Deploying a successful technology solution takes more than just installing software. The truth is that the installation is the easiest part, the challenge usually lies in the people. It's common that employees at your firm may resist the change, because as humans, we are creatures of habit. It takes both communication and organization for a successful technology deployment. With the unprecedented business climate we've operated in this year everyone has learned how important technology is.
In order for firms to survive in this climate they must operate with agility, flexibility, collaboration, and communication, while delivering top-notch services to their clients. Whether your firm is upgrading existing solutions, replacing an outdated system, or implementing new technologies, it’s critical to have a plan that ensures successful deployment firm wide. These success factors will help your firm ensure a smooth deployment of your technology:
Do your Research First
The best technology imaginable is only as useful as the people who use it --or don’t use it-- believe it to be. First step is to be sure that the technology you are deploying is something that is going to benefit your firm, help with efficiency, effectiveness, save money, make your firm more profitable, etc. It's important to understand and communicate how and why existing processes and your people will benefit from the new technology.
Set Measurable Objectives
Take the time to establish the steps that your firm will need to take to complete the deployment successfully. This will vary depending on what type of technology it is. Most all legal tech will include which steps are the most critical, the actions that must be taken for each step, and a method of determining that the step has been successfully executed.
Establish Milestones and Keep Organized
Making a single, massive, firm-wide change has the potential to disrupt operations in significant ways. Deploying in stages as specific milestones are met can ease the transition for all members of the firm. For example, you could choose to deploy certain modules independently or you could decide to deploy modules to one department for testing before involving other departments. For example, some of our clients deploy to practice group leaders before deploying our business intelligence application out to all attorneys within the firm. The successful completion of each stage of deployment helps to represent a milestone. Milestones are specific, measurable goals. Tracking those milestones keeps the project organized and gives you a timeline of what's happening next.
With any change, people are always concerned with the personal impact and what, or if, they are going to have to do differently or change. The rollout of a new technology affects the law firm collectively, but people experience change on a personal level. When firms only focus on the benefits the technology is to management like cost savings, data centralization, and business agility, then the end users question "what in it for me" gets lost. It is critically important to share what's in it for me, for example: faster speed, a better dashboard, and an improved user interface, etc.
Actively gather feedback and be responsive
In order for communication to be successful, it must be two-way. This will start at the beginning steps of doing research, will continue through the entire deployment, but is also especially important once deployed. You need to stay organized in how you'll get feedback, and then responsive in what you're doing with that. Feedback should not just go into a black hole. You use that to adjust, and deliver enhancements, changes, etc. and communicate that back. Communication is key!
When moving through changes and new technology you should communicate successes, large and small along the way. This is a great way to keep people motivated and committed throughout the process. Keep these five success factors in mind when deploying your next technology effort and you’ll improve buy-in from your law firm and set the right expectations across all departments.
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