Acuity recently wrapped up several implementations of our ELM system for new clients. For the most part, our experiences were wildly successful for the clients and our internal teams. Along the way, we also learned some valuable lessons.

Of course, we all love projects that begin and end right on schedule, with new client stakeholders who are engaged, excited and committed. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few challenges (one that recurs often, unfortunately – the client’s previous vendor’s data was delivered late, causing our data conversion team to scramble to capture the client’s historical data by go-live), but for most projects, both teams – the clients’ and our own implementation specialists – were beyond delighted with the results and experienced a perfect synergy with one another.

So our team thought it would be helpful to document our top dos and don’ts to prepare for and conduct a successful implementation process. We’re hoping that the lessons we’ve learned over the years can help make your software implementation a walk in the park!

DO:

  • Appoint and empower a strong project sponsor and leader at the helm. We are partners in the process, but we need an advocate on the inside.
  • Bring a positive attitude and ensure your team feels a vested interest in the project’s success.
  • Obtain buy-in from upper management with rapid and continuous organizational and cross-departmental communication.
  • Know your cancellation requirements for existing vendors and allow enough time in your schedule for them to comply.
  • Provide and include the correct subject matter expert resources.
  • Line up IT engagement early in the process. These are often the most challenging resources to secure so locking them in early is always a win.
  • Ask a lot of questions – you don’t know what you don’t know. Don’t assume either party knows everything.
  • Be a champion for change – don’t get stuck on previous practices just because “That’s the way it has always been done.”
  • Be receptive to reviewing and completing any pre-project planning ‘homework’.
  • Enlist active and engaged system testers providing necessary feedback to the vendor project team.

DON’T:

  • Think you can get along without a project owner or defined leader.
  • View the project as a chore or enter the process with a lackadaisical attitude.
  • Neglect upper management buy-in with unclear, mixed, or absent organizational and cross-departmental communication.
  • Forget to enlist the correct resources for the project – in particular, IT.
  • Expect the project to go swimmingly if team members don’t know their own business processes.
  • Hang on to antiquated procedures that don’t make sense in your new world. Conversely, don’t let users that intimately know their business processes replicate these antiquated procedures.
  • Close yourself off to change or remain closed off to new forward-thinking ideas.
  • Shorten or skip user acceptance testing – system testing is a priority.
  • Skip that important first step of understanding the business problem you are trying to solve.

We’d love to hear from you – what are your best tips for implementing new enterprise legal software? What would you have everyone do (or not do)?

Acuity ELM is the leading cloud-based enterprise legal spend management solution, providing strategic business solutions to in-house counsel and legal ops teams of all sizes. We pride ourselves on our implementations and securing the best success for both parties involved. We would love to show you our innovative legal management platform, book a demo today.

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