A member management solution is at the center of your organization’s operations. Confidence that the system you’re using is robust, efficient, and backed by decades of results in your field is essential to fulfilling your mission
So, what happens when you’re not confident in your current system and its ability to serve your needs?
The task of evaluating alternative providers is daunting, and we get it – it can be disruptive to change your core software. Over years of hearing from organizations who’ve experienced it all, we compiled the top three pitfalls of what happens when a software transition goes poorly.
Three Steps to Avoiding Bad Software Transitions
You want to avoid potential hazards in the road as you're on your way to fulfilling your organization’s mission. These three pitfalls are where a transition from one member management software provider to another can cost you time, money, and impact.
1. Getting Lost Along the Way: Data + Time
Your organization has a lot of very important data in your current member management system. You can’t afford to lose that in a software transition.
Make sure this is at the forefront of all transition conversations. There will be some internal work for you and your team, like ensuring that business processes and data structures are updated, organized, and clearly defined. Your potential software partner should spend time with your team to understand your processes, and ensure a smooth transition. If a new software team causes you to doubt whether they understand your data and are committed to the smoothest and most secure transition possible, run in the opposite direction!
To prevent wasted time, consider how your new provider approaches the implementation process and how their technology processes will impact your data and staff time.
- How will a potential partner work with your team to clean up data and save your staff time?
- How many dedicated training opportunities does a new partner provide, so staff can quickly get back to mission-critical work?
2. Ending Up Where You Started
How can you be sure you won't experience the same problems you have with your current provider? Before you start an implementation, take time to study your potential provider to ensure they have what it takes to meet your needs. Beyond a sense of the system’s baseline capabilities, list the problems your staff and volunteers experience with your current system on a day-to-day basis. Consider these questions:
- How does your existing technology keep you from achieving your organization’s mission? What regularly causes frustration when using the system?
- What actions are you prevented from taking?
- What questions do you have about members, prospects and customers that can’t be answered?
Once you have as detailed a list as possible make sure you know how a new provider avoids these problems. Future you is feeling pretty grateful right about now.
3. Getting Abandoned Along the Way
Do you have confidence in the long-term value your new partner will provide your organization? One of the first considerations you and your board want to make in a software transition is cost, but you shouldn’t be looking at cost in a vacuum.
Define the real value of investing in new technology and how you’ll judge impact. Will you look at staff efficiency? Maybe number of new member joins? Set those goals at the outset. If you’re working with a software team that acts as your long-term partner, they’ll be able to give you data on how your goals align with your investment.
It's inevitable that you’ll have to consider cost as a factor, and you should consider it in conjunction with value. Ask yourself: what is the financial impact of this decision on my organization’s mission? The old phrase, “You get what you pay for” always rings true.
A new partner should provide guarantees they will meet your needs not just now but into the future. Contractual Service Level Agreements are an essential way to ensure your tech provider continues to enhance and improve their systems to match your growth and evolving needs. You don’t want to embark on a journey only to feel abandoned halfway through. Make sure your provider has an understanding of your vision and a dedication to build the tools you need to fulfill your mission for your community.
Your Guide to Transitioning Operating Software
We hope that seeing these pitfalls laid out helps you know what to avoid in a software transition. To make this mammoth task a little easier, we listed even more questions you should be asking and the most important factors to consider. Get more insight into the steps you should be taking when transitioning software for your organization. Download the guide.