Change management - how to change systems efficiently.

Ever tried to instigate a change that hasn’t quite come off? Have you found that technology has evolved so much that you’re worried others are reaping the benefits while you’re left lagging behind?

Whether you are switching to new software or feeling you’re missing out on the features of an existing package, it’s essential to create a plan to ensure your firm can adopt the change quickly and effectively.

Here are our top tips for moving systems.

The reason

There is always at least one reason for changing systems. Either the old system is no longer supported, it is no longer best in class, it doesn’t integrate well with other systems, or competitors and peers are working more efficiently.

Whatever it is, it needs to be understood and explained to all stakeholders in advance so they know why the change is happening and what is in it for them.

Once people buy into a change, you’ll find the change becomes much smoother to implement with their support.

Communicating the benefits of new software

You’ve had a demonstration, you’ve seen all the features, you understand how it will help your business. But do your coworkers know? Communicate the benefits. Paint a picture. What will things look like when you’re using the software to its full potential? What will things look like if you stay the way you are?

Nominate change champions

People will go through a change curve which should be understood to mitigate its impact and speed up the process. Nominate some Change Champions who know all about the change and are willing to talk to their peers about why the change is in their best interest. These could be key influencers in your firm or a partner from another firm who has gone through a similar change.



Get involved

Make your team part of the solution by involving them throughout the process. A great way to do this is with frequent communication: invite them to key meetings, share documentation and get them along to any demonstrations or training of the new software. Delegating specific tasks or challenges can be particularly effective i.e “can you find us a way to manage onboarding new clients faster across the firm?”


Provide training options

Training should be delivered in several ways as people learn differently. Your team needs to be able to choose which method works best for them otherwise they won’t be receptive. The software provider should be able to provide online training sessions, how-to guides, phone support and even an online community.

On go-live there should be both internal and external support so the immediate impact of not knowing a system is mitigated and your firm can get moving with the full functionality of the software.

Reports and incentives

Provide regular reports after the software has been in use to show how the software has positively impacted the business. Has it helped increase sales? Has it reduced the work backlog? Has it resulted in a better customer experience?

You could even introduce an incentive program with particular targets if the software is not being used as fully as it should be.

Review

The beauty of technology is that it can highlight a potential problem and provide a solution. Your software will regularly be updated to fix bugs and make improvements following customer feedback. Your software provider will probably have a portfolio of software packages and may have introduced new products that complement, enhance or replace older systems. These can be very easy to adopt as your systems are already connected. So it’s worth getting in contact to review your business needs and whether you are still on the right software package.

Contributor: Zayn Blore, CTO of Simplify Change

Contact Iress to discuss whether you’re on the most suitable financial software package