region for Time Matters and PCLaw by PCLaw|Time Matters, PLLC; Timeslips and Sage 50 Accounting by Sage Software; and QuickBooks by Intuit Corporation. She also serves as a consultant for Caret Legal (formerly known as Zola Suite), CosmoLex, Soluno & TimeSolv. As a trainer, Dana has provided training services to organizations such as the DOD Defense Logistics Agency, Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAG)/Department of the Navy, University of the District of Columbia School of Law, U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as with small‐ to mid‐size law firms in the Baltimore‐Washington D.C. area. In 2009, she participated in the series of day‐long seminars sponsored by the District of Columbia Bar Association Practice Management Section, titled “Basic Training: Learn About Running a Law Office”. Ms. Riel also served as an Adjunct Professor in Georgetown University’s Paralegal Studies Program, having taught the course, “Legal Ethics/Legal Technology” in 2009; and “Legal Technology” for the Spring and Summer Semesters of 2010. She presently serves on the Advisory Board for PCLaw|Time Matters, PLLC.