I’ve often seen firms express some surprise that the new systems they have invested thousands on procuring and implementing haven’t reaped the results they were expecting.

“But we did everything right!” they exclaim. The technical implementation was seamless, training sessions were provided and configuration and testing was thorough and well planned.

However, after Go Live adoption becomes haphazard and the envisaged benefits don’t materialise. Some complaints start to surface that the system isn’t intuitive enough and maybe more training is needed. The partners start putting pressure on the IT team to come up with answers and the IT team in turn, blame the staff for not having patience with the system and being quick to criticise.

Sound familiar in your firm? What has gone wrong here?

We outline a few pointers for your firm when it comes to implementing a new system:

Being Honest about Change

Be completely honest with staff and be clear that they need to allow themselves time to familiarise to the new environment. It really helps to refrain from introducing a myriad of new processes and pushing out all the functionality in one go. Despite the temptation to “do it all” from the beginning, allow people time to become familiar with the bare operational essentials.

Introduce clear guidelines and identify a “project champion” within each team. Project champions should encourage an overall positive message as well as assisting with practical help. It’s particularly important that project champions get the opportunity to provide feedback to the project committee and participate in decision making.

Setting the Vision

The firm should set some very clear outcomes for staff and how they will benefit from these outcomes. Measures should be used with tangible examples. For example, if the firm expects to increase revenue by 10% within 12 months of the systems implementation you can go on to make clear that 1% of that will be used to facilitate a “cycle to work” scheme.

The vision should be accompanied by an explanation of the “journey” to get there. Going live with a new system is only the beginning of that journey. Whilst there are some hills to overcome a mixture of positivity, teamwork and communication can help the firm make the vision a reality.

Lead by Example

Although not technology specific, I once saw an excellent instance of “leading by example” in a firm I was working in. The business development director introduced a “ten before ten” initiative. He was very keen that lawyers keep in touch with clients both old and new. To help with this he introduced a new initiative where once a week, every lawyer would make a quick call to ten clients they hadn’t spoken to in a month.

Initially, things were slow to take off with many lawyers exclaiming they were “too busy” and hadn’t got chance to make the calls. To meet this problem head on, every department head was tasked (within our open plan offices) to make their calls within earshot of everyone else without fail. Once the lawyers heard the senior leadership in the firm making their calls, they were quick to follow suit!

The introduction of new technology should be no different. Partners should be mandated with communicating a positive message and encouraging proper use of the system.

Be Prepared

These are only just a few examples but it pays to appreciate that going live with a system if often where the real work begins.

If you would like more information and advice on systems implementation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.