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Avoiding Nightmares When Integrating a New Agency Management System

NightmareIf you work at a marketing, PR, design or digital agency, you probably have a system in place for managing overall business operations. However, if your current system relies on the use of basic tools, such as Excel spreadsheets, you might want to consider upgrading to cut down on the amount of admin time (and human error).

While Excel spreadsheets are a significant and immensely practical tool for most projects, they are not the most proficient (or accurate) means for tracking and recording work.

So, you realize that your agency’s current project management system is inefficient, time consuming, inaccurate and creates unnecessary work. You’ve done your research on possible options for replacement systems, and selected the best option for your agency.

However…

Whether your agency is small, midsize or large, it is a hassle to introduce a new agency management system and expect everyone to pick it up right away. Even if a new system is guaranteed to cut the amount of time spent on administrative tasks, or promises to streamline processes, it is not always met with open arms by those rooted in existing processes.

Below, we’ve outlined two nightmarish situations that can happen when introducing a new agency management system to your employees, along with how to recover in case you find yourself in one of these pickles.

Nightmare 1: Tears and Fears, Not Cheers and Beers 

You walk into work and organize a group meeting to announce your exciting plans for a new agency management system.

Instead of being greeted with a round of cheers and beers, you get a bunch of tears and fears. Uh oh.

So how can you get these party poopers on board? Don’t implement change too quickly.   

If your team isn’t super thrilled or accepting of a new management system, it’s likely because they are intimidated by change. Ease them into the transition slowly by setting up several training sessions on how to best use the new system. Also, walk them step-by-step through a real-life example.

Be transparent about why this new system was considered, and how implementation will help overall agency operations. 

In time, and after they’ve gotten their hands a little dirty, your team will recognize the benefits and will feel more comfortable using this new tool.

Nightmare 2: Dazed and Confused

Congratulations. You officially have your team on board with plans to migrate to a more sophisticated agency management system. The only hold up: No one understands how to fully utilize this fancy-shmancy platform for your business structure and processes.

Despite watching hours of training videos and sharing dozens of how-to articles, you notice your team still reverts to your agency’s old process instead of utilizing the new software you invested in.

So how do you wake up from this nightmare?

First, contact the vendor and request their support. They should be able to offer valuable tips, tricks and insight on how to best transition your team to this new software. They might even be able to train your staff in person, or set up phone or virtual meetings to walk through the system.

Another option is to appoint a go-to guru (or a team of gurus) in your office to be the ringleader in getting everyone on board. Block down time for the entire agency to dedicate to learning this new system, and ensure that the go-to guru is readily accessible for any questions or assistance. Don’t forget to educate everyone on how fully utilizing the system’s multifaceted capabilities will help improve overall business operations.  

If your agency is larger, consider rolling out the system to one team at a time. Introducing the system to small groups offers the added benefit of helping you refine the introductory process from team to team, so you can improve the training and education as you go. You can anticipate questions and quickly troubleshoot issues.

While technology upgrades have valuable benefits for the agency, they can inevitably come with a few headaches. If you are in the process of transitioning to a new agency technology, make sure you do your homework. It also doesn’t hurt to have the vendor’s direct contact information readily accessible in case you have any urgent questions.

What are your biggest fears about implementing a new agency management system at your company? Please share your thoughts in our comments section below.

Image Credit: Robert McGoldrick via Flickr