MediSked implementation experts work with health and human services organizations to help improve processes, increase efficiency, and ensure organization objectives are achieved as part of a smooth implementation of their new software platforms. Two MediSked Solution Design and Delivery specialists, Frank DiMarco and Trevor Seelman, have teamed up to offer some key tips to organizations who are considering an implementation of new technology.
Get Your Team Ready
Preparation is one of the keys to success for implementing technology, especially a new health and human services software solution. To make your implementation as smooth as possible, we recommend that you prepare in advance to ensure the proper information is being included and discussed for your project.
One key is meeting pre-planning. Some ideas for good meeting preparation include making sure the proper stakeholders are included or have representatives in the project meetings. And to get your project started off on the right foot, we recommend having an internal team meeting prior to meeting with your vendor. Come up with some agenda items that you would like to discuss during the meeting with your vendor – and don’t be shy about sharing those expectations in advance with the vendor.
Engage Your Internal Resources Early and Keep Them Involved
As we mentioned in the Preparation step, it’s important to have the proper resources in place for a successful implementation. Having knowledgeable project team members will help your internal team be successful – and it will also pave the way for your vendor to deliver a more successful project outcome. Having representatives from multiple departments in your organization participate in the implementation process will increase engagement and ensure that many perspectives are included in the planning. Keeping people informed and part of the implementation process helps with overall buy-in – especially when the time comes to start using the solution.
Build In Training
Much like the recommendation to engage stakeholders from across the organization, it’s equally important to have well-trained resources across the company. The most important aspect of a successful software implementation is making sure that your staff understands how to utilize the software. Most issues reported by staff within the first month after Go-Live are typically due to a lack of understanding of how the software works. It’s crucial that your organization has a solid training plan that coincides with your staff’s day-to-day workflow.
Many vendors, like MediSked, will build training programs into their implementation plans. Training can follow several models, but we recommend the industry best-practice model of “train-the-trainer.” Through this model, organizations develop a strong in-house competency to deliver role-based training that speaks to the user’s day-to-day experiences. Including a comprehensive training program in your implementation, accompanied by quality user documentation, should reduce the amount of issues reported after Go-Live.
Expect the Unexpected
When selecting a new software, your organization likely participated in a lengthy sales and discovery process to determine the Scope of Work (SOW). A good vendor will have comprehensively documented your needs during this time but there is nearly always something that the internal project team and vendor find during the implementation process that needs some additional work prior to implementation. Vendors anticipate this and most, like MediSked, will have project resource time reserved for these occasions. When you find a gap in the requirements, your vendor will work with you to decide if this is a Pre-Go-Live (cannot go-live until this need is addressed) vs. Post-Go-Live (we have a manageable workaround) item. Be prepared to have collaborative internal discussions about impact to help shape the prioritization discussions with your vendor.
We’ve mentioned having an engaged group of project team members across your organization. A critical part of your implementation will be having open and regular communications – with your team, your vendor, and all the stakeholders who have an interest in the project. At MediSked, our project plans include weekly meetings with the implementation project team. We spend 30 – 60 minutes talking about project status, timelines, actions, and deadlines. We document action items and follow up with notes after these critical stakeholder engagement sessions. Adding this to your calendar will provide clarity for everyone as you work through an implementation.
Look for Ways to Improve Your Processes
Most organizations implement new software solutions to improve on their current processes or technology. As part of this process, it’s important to keep an open mind to the options for changing current process and workflows. Your vendor should offer suggestions and ideas for how their solution can optimize your organization and deliver more efficient outcomes for your objectives. Don’t be afraid to ask your implementation specialist “What do your other customers do?” when trying to determine a new process or workflow.
Embrace Support After Go-Live
Leading technology firms will have a detailed implementation plan and prepare clients for go-live with a series of critical activities. After go-live, clients will transition into a Support model. While the implementation team will be sad to see you go, moving into Support means you are now getting the full benefit of your new software. At MediSked, we have a dedicated US-based Support Team who can be reached via phone, email, or online portal. Organizations can prepare for their transition to Support by deciding on a key contact or two who will centralize the process to manage your organization’s contact with Support. Consolidating this function in your organization will help keep track of the status of inquiries and ensure timely resolution of requests.
Have an Enhancement Idea? Share It!
Throughout your implementation you will probably have suggestions or ideas for how the software could be improved based on your processes or use for the platform. We call these areas enhancements. Software vendors value your ideas. It’s how they get some of the best improvements they implement over time. Great software vendors will routinely make enhancements to their software’s core functionality. For example, MediSked releases new features several times a year. Typically, a vendor will have a process for you to submit your requests. Keep in mind that this will be different than the issues or bugs that you may find during your implementation. Good communication with your project team (and the support team after go-live) will help you navigate issues, bugs, enhancement requests, etc. When it’s time to submit your ideas for enhancements, be ready to communicate the priority of your request and make the case if you think this idea would benefit other clients as well.