How to Best Prepare for a Software Transition

JMT Consulting has spent the last 30 years finding the best in class back office software solutions to help nonprofit organizations manage their mission with success and, most importantly, with ease. We have vetted countless software platforms to ensure they can meet the demand of a nonprofit organization. Our focus is taking the frustration of finding a new solution and making the transition as seamless as possible.

Although not every implementation is the same, there are common outliers that make the process much smoother and successful. Learn trade secrets and feedback gathered from the thousands of software implementations we have conducted and been a part of ourselves.

Exploring making a software change? We can help make the transition successful and easier than ever!

JMT Consulting: Hello everyone, thank you all for joining us for today's how to best prepare for software transition webinar.

My name is lauren hogan and i'm a regional marketing coordinator here at JMT we're very excited to have our own Joel Wright with us in a webinar today he's one of our in tech solutions consultants here at JMT.

And he's just going to go over everything in a moment, but just a couple of housekeeping notes, before I turn it over.

If you have any questions during the webinar today, please go ahead and submit them into the Q&A section, as you think of them.

will save them all until the end of the presentation, but don't hesitate to submit them as they come.

Also, just a reminder that will send you both some handouts, and the recording of today's webinar within 24 hours after it has concluded and with that i'll go ahead and turn it over to you to get started.

Joel Wright: Perfect thanks lauren and welcome everybody thanks for taking some time out of your day.

to join in and learn about software transitions and you know how best to prepare, I think, just based on the title, I have to assume that maybe you're looking at software and so Hopefully, this is going to be very educational, for, as you look and.

kind of identify what a what a software solution can do for your organization, hopefully, you could take away a couple of things from today to assist with with that transition, so as far as the agenda.

I wanted to briefly start about jm T consulting just spend a slide on our history and who we are and then I want to talk about three challenges that we find.

During software transitions and, of course, give you three tips so it's a webinar of three here and we'll also end it with talking about some of the success factors that GMT is implemented.

To really assist our clients with having a successful software transition and as more and mentioned feel free to use the Q amp a i'll probably stop midway through and just check to see if anybody has any questions so, the more you know.

We could actually keep this somewhat.

Between the presenter and the guests, the better for me, because I have a tough time talking for or long amount of time, especially since i've had a lot of meetings this morning, so anyway let's go ahead and get started.

So that we were founded that.

Lady there on the right is Jackie empty so and she was a founder of jm T consulting For those of you that are new to learning about jm T.

She was a CFO at a nonprofit organization and she went through a couple of software transitions and the consultant, she was using we're just.

below par is a PC way of saying it I guess she had some tough transitions and what letter to do is have to get really into the weeds with the technology that she was.

Implementing and through getting in the weeds and getting really technical with it, she was able to fine tune in for her nonprofit.

which ultimately led to a lot of great skill and knowledge about systems and she's moved that into helping the nonprofit Community so it's what found in GMT.

Was through her bad experience she thought there's got to be a better way and so now here we are we've been around for 30 years, which is just.

You know it's amazing for any institution to be around for 30 years but we're very excited about it and.

Through those 30 years we've helped roughly 2000 nonprofits across the United States and actually across the globe, to implement software and do it successfully, so our experiences, probably the greatest and a nonprofit that you can find definitely within the United States.

we're headquartered in paterson New York, but Jackie actually moved to nashville.

I think she wanted some warmer weather and probably some good Barbecue so she moved to nashville and we have an office there, we have a satellite office in Manhattan.

lauren's in Austin I work remotely i'm in Dallas and we actually have an office in Melbourne Australia now to an acquisition in January 2020 so we're a global company.

Which is exciting, because we can service our clients 24 seven because the time change right now, since our time did change a couple of weeks ago is.

A nine hour difference between Dallas and Melbourne so basically whenever they're starting their day and ending it is whenever we start our day so it's been fun to get to know the different time changes with that new acquisition, but our team has made up a cta.

Other funder basically folks is dedicated some part of their career or their time towards nonprofit organization so really all we do each and every day is live and breathe nonprofit.

So enough about us let's talk about you you're going through a software finding findings process you've done it you selected the right software solution for your organization now what.

Well, during the discovery phase and looking hopefully the vendor you selected had walked you through the implementation strategy prior to making a commitment but.

What we see here is it the industry average for software transitions there seems to be an issue there right, so we have a 29% success challenge is 53% failed 18% this study was done by the standish group.

