Updating your organization’s meeting management format to a smart software solution is an exciting but daunting prospect. While you’re excited about the added efficiency, transparency and accessibility of information, you do need to know how long it takes to implement the whole solution, and what you can do to make the process faster.

Whether you operate in healthcare, education, municipalities or other public sector organizations, it is crucial to understand that implementation is not “cookie cutter”. Implementation timelines can vary based on the size of the organization, the modules to be implemented and the amount of change management required. With eSCRIBE, this is often less than 90 days, and in one case, it was accomplished in two weeks.

implementation_latest1Nov

Related Resources: Read how North Huron Municipality was able to implement eSCRIBE within 2 weeks

We understand the challenges of adopting a meeting management software solution. To give you an idea of what implementation looks like with our clients, we have put together this outline based on the milestones in the implementation process. We focus on thorough and effective implementation, and we strongly believe the process should not take four years.

Note: This is the not the full implementation timeline. Should you decide to implement a meeting management solution, your provider will walk you through your full plan step by step.

Kick-Off Discussion

As with most, if not all, projects, a kick-off discussion between all parties would take place. During this process, we collect a configuration work package and sample document from the client that will be used to configure the site. The faster we receive those documents, the faster we can move on to configuring eSCRIBE to fit in their environment.

What you can do: Prepare these items early and have them ready for submission.

Configuration Review

This is a crucial step. This is where we show the client their new template.

We familiarize our client with the templates, design and workflow that maximize the solution’s effectiveness for their organization. This process provides our clients with a thorough understanding of how the solution will fit in for them.

Here, there might be a little hiccup because at this stage the client actually gets to look at what the templates will look like going forward, and sometimes they try resisting change. It’s nothing personal. It’s human nature to be averse to change and we get it. The importance here is learning to manage change, so that a better future can be achieved.

What you can do: Here, change and change acceptance is key!  So, keep an open mind! We understand it can be hard to accept change, but to realize growth and improve efficiencies, comfort zones are a hindrance! Understand that new is not always bad. In this case, your meeting management solution is your biggest ