When you’re thinking about changing over to a new compliance service provider, it is easy to get caught up in the details and lose sight of the rewards that come from making such a big change. Don’t sweat the small stuff and keep an open mind to all the great things that can come from a fresh start. Innovators in today’s Ethics & Compliance space have made it their mission to track and manage compliance initiatives, saving time and resources, while delivering powerful results. So go ahead and take a leap; changing up your vendor partnerships will definitely be worth the effort.
A rapid transition to a new partnership can look good on a calendar, but taking the time to review your implementation and change management plan will ensure that the transition goes smoothly.
Here are a few essential elements to consider before you begin building your change management plan:
- What individuals comprise your change control board? These folks will be responsible for approving or rejecting each change request. Consider their existing workload and look ahead to see if they will have the capacity to commit to future changes.
- Establish your central change log. This log will be used to identify, collect, and track all performance changes in order to evaluate your success over time.
- Create a centralized change request form. This form will be used to standardize all change requests. Consider your past pain points and bake in their solutions here.
Implementation and Change Management
Plan Includes 4 Phases:
1. Strategy and Planning
The first step kicking off the project between your organization and the new service provider— creating a strong partnership and making a successful organizational change—starts with the project manager at your new partner organization. They should be prepared to have a detailed discussion regarding project overview, requirements and associated timing/milestones, and establishing the project baseline. Bring in all relevant team members for a frank and honest discussion about what a successful change will look like. This initial meeting is your opportunity to assign change management roles. A detailed project plan will originate from these initial conversations, but in order to stay connected to any changes, they must be reviewed regularly with the project team.
When considering what to include in your organizational change management plan, consider your company culture, what the approval process will look like within your change management team, your existing business processes and technologies, as well as what your success criteria are, especially regarding your desired outcomes and timelines. Remember that this is not a set-it-and-forget-it plan; regularly scheduled status meetings are your best tool for regular alignment with both teams.
2. Configuration and Testing
Set your team up for success by implementing a test or trial environment. This sandbox is a great location for preparing and testing technical configurations, such as single sign-on, legacy data migration, and HR data uploads. A test environment is also a great way to give your administrative users practice in the application. When you’re operating in a trial environment, feel free to get your hands dirty and run through any relevant test scenarios with your team. Don’t make the mistake of skipping this step! Sure, it may seem to save time up front, but when you’re working in a new environment, you simply don’t know what you don’t know, and that knowledge gap can invite some costly and embarrassing mistakes. Test scenarios are like dress rehearsals for the big performance; use them to tweak your policies and processes and align with your new software before the curtain rises on opening night.
Consider the following when crafting your change management plan:
- Map any business and technology changes
- Configure and align with new processes and technology changes
- Assign approvals and sign-offs while testing (and testing again!)
3. Product Training
Keeping with the performance metaphor, practice makes perfect, right? You get to Carnegie Hall the same way you implement a new software: Practice, practice, practice! Schedule immediate training sessions with the administrative users and take time to walk through the new software and any process changes that arise from its implementation. Training should be detailed and focused on specific elements in the application in order to keep things running smoothly. Don’t think that a single marathon session will accurately cover everything at once.
Consider separating training into separate modules, focused around roles and areas of focus. As an example, case management administrators could be trained in a different module, separate from those who are managing the disclosures within your organization. Regardless of individual roles and responsibilities, all training and reference materials should be made available for review. A separate learning portal can serve as an online repository for onboarding and reference materials, knowledge base articles, and training assets. Vendors should provide onboarding guides, knowledge base and community resources. Want to kick your compliance chats up a notch and connect with other E&C professionals? Convercent’s CONVERGE Community is a great place to discuss effective change management and much more.
4. Communication Plan and Rollout
Change management can be tough, but your new partner should be able to provide insight and feedback on rollout communication strategies. It can be helpful for you to share how new technology is typically introduced within the organization. Consistency is a real asset whenever possible, especially when implementing new technology, so if you have successful training and implementation processes in place, don’t deviate from past successes. Does your organization experience success with recorded video training, rather than live product demos? Do you know that your team prefers email communication rather than in-person meetings? Play to your current strengths to see more success in your communication plan and rollout.
Once you’ve chosen a new service provider, consider the project to be a balanced partnership because both teams are equally invested in the success of the rollout. Your new service provider wants a win just as much as you do! Your project manager, as well as all of your identified support roles, will be able to keep the project plan on track all the way through implementation by embracing an open and honest communication strategy. Don’t forget to create checkpoints to review successes, concerns, and collect feedback. Remember that corrective action is faster and more efficient when paired with a plan. Hiccups happen, but when you’ve taken the time to thoughtfully plan, test, learn, and communicate, your new service provider will be an agile partner.
Congrats! Although the implementation phase may be over, the lifecycle of the partnership has really just begun. Reach out to our team about making the switch to Convercent’s Ethics Cloud Platform.