Tips for Reducing the Pain of Transitioning to New Technology

May 17, 2014

Shifting from one technology platform to another can be a painful experience for some organizations. There are, however, ways to reduce the disruption for staff and customers.

When the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) had no choice but to transition from an in-house software solution to a third-party platform for exhibits contracts and financial management, staffers planned ahead for the transition. AAOS’ Exhibits Assistant, Jason Raymond offers some tips on how to reduce the pain of change:

Involve multiple departments in the decision-making process. From the beginning, AAOS’ decision to move to an outside vendor was vetted by all of the departments and individuals who would be affected. Having everyone on board before the installation of the new platform helped the staff prepare.

Involve the vendor in training staff. For example, as the installation was taking place, Raymond arranged for the vendor to address questions from his accounting department on how to integrate the new software into its existing processes and work flow.

Distribute only the information that is relevant to each department. “We received a couple of webinars of instructions from a2z.  I listened to all of them and decided what parts would be appropriate for each of the departments. I didn’t want to take up everyone’s time with things they didn’t need to know,” Raymond explains. 

Allow plenty of time - more than expected - to complete the transition. “If you believe it will take a month, budget five to six weeks,” Raymond advises.

Provide a variety of support resources to clients. Getting internal staff up to speed is one thing, but it’s doubly challenging when the customers use the new technology improperly or not at all. Raymond advises that providing a variety of resources - FAQs, webinars, online forums, instructions manuals - is helpful to accommodate different learning styles.

Designate a point person. During the installation period, Jason Raymond was the liaison between AAOS staff and a2z. He helped consolidate questions from staff, organize the appropriate training opportunities, and document the process.

Save all staff questions. Raymond collected all of the questions employees asked during training and used the information to create an operations manual that could be used by staff in his absence.

In the end, AAOS’ experience was a positive one. Although there was a small learning curve associated with implementing the new system internally, it couldn’t have been smoother for customers externally. The organization achieved an 80 percent adoption rate in the first year.

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