Implementation Tips

Transitioning to an electronic record is challenging, but you can learn from agencies that have made the leap and are now seeing the benefits.  Here’s a whimsical look at the implementation process from our Implementation team.

How to Ruin Your Implementation in 5 Easy Steps

Do you like to make projects as difficult as possible? Are you someone who thrives on undermining your team’s success? Then take a look at these 5 things agencies say and do that would guarantee your transition to an electronic record FAILS.

1. Assign all the responsibility to one person.
“Our [fill-in-the-blank] can take care of it and just let us know when it’s done.”
Individuals unable or unwilling to delegate find themselves overwhelmed by all the moving parts and decisions that need to be made for each group of users within the agency. And what happens when that person suddenly becomes unavailable or stumbles across a problem? In many cases, the project sinks, taking your investment of time and money down with it.

2. Plan the switch without executive support.
“Everyone will do it because we’ll tell them it’s a good idea. No need for executive involvement.”
The sad fact is that most often, people change their daily processes not because they want to, but because they have to. Every big change is met with some resistance, and only a strong executive mandate will overcome that. When the switch to an electronic system is presented as an agency priority, and reasons for the change are communicated with the staff regularly, implementations run more smoothly and have a higher chance of success.

3. Expect that the project will run itself.
“All we need to do is pop our forms into a computer program. Meetings are a waste of time.”
The beauty of a relational database is its ability to eliminate duplicate data entry, freeing up time for your staff to serve clients. Every agency is different, so the implementation period allows you to configure your system to meet your agency’s needs from the start. Regular meetings will help your team stay engaged to hash out the details of the system and streamline workflows.

4. Assume all staff is following the new procedures.
“Everybody’s been told what they need to do and how to do it. What could go wrong?”
Nobody likes to change the way they do things. Some staff may be tech-phobic, while others simply need to be reminded. It’s critical that any issues along the way be recognized and addressed, so that all staff enters in good data.

5. Don’t communicate with your vendor.
“We bought the system—why should they care what we do with it?”
For any change of this scale, it helps to learn from someone who’s done it many times before. Your vendor is your number one resource, partnering with you to help anticipate issues and recognize when things aren’t working correctly. Once you’ve set the project in motion, you’ll need a steady schedule of checkpoints and check-ins to keep it moving.

Nobody wants to fail, and at Foothold, we recognize that adopting an electronic record is a challenging and stressful process, but ultimately, a rewarding one. No one is more committed and prepared to work with you to succeed. Are you up to the challenge?

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