At this point in the process, you will have chosen a new software vendor. Congratulations! It's a big step for your company. Hopefully, your new software vendor has a detailed implementation process and will help you navigate the software change. Whether they do or not, it is up to you to manage the change within your own company.
Most people feel they must have someone "technical" to manage a software conversion. For the most part, being "technical" does not play that big of a role. It is more about managing the transition and communicating expectations. If you manage the change well, you will reap the rewards of a smooth transition. If you let the change manage you, your software conversion will feel more like a root canal, for both you and your customers.
Change is hard. You will rarely hear a person say that they love change. In order to have a successful software implementation, you will need to manage the change from day one. But what does that mean? It means communicating with your team about the new software often and early. Each person in your company needs to know that the change is coming and what impact it will have on their particular role. The more they know about what is coming and the new processes that will be in place, the more prepared they will be.
We all know that what you put into a project is what you get out of it. You and your team have full-time jobs on top of the software conversion that you are about to undergo. However, if you do not dedicate time to focus on the upcoming software conversion, you and your team will be scrambling at the end to get processes in place and learn the new software.
This step is critical in the implementation process, but one that often does not get enough attention. While your new software vendor may have a lot of experience converting software, you understand your customers and services better than anyone. Not to mention, you probably use your current software differently than your competitor down the street - even if you are using the same pest control software. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all conversion that will get your data perfect on the first pass. Expect to have to ask your new software provider to tweak and make a few changes. If you wait until after the final conversion to check your data, it may be too late.
Managing internal change is essential, but just as important is managing your upcoming software change with your customers. Customers will experience a new Customer Portal as well as see changes in their statements, billing notifications, and invoices. Just as you did with your internal team, you should communicate the change with your customers early and often. If the customers understand that the new software will enhance their customer experience with your company, they will be more patient and understanding as your team is getting started.
Go ahead and plan for it. There will be a disruption in your everyday work for a small period-of-time. Your team should expect the disruption but also be encouraged that it is only temporary. Each day, it will become easier and more comfortable for them to navigate the new software. Eventually, they will not even miss the old ways of doing things, and the new ways will become second nature.
In general, people tend to stick with what they know. Once you go live with your new software, go ahead and inactivate your users in the old system. While you may feel it is important to be able to reference specific data in your old software, leaving it open for all users will prevent your team from fully making the transition. Not to mention, trying to maintain two systems can be cumbersome and add frustration. If you feel it is necessary to continue to check data against your old software, limit the ability to only one or two users.
A successful software conversion takes work and dedication. Sometimes in the transition, you lose sight of all the things you and your team have done to get you to this point. Take the time to look back and measure and celebrate your successes. Recognize team members that went above and beyond in making the change a success. And, most importantly, enjoy the benefits of your new pest control software!
At Fieldster, we understand that a successful software implementation is vital to your business. That is why our hands-on approach is specifically tailored to get you up and running quickly and smoothly. Schedule a live demo today!