3 things that successful agencies did to guarantee a smooth transition.
Switching out the software that runs your department is no easy feat. Here at EFORCE® we’ve helped hundreds of agencies transition from their old system to our product suite. We’ve seen it go VERY smoothly, and we’ve seen it go poorly.
Drawing on that experience, I’ve put together this article on the 3 things that successful agencies do that make all the difference.
Involve the Right People
This one seems so simple, but it’s probably the most overlooked piece of planning your project. Strong leaders recognize the value in a variety of opinions in making the best decisions. We see most agencies do a great job of this during the purchasing process. The supervisors for Patrol, Dispatch, Jail, Records, etc. are almost always included in the product demonstrations with our sales team, and they ask great questions to make sure our products meet their needs.
Once the software is purchased, the agencies that continue to involve those people in the setup and configuration process see a MUCH better roll out. Why? It’s simple, nobody knows the nuances of each job at your agency better than the people doing them every day. Just like they do in the purchasing process, they make sure that the new software is set up to do everything their team needs.
Now, we understand that they’re busy doing their full-time jobs, and that it’s difficult to find time to work on the setups. There’s a lot to do. But let me tell you from experience, those people will be involved either way. If they’re only included after the software has been deployed, their involvement is typically going to come along with frustration, both their own and on behalf of the people they supervise.
There is simply no substitute for doing it right from the beginning.
Manage Agency Culture
Having been a Patrol Officer at different agencies throughout my career, I understand why cops don’t like change. Switching software providers is a stressful thing. You’ve had years of using your old software and you’ve built up muscle memory with it. When that changes, you now have to pay attention to something that you didn’t have to before. That pulls your focus off of the cases you’re working, or the subject you’re working with. That can be dangerous. Your personnel know this, and it stresses them out to change.
As I’m sure you know all too well from experience, unless you carefully manage your agency’s culture surrounding this change, you’re sure to have some dissent amongst the ranks. When you let this fester, you end up with a toxic environment where you have people showing up to training who have never even seen this software but have already made up their mind about it. They don’t pay attention in class, they don’t learn what they need to know to properly use the system, and their preconceived assumptions become self-fulling prophecies. We’ve seen this happen a time or two.
On the flip side, agencies who actively manage their culture, work with individuals who are nervous about the switch and actively and appropriately communicate the benefits of your new software have a smoother transition. When your team shows up to training with an open mind, or better yet, are excited for the change, they learn, ask questions and feel confident about making it through the switch
Utilize Available Resources
While the other two points were more focused on preparing for a switch, this point is more focused on long-term satisfaction with your new software.
Even the most prepared agencies still miss things, your processes will evolve as you become more comfortable with the software, and new software features will be released. All of these things will require setup and changes. Successful agencies continue to manage their software, fixing issues as they arise.
You can do that best when you work with our support team. Our happiest customers are the agencies that call us frequently. You don’t have to wait until something is broken to call. If you’re curious about what something does or want some advice on how to setup one thing or another, we are more than happy to take your call.
We’ve also got other resources, like instructional videos, help articles, etc. all published to help you and your agency succeed with our software. We also proactively call to check in and make sure things are working like they need to. Successful agencies take advantage of all of the ways we are trying to help you thrive using our products.
Success is simple with EFORCE®. Our experience and history of deploying happy customers speaks for itself. We work hard to build the best software tools on the market, and we want nothing more than for your agency to get the most out of them. Your EFORCE® Software system will be most successful at your agency when we partner together.