You’ve read all of the advice and you know the biggies like choosing an AMS software selection committee and using smart change management practices to make sure the new software is utilized and embraced across the organization. But that can’t be all there is to it—follow A, B, and C and, voila!, guaranteed success. Actually, there are some secret tips to make this selection and AMS implementation process sail smoothly and efficiently, and here they are:
1. Break the Process Down into Incremental Successes
The process of selecting, implementing, training on, and successfully adopting a new membership software can take months. In some cases (although it should not), companies take a year or longer! That’s too far away to generate the momentum, enthusiasm, and passion you need to push this process forward. Think of it this way: you’re sitting at your desk on a particularly tiresome Wednesday morning.
A due date looms far in the distance: some day several months from now you need to have the AMS in place. But today you have a stack of requests from your most demanding clients, a list of critical to-do’s handed down directly from the big boss, and you’re expecting a call from your youngest child’s daycare any moment, because you knew when you dropped her off this morning that she had a little more than a case of the sniffles.
Are you going to focus on what you need to do for the software project, or are you going to get busy on the more immediate and pressing matters? Obviously, you’re going to shove what sits in the distance aside and focus on today’s issues. That’s why it’s critical to break the process down into baby steps and set deadlines for the small pieces to get completed, so that the whole project doesn’t languish while less important but more pressing matters get done instead.
2. Celebrate Even the Smallest Successes
Did you make an important decision or select the ideal vendor? Those are successes. Celebrate each one loudly and visibly to keep
the team’s confidence level high.
Those successes can’t just be done and forgotten with no fanfare, because the team needs regular motivation. Stop and celebrate those small successes. When you meet a goal, no matter how small, pat backs and give high fives. Make the success widely known. This does two things: it keeps your team motivated and it illustrates to the rest of the company that change is indeed happening and the project is seeing success.
3. Don’t Sweat Every Small Decision You Have to Make
You and the selection team will have lots of decisions to make along the way. Some are big, like whether or not to configure your association software or to change your internal processes and use the solution “as is” or “out of the box.” Don’t make these decisions bigger or more time-consuming than they need to be. Make the best decisions you can, based on the information available to you at the time, and thereby push the project along faster. This keeps motivation high and frustrating delays to a minimum. It will be possible to make changes later on, if the situation truly calls for it.
4. Seek & Destroy: The Data Silos Have to Go!
Data silos are not simply disparate systems that need to be integrated. Data silos can also include data that only a single person or team holds that others in the organization don’t have access to. Find the silos. Integrate them. Your system will not be fully successful until all of the potential data streams are properly integrated and all information is available to everyone.
What else should you expect during the AMS software integration process? Find out what challenges lie ahead and how you’re going to overcome them when you download Implementing Your AMS: What to Expect Along the Way.