As businesses reach the end of their fiscal year, they review performance and look ahead to the next year – setting targets and creating goals. Is investing in technology on your list? We’ve put together a few tips to consider to help you achieve your goals in 2019.
Ask Your Team
Investing in a new case management or other technology system is a financial investment – and as such is made by the management team or the board. This can sometimes mean that the voices of paralegals, secretaries and office managers, without that decision-making authority, can be lost.
These regular system users can often have the best insights into current pain points, and what is required in a new system. In order to get the best ROI from your investment, proactively include employees across all levels in the company in the decision-making and implementation process.
Set a Go-Live Target Date
Everybody in your firm will be busy all year. If case management or other technology projects are not timebound, they always will be deprioritised behind other time-sensitive projects.
When you give your project a specific deadline, it gives the team the impetus to put other work aside and focus on the project. It also gives the company a better awareness of when a project is slipping, and they can then make an informed choice on what to do next – rather than a passive choice being made by everybody being too busy.
Assign Clear Responsibility
Technology deployments need two levels of project owner – one at Executive level and one at Project Manager level. In small businesses this may be the same person, but mostly it is two different people.
Except for in large organisations, the Project Manager is unlikely to have a technology implementation project as their sole responsibility. Projects often start to slip when a) the Project Manager is overstretched and trying to juggle too many things or b) other members of staff do not complete required tasks.
The Executive level individual needs to be there to support the Project Manager with these issues at board level. They should have the authority to authorise redistribution of workload for the Project Manager, and to hold other individuals to account if they are not completing project tasks. They should also be held accountable at board level for the project proceeding on schedule.
Businesses will always have competing priorities, and times when technology projects need to come second to urgent, revenue generating work. Having assigned project owners at executive and implementation level helps ensure that technology projects do not get forgotten amidst busy workloads.
Plan Your Timings
You’ll always be busy, but every business has peaks and troughs – either seasonally or client-based.
As much as possible, it is best not to plan to implement a new system during your busiest period. Equally planning training and deployment during a peak holiday time for your employees can also become a logistical nightmare.
There will never be a perfect time when nobody is busy or away. Equally, planning ahead can ensure that you are completing key project stages during time periods which will minimise business impact.
Take the Leap
New software companies initially release a ‘Minimum Viable Product’ and then iterate from there – they do not wait until the product is completely perfect in every detail before releasing to users.
Equally, whilst you should make sure any technology you give to your employees is viable for use, you should plan for and expect changes and development post-deployment. Once your employees begin using the system, they will have role-specific feedback and suggestions for you.
Make sure that your system is usable from day one, but don’t wait until you think everything is ‘completely perfect’ before you release it to your employees. Your system will always have room for improvement, and employee feedback is vital for creating a system suitable for everyone.
New Year – New You
As technology is constantly evolving, staying ahead of the curve should be on everyone’s New Year to-do list.
If you are planning to make a major investment this year, make sure that you follow our five tips to help make this your best year ever!