I believe it was done in 2017 so it's a little bit older, but you know, we see that the metrics tend to be the same, and if you see here the numbers are based on cost overruns on time delivery and unrealistic goals.

So that's you know basically and went over budget right they didn't go live on time and whatever the software said it was going to do in the beginning didn't end up doing it so only 29% we're seeing success but that's terrible right and why is that.

And we we take this very seriously, because we are a mid sized company and talking about jm T you know we.

I think we're a good fit to suit pretty much any scale of nonprofit unless you're kind of up in the billion dollar range I feel like there's usually technology solutions that are custom fit for that, but.

We could scale with any of them and, and the only way we're going to grow, is to make sure that we have good reviews and we have people that are raving about us.

And so we take this very seriously about why Why are these you know why is the industry successful in 29% and what we can basically summarize it to is this ever going battle between technology versus people.

it's fun stuff.

So just looking at it, and this is covering the three challenges here challenge, one is people and change management.

The thing is, is that, whenever you're going through the software transition is creating change and, as we all know, change creates stress anxiety.

You don't know what that's going to do to your role if you're a contributor at an organization if everybody's talking about automation what does that mean.

what's the current status of your staff, making the changes software.

Are they open to it, do they understand their needs to be a need and also what resources do you have available to manage the software transition.

Do you have folks that are available that have time in their day to actually partake in the conversion of your data and the implementation of a new system.

The other thing we find is it organizations have unrealistic expectations so.

i've been on the sales side for most of my career and i'll be the first to say I didn't believe in to saying yes to me the timeline that probably isn't realistic.

So you know if we're here at may 1 and you're looking for a new software to go live by say June 1.

Obviously, depending on what that software is going to do for you that's a pretty tight timeline for anything I would say so, is your expectation.

A little bit unrealistic and are you kind of pulling the vendor to say yeah as we always say the more time, you can dedicate towards a conversion or an implementation of a new software, the better.

So anyway, that these are things that we define as as kind of concerns it's not always a vendor potentially it's also your expectation.

I think this slide pretty much covers it, but you know if you have expectations that don't really fit.

You know, whatever the standard or or.

Optimal sort of conversion process, depending on the software vendor consult you're working with if your expectations are kind of.

stretching those then then, then you know they can ultimately lead to a bad experience, and so this next slide here is inventory.

just making sure that you, you understand what you have in what format and how you're able to basically share that because you know the.

you're basically gonna have to take data out and put data in and so understanding if it's on your server, how can you extract that information depending on that format, it may impact that that go live date so making sure you understand the inventory and.

Being cognizant of that and, as well as your vendor that you're going to be working with making sure they understand what sort of information and data, you have in what format.

Is it's just a good rule of thumb so obviously we kind of covered the challenges here on people versus technology change management.

unrealistic expectations, and you know, making sure you track your inventory, but there's a lot of success stories, and so, here are some tips that we think tend to be a great indicator for success so just touching on the people aspect.

We were talking about how change is scary we could override that, because what you want to try and do is get your people, your staff as invested into making the change as possible, because if you know that there's a better way.

And you're a leader within your organization you just want to make sure that your team also understands that there's got to be a better way and they got to be open to to looking for it and identifying it.

So the more involved, you keep your your staff that would be impacted by this new software involved in both the discovery process a demonstration, so the new systems.

The better it's going to be, because they are at that point invested to make sure that this software is going to be a success because they see the big picture.

They see exactly how it's going to impact your mission how it's going to make things a little bit more seamless.

And, rather than being scared of a change, because if they're not involved, and all of a sudden, you say yeah we just signed a contract with this new vendor.

we're going to be going through this and skin do this this and this it's going to create a little bit of anxiety, but if they're aware in the beginning.

Then they're invested with it, and whenever it does go live they're going to be more inclined to being involved and learning as much about that system as possible, because they were part of that decision process.

So motivate your people look big picture and determine the appropriate staff members that you would like to be involved with the software.

A lot of times that's pretty simple because it's departmental unless it's maybe executive management software something like that.

Most software, you know it's going to be departmental so you pretty much know which staff members would be involved, but sometimes it's additional people like maybe it.

or HR so will lead into that in a minute The other thing is make sure that you understand what you want, identify that ideal solution.

And, especially as you're going through vetting you obviously know that your current system, you have some things that you're doing or your software that it's doing.

