Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are vital for law firms, helping to maintain loyalty, expand existing client revenues and attract new business. And keeping them up to date is imperative, for two reasons:
- Support issues can occur with older versions. In the worst case they go past the end of their support life.
- Vendors are continually adding improved features that provide new benefits and allow firms to engage with clients in innovative new ways.
However, upgrading applications is not a trivial task. So here are five top tips that came from law firm users at a recent workshop I ran.
1. Prepare meticulously
To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail and nowhere is that more true than with upgrades. Read the compatibility matrix carefully. The last thing you need at go-live is to find out that the upgrade isn’t compatible with one of your other systems.
Check the hardware and system requirements. Make sure everyone needed for the upgrade is available in advance. IT departments often get booked up months ahead. And don’t forget to review the customisations that have been made. An upgrade is a great opportunity to check whether they are still needed and, if they are, make sure they will still work with the new version.
2. Reinforce the benefits
If things are going to change people want to know why and how it is relevant to them and the firm. Get everyone involved on side by reminding them of the existing advantages of the system and spelling out the new benefits.
How will it help partners? What benefits will colleagues gain? How will the new version help with business development and how will it help the practice achieve its overall goals?
3. Test systematically
Pilot the system in a test environment. Here you can run system end user acceptance tests, as well as check data migration works correctly.
You can also check that the data and contacts in the existing system are clean, as it doesn’t make sense to migrate incorrect or incomplete data. It’s also a good time to review the reports that are available and check they are fit for purpose.
4. Communicate clearly
Clear communication at every stage of the upgrade is vital, to keep people enthusiastic and committed. So it’s imperative to develop a continuous communications strategy. It’s also essential that your communications strategy has a senior sponsor, to reinforce how important the upgrade is to the firm’s future.
5. Train thoroughly
There will obviously be new features you need to train users on and you can do this through a whole variety of activities. But don’t forget there’s also an opportunity to reinforce other key aspects of the system, so employees make the most of all the features in your system.
Upgrading your CRM system, such as Lexis® InterAction®, enables you to take advantage of innovative new features. Paying attention to these five top tips will help to ensure a smooth and seamless transition.