Thinking of purchasing new property tax software? Or maybe you’ve already invested in new software (of any kind) and are planning the implementation process. Either way, you’re right to be doing your homework in advance of the change. Tech-related implementations require the same level of attention as any other type of organizational change initiative—a substantial number of which are prone to failure due to lack of planning.
Why is planning so important, and what’s the right approach to take? Keep reading for the answers.
Why A Software Change Requires Planning
While buying new property tax software may seem like a simple swapping out of tech tools, there’s more to it than that. (Usually that’s the easy part!) The people and processes surrounding any technology change will also be affected; if they aren’t considered and supported the project is destined for failure.
Too many leaders in charge of tech implementations focus on “selling” the new tool to staff, rather than on the process of change itself. (Tweet this!) Your people will have questions—both on a personal level and an organization level—that need clear answers. And your organization will likely have numerous processes, not only those directly impacted by the new software but those that intermingle with them, that will require rethinking. Change initiatives that fail miss the mark in these areas. Poor communication, a lack of clearly defined and/or achievable milestones and objectives to measure progress, and employee resistance are all cited as some of the top reasons for failure, which lead to wasted money and wasted efforts.
Wondering how to gain employee buy-in for your new corporate tax software? Download this free guide for tips.
Following the principles of change management means you’re invested not only in new tech that will improve your business, but also in helping your people transition to a new way of doing things. You’re also paving the way for a long-term win that will truly make the most of your software investment.
Required Elements For A Property Tax Software Change
Strategic planner Stephanie Blackburn Freeth states that five elements must be in place for any type of change to be successful: vision, skills, incentives, resources, and an action plan. If any one of these elements is missing, it can provoke feelings ranging from confusion and anxiety to resistance and frustration.
Here’s how we recommend putting these elements into place at your organization before implementing new corporate tax software.
Have a clear vision statement.
More likely than not, making a new software selection means you have a clear idea about how your organization will be transformed as a result of using it. What’s the future you envision? It’s important you share that vision with employees. Explain:
- The challenges your organization is currently facing that create a need for the new software. Use data to help paint a picture of why the new software is needed and how it will make an impact.
- The benefits that will arise as a result of the change. How will the new software help your organization achieve its vision for the future? Create a compelling “before and after” story that makes employees more open to the change.
Intertwined with your explanations should be a lot of listening—listening to and addressing people’s concerns. Either in small groups, or one-on-one, ask for questions and answer them as honestly as you can. Building trust is key if you expect to get employees on board with a new way of doing things.
Develop relevant training sessions.
Your new software may be easy to use (especially if you’re implementing CrowdReason property tax management software), but that doesn’t mean you can skip the training.
Different people have different comfort levels with technology, so avoid making assumptions about your employees’ skills. Anxiety about learning new technology may make some people more resistant, and even prompt them to find workarounds to sidestep it. Your software vendor should offer training sessions for employees and unlimited opportunities after implementation to ask questions and get support. In addition to formal group training sessions, one-on-one meetings can help ease people into the new software gradually.
Also, make sure you have a designated individual in-house who is already fairly skilled in using the new software; he or she can serve as a point person for questions.
These are just two of the five required elements for a successful property tax software implementation; our free change management guide outlines them all, with the addition of a few extra tips, like how to gain buy-in from your team and how to build trust in the new system. What may seem like small things are actually key components of an excellent change management program. Companies that can navigate change effectively are three and a half times more likely to significantly outperform their industry peers. So if change is coming for your organization, get started planning now.