Change is often the biggest challenge for any enterprise going through a digital transformation. Once people get used to doing something one way, it can be difficult to convince them to try an alternative. Even when that alternative adds greater efficiency to operations, the habitual nature of day-to-day activities makes people believe that the “way we do it here” is faster. Resistance then grows, and the proposed transformation fails — or at least that’s been the case for 70% of change efforts at organizations, according to McKinsey.

Part of this is due to company culture. That’s what 46% of CIOs believe to be the real barrier to a successful digital transformation. Many times, a change in operations requires a change in culture. But another aspect that often gets in the way is communication. If virtual training has taught us anything this past year, it’s that people learn differently, at different paces, and in different ways. What might be easily communicated to a senior revenue accountant might require a different tactic for a regulatory accountant.

Put simply, you must adapt your message to meet the needs of the recipient. If you can get your point across in the right way, that person will be much more effective and productive when using a new technology or software. They will also be more adept at teaching it to others. Of course, that isn’t to say there will be no resistance. A whole range of emotions come into play in the face of change, but the right training, communication, and messaging around a digital transformation or new software implementation will help your team overcome those obstacles. An essential component to this will be the technology vendor you choose to work with.

The Keys to a Successful Technology Implementation

Although each relationship between an accounting department and technology vendor will be unique, there are a few strategies you can use to ensure implementation runs smoothly and successfully:

1. Do your research.

Knowledge is power, as they say. Try to learn as much as you can about the software prior to implementation. Oftentimes, the vendor will offer an online resource library for organizations to review. Take advantage of any learning materials to better understand the day-to-day functionalities and operations of the new platform.

2. Attend user conferences and events.

Even during the software demo phases, most vendors will offer up opportunities to attend user conferences and even training events. Make an effort to attend not only to learn more about the system, but also to meet other users, network, and ask questions about the software from those with direct experience. And remember to involve back-office employees in these events, as they are the day-to-day users who will serve as the foundation for the data and analysis going in and out of the software.

3. Keep an open mind.

As previously mentioned, change can be difficult for team members. So it becomes increasingly important to remind employees during the implementation process to remain open to all the possibilities a software has to offer. Look for ways to reinforce how the technology will help provide a better user experience in the long run. Encourage people to keep this mindset and focus on the end results.

4. Schedule regular meetings with the vendor.

Questions will inevitably arise during the first three to six months after software implementation. As such, it’s wise to set up more frequent meetings with the vendor at the onset while team members are learning the intricacies of the platform to ensure a seamless transition and a better experience for potentially reluctant employees.

5. Request additional training.

Hopefully, the vendor provided an initial training session to help team members get to know the new system — but that’s not nearly enough. After about six months, schedule an additional session, and then again as you approach the end of the first year with the software. In either scenario, users will be much more familiar with the system and can ask more informed and nuanced questions. It’s also an opportunity to learn a few shortcuts or tricks.

Companies don’t often consider the vendor-user relationship when commencing with a digital transformation. It is, however, a critical piece of the puzzle for your change efforts. Get people involved in learning more about the software prior to implementation, encourage team members to keep an open mind, and take advantage of training opportunities. Given time — and enough effort — the change won’t be frightening for those involved, but rather an exciting chance for growth.

Interested in learning more about how the vendor-user relationship can work before and after a software implementation? Download the Enertia whitepaper, “How Enertia Implements Upstream Software Virtually In The Age Of Social Distancing.”