And it's probably a little bit tedious or manual so make sure you truly identify what what in a dream world do you want identify that ideal solution.

The other thing is make sure you have your existing processes documented, it could be as simple as just a Google like a Google sheet or a word document.

The at least say you know for going through say a procurement and you know this is the workflow that we have today, maybe it's just like a paper document.

Or you know if you want it to go a certain way, then you can just say, well, we want a couple of layers that we could have for approval in there.

So whatever the processes are make sure if you could try and get them documented and even the simplest form.

it's just going to make a big impact because it kind of draws a picture, where you're consulting or even software partner to understand what you're doing today, and where there could be improvements.

The last thing here, which is probably the biggest is just make sure you do your vetting right.

settings is hard there's a lot of technology vendors out there, and if you're looking at working with a solution directly it's really hard to identify because a lot of the features and functionalities today.

didn't have some of the same components and I was working with a prospect not too long ago and she's like Joel.

Did this other company like copy this one, because it seems like they have a lot of the same features and it's just the truth, I mean.

everything's moving into visual aspects you know newer software has dashboards it's much more intuitive there's some Ai components those kind of monitoring the way you're utilizing the system and it tracks it.

So these modern cloud systems tend to kind of they they almost like mesh together because there's so much functionality that looks the same so make sure you do your diligence a little bit deeper you know, look at their guide star.

What is their guide star rating are their employees happy there's.

there's actually a review systems out there that we utilize quite a bit called g to crowd that takes real life reviews and.

You know, mass amount with the different software vendors taking actual user reviews and.

and putting it together and different sort of side by side analysis analysis, as well as graphs that you could check out so make sure you do your right vetting and then this other question the end here, will this solution be the right fit for your organization 10 years down the road.

If you're with a system right now that you've had in place for 10 years I you know it's likely that system and if it's doing things great then no need to change, but you know 10 years of a software I think you're getting.

Your money out of the product that's a very long time to have a system, and so, and, as we know, technology is consistently changing.

So every 10 years it's likely that there may be something else out there even shorter five years six years.

Then, maybe better I mean, as it continues to evolve, the next big thing in 10 years, who knows what it would be especially today with.

artificial intelligence and all the things that we see so, but at the same time you don't want to make you want to make sure that whatever you are purchasing.

is not going to be irrelevant in two or three years, you know you if you could say in 5678 years i'm confident this system will be you know still leading edge, then the near in a good place.

So those are the three.

Tests you know.

motivate your people document as much as you can what you're currently doing so that way, whoever you're going to partner with.

understands what you're doing today, and they can make recommendations appropriately for how it can be done in the new software and then make sure you're reading here your part, your software partner or consultant, as well as you can you know get those referrals and that sort of thing.

So with that I wanted to end it just with some of the success pieces that we have in GMT that we feel really kind of lift up those those tips there.

And what we offer first off, you know, this is a slide 29% success rate we're constantly managing and tracking this we utilize salesforce.

Internally, for our project management, as well as a couple of other tools to make sure that we have.

Each of the milestones for any conversion or implementation matt within the time that we mutually agreed upon with the client.

And also, we offer essentially this guaranteed proposal and we're able to meet within budget because if you go back to this this slide here.

The main reasons why it's 53% challenged and 18% failed is because went over budget and went over timeline for the software to do what it said it was going to do, and so we're able to meet each one of those things.

extremely well across the industry average and so, if you were to look at our implementation process.

it's pretty simple, we want to design, you know if we're talking about accounting system we design your chart of accounts.

We build your database, then we want to convert your data into the new system we deploy it.

by educating your staff and creating a sandbox environment and then ultimately go on live and then after the fact, we come back, we make sure your client or our client is using the system appropriately and they had a good experience.

we're involved with our clients for a partnership it's not a one time transaction, we want to maintain that lifelong relationship with our clients to make sure that.

You know the system and we recommended we're going to stand by it and make sure they're using it appropriately, and so we have a pretty simple implementation process but there's a lot that goes into it.

We want to make sure that each everybody is informed and knows who to go to during an implementation and so all of our implementation projects include a manager, that will be the the quarterback of the project.

And then within that there's going to be solution architects implementation consultants technical specialists educators.

there's going to be a whole team of folks that the project manager is going to unleash during the implementation.

To ultimately get you to that go live date and make sure that you understand the system and how it works so there's quite a bit that goes into it and here's just a sample we create a smart sheet with each one of our prospects or new clients that were coming on board with basically.

