Implementing a New Leasing System? Here are 5 Tips to Keep Everything Running Smoothly

November 28, 2018 | Bobbie Warner | AVP, Program Management

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Congratulations! You have made the decision to convert to a new leasing system. Since this platform will serve as the backbone of your business (or a significant part of your business), you have likely gone through a careful selection process to ensure it best meets your leasing needs. Now as you look towards implementation, here are 5 tips to keep everything running smoothly:

1. Ensure you have stakeholder alignment

Project success is wholly reliant on rallying your team. The whole team. You know Mike in accounting? Yes, make sure he’s on board too. Key stakeholders in any organization need to first understand the purchasing decision to then become promoters, and ultimately adopters, of the new leasing system. Brush up on your change management and proactive communication skills as these will be fundamentally important to ensuing alignment up front and every step of the way.

2. Beef-up documentation and processes

Get started by documenting your existing business processes. Differentiate between your critical and non-critical processes – what do you have to keep unchanged, and what do you want to reevaluate. Use this as an opportunity to transform your business, not just to check a box for your system change.

  • • Evaluate the business need each process addresses
  • • Create thorough documentation that includes process steps, handoffs, and the parties involved
  • • Remember to document not just internal processes, but also those that end up interacting with your customers, partners, and vendors

3. Identify an Implementation Leader

One person needs to be the champion for change – the leader of the project – el capitán. While some businesses can adapt a resource or role to internally manage an implementation – remember that your employees already have their “day jobs.” Adding project responsibilities can become overwhelming and ultimately the success of your implementation could become at risk. Identify one leader and adequately prepare for the commitment of time required to drive your project.

How do you find the right leader? You need someone to make fast decisions, understand who is who in the business, and influence change. She/He makes the difficult decisions and keeps everything on track.

Have you identified your leader? You’re one step ahead! But make sure that you are prepared to provide trust, support, and resources to them, so that they feel capable of making decisions and driving the process. Plan for regular team meetings with an identified ‘steering committee’ – your high-level staff – as they will be critical in helping a leader drive the implementation. This governance structure will enable your leader to efficiently execute on key decisions like resources, scope, timeline and budget.

4. Leave plenty of time for testing and data conversion

Two of the most challenging components of your implementation will be managing your data, and adequately testing the system. Let’s dig into data first. Your data conversion, the process of migrating data from your legacy system to your new system, needs to start as soon as the project kicks off. Despite the best laid plans, this work stream is going to be challenging for your team so make sure you identify and dedicate both technical and business resources to these efforts.

  • • Start cleaning up your legacy data
  • • Work with your vendor or a certified partner to develop a strategy on what data will be brought into your new system (read: which data points, and how much legacy or historical data)
  • • Keep your InfoSec team in the loop! With GDPR and data protection measures to consider, it is always best practice to keep that at the forefront of your planning and execution
  • • Plan for multiple iterations of migration and testing once the data is in your staging system

Now that you’ve got your data migration planned, we’ll move on to system testing. Test planning is something to start before you fully understand how to use your new system – I know, that sounds challenging, and you’re right. Start by taking your existing business processes, consider all deals types you might need the system to address, and write down everything you will need to test. These will be your first draft test scenarios to share with your vendor. Once you become more familiar with your new system, you’ll work to create super scenarios and test cases that not only include your documented processes but also the relevant system clicks to execute them.

5. Make a plan (but plan to adapt)

As part of project planning, map out all the aspects of your upcoming project including governance, resources, communication, scope, cost, schedule, and perceived risks. This plan will serve to ground all involved teams as you start your implementation – and it won’t remain unchanged, it will adapt as the project evolves and your leader will be responsible for keeping it all together. Changes to what is called a project’s ‘triple constraint’ – or scope, time or cost – do not necessarily mean failure – they are a sign of adaptability and agility.

In formulating a plan, it is important to listen to your:

  • • Employees: they are in the trenches and each business function will bring a unique perspective to the table
  • • Software vendor: they have done this before! Understand their methodology and recommendations for a successful implementation

You chose to implement to a new leasing system to best serve your customers, employees, and business mission. With careful consideration and planning, you can ensure the implementation process is as organized and efficient as possible.

For more information about Odessa’s implementation methodology, or if you’re interested in learning more about our products please contact us.