“The perceived disruption and upheaval that many believe is an unavoidable consequence of moving technology platforms, may not be as painful or difficult as you might think”
With the flexibility and efficiency being created by new "cloud-based" software platforms, many commercial property professionals are keen to gain business benefits but are concerned about the short-term problems that might be created in the changeover.
The reality of a well-managed data migration and system implementation program is that the benefits always far outweigh the initial disruption. The old adage, "short term pain for long term gain", is never truer than in the circumstances where businesses embrace technology to increase their market competitiveness. And often the "short term pain" is not painful at all.
The hallmarks of a good cloud software provider, go beyond the functionality of their product and are entrenched in how well they manage the transition off your old platform.
The industry leaders in this space will always have well-documented processes - being used by skilled and experienced data migration and implementation staff. Their aim should be to migrate your business in a seamless and organised way, where your own customers are hardly aware that a change has taken place.
The process should clearly set out the timetable for the system transition and provide milestone information - which clearly articulates the responsibilities of each party and by when.
Staff training should occur at a time that is not too early in the process, but "just in time" to allow your staff to get up to speed with some of the new processes, without burdening them with unnecessary work.
Many browser-based software firms will have migration templates or conversion script that allows all of your existing information to be digitally transferred. Without the necessity to manually input years of information – much of which is integral to the management of your real estate business.
As a cloud-based software provider, we deal with companies every day that have put off the move, only to find that it was nowhere near as painful as they expected when they finally make the decision.
The key really is however, the depth of the training and support team in the background and how well structured the initial implementation plan is.
Many software providers use "contractor resources" for new client onboarding because they might be located offshore and do not have the volumes of new customers to support local capabilities. This can often be problematic, as the contractor performs the work spasmodically and often has limited system knowledge.
Then once you "go live", there is the necessity for a well-resourced support team in the background, who are there when you need them. Again, many offshore providers simply don’t have the boots on the ground in Australia to do the job properly.
So in summary, if you have been contemplating embracing new technology in your business, do not be frightened of the process. But make sure you have researched the implementation, data migration, training and support capabilities of the software provider you are talking to.
It is often the case that a software solution that looks good in the demonstration, doesn’t have the horsepower in the background to deliver what you are ultimately looking for.