You know all the different milestones so kind of going back here to this design build deploy.

We have designed build deploy right here and we create you know dates, we want to understand if anybody's going on vacation.

What other sort of aspects should we know about during this implementation, you know if there's summer vacation or spring break or whatever it may be.

We want to make sure during that initial kickoff discovery phase that we understand those things and build it into our start and end date so.

it's a very mutual process of defining these things, and it kind of goes back to that challenge of unrealistic expectations we try and map those out right away from the beginning to eliminate any sort of.

unrealistic components and maybe our clients are expecting.

The education is also another huge piece, because a new software doesn't mean you're going to be doing.

The same processes right Hopefully the new software is going to create some change in process and a little bit of.

You know, maybe less manual entry or whatever it may be, but a new system also means you got to learn your processes over.

And so we understand personalities, they all learn differently, so we have a lot of different ways of training folks on how to utilize the new system, whether it's visual retton.

And vaughn you know actually working in the system and deploying it, and then we do testing we do assessments with the users are going to be using it.

To make sure they're able to do things appropriately so it's almost like a course you know, like an actual course that they're being they're being assessed.

And then you know just mostly recently, obviously with code it's been live online education that we record and we also do.

Ongoing webinars for our clients monthly webinars that are just ongoing training we also do we used to have a live event.

That happened, each year, our clients would come to which was all educational had a lot of si P, that was involved with it.

And we're starting to get those back up and going but they're all virtual so a lot of different education, we want to focus on that side because.

The more you know about the system, the better you're going to be able to manage it, and you know, the more successful you're going to be with within your own department and, ultimately, hopefully.

The more successful your nonprofit's going to be because you're going to you're going to have software that isn't true tool for you, that will help drive the mission.

And you know learning isn't it's not something you learn right away, we take the crawl walk run slide methodology here and disregard the timelines below.

But you know it's it's different depending on the system you're going to be looking at, but really.

want to make sure that you can at least get in the system and know how to run specific reports and do basic features initially by the go live and we train continue and train you to that way.

You know, by the end of it, you could be the next Jackie T, so this starts, you know consulting firm so that's really our methodology there and then ultimately I wanted to run through so to recap.

just looking at the major components keep your people involved, make sure they're not as involved as possible and the process and I think that's probably the biggest one.

any sort of software conversion impacts people's lives and the more involved, they could be in the beginning, please make it so as much as you can.

Take inventory try and document what you can whatever you can you know kind of put together a piece together before you make a decision, make sure you have that outlined.

Because it's going to really help your solution provider to to make best recommendations on how it could work and their system.

And lastly, just make sure your expectations are are open like I said, the more time, you can dedicate towards a software conversion or transition, the better.

Because we all know, you have your full time job to do, and then whenever you're going through a software transition it's not always easy, you know you have to.

You have to be available to maybe assist in walking us through some of your existing data or or updating your data, and so the more time, you can dedicate to it, the more time we have for training.

And it just ends up being a much better experience, rather than rushed.

So with that I think i'm done lauren I.

Do I see one question that came through yep we have one question from the Q&A .

JMT Consulting: when you convert client data, do you have a rule of thumb about how many years of data to convert or do you recommend saving the old files on the old system for reference.

Joel Wright: I wish I had a easy answer, but I think it's more about what your expectation is So what do you prefer, and I could probably answer that a little bit more specifically, if I knew what system you're using today, and you know what's the senior looking at because.

You know if you're looking to move to the cloud, then, and you know if you have a organizational plan to maybe move off the server and move everything to the cloud.

Then, that that answer would be differently than if you're already on the cloud if you're using a subscription product, we probably want to get as much of that historical as we can so.

it's really what you want, and kind of setting up those expectations, you know, going back to the expectation aspect.

Sharing what what it is that you want to be converted into the new system and then allowing your partner to explain if they can meet that or if they had any other recommendations would probably be the way to go about it.

But great question.

JMT Consulting: Okay does anyone else have any questions, I would like to submit to the q&a.

can wait a little bit on that I have a thank you so much Joel for your presentation today and Thank you everyone for joining us.

And it looks like we haven't had any come through, but if you do have any questions, following this webinar feel free to reach out to us, and we would love to help I just said,

And just a reminder will send out the slides and a recording within 24 hours.

So we hope everyone has a great rest of your day and thank you for attending.

Joel Wright: Great Thank you everyone bye.

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