We get it, implementing technology across chapters is challenging. Some chapters are ecstatic to upgrade systems and processes, while others are resistant to any change at all.
A Chapter Perspective
Here are some helpful tips we got from our good friends at Aptify to make things a little easier. We took their spot-on tips and highlighted exactly how chapter-based organizations should utilize these best practices to accommodate differences and address specific challenges that rise due to their added complexity.
Although their article speaks specifically to AMS implementation, we can confirm all of these points hold true to implementing any type of technology.
Tip #1: Trust your vendors, but DO put them through the chapter filter
Ensuring your vendor has implemented for a chapter-based organization before is important because a unique set of skills and knowledge is needed when implementing into chapter structures. Keep lines of communication open, they will arm you with the tools, but your team needs to bring their knowledge of your unique chapter ecosystem and structure to the table to help overcome potential challenges.
Tip #2: Be proactive about identifying and addressing objections
Implementing technology across chapters is tricky business. Resistance to change is expected from some, but it is your job to communicate why you are implementing new technology, and why this partner is best fit for your organization. Also, ensuring that the communication comes from the right people within the organization is important to combat resistance and establish or maintain trust.
Tip #3: Present the software proposal to users
Don’t forget to INCLUDE chapters in the selection process. If they are the key users, they should have a strong say in what is chosen. Have the vendor provide training to the users who will be working with the technology most often at each chapter AND those who will provide support, whether it is first or second tier.
Be sure to show them how this will improve their everyday responsibilities by automating processes, saving them time and headaches, and smoothing everyday tasks.
BONUS: Taking the steps above also encourages adoption and usage of the solution once it is live.
Tip #4: Resist the urge to ‘Cut your losses’
Don’t give up! It might be a bumpy road at first. But remember, you made this decision for a reason and chose this technology because it will significantly help your chapters and organization as a whole in the long run. Stand your ground and fight through the weeds to see all of your hard work pay off in the end. Don’t forget – your technology partner should be with you through the good times and bad.
Tip #5: Establish a good data cleansing plan
Quality data is valuable, and can be extremely challenging to collect. Develop a plan to keep this information that is oh so important to the success of your organization and purge anything that is not needed. Don’t fill your brand new system with bad data. The implications of bad data when you’re building best of breed solutions are massive, it can counteract your entire investment. Put a process in place to clean the data before implementation AND to quality check data once implemented.
As we’ve said before, implementation for your association with chapters or components is tricky. Stay true to these best practices, then discuss the unique needs and challenges that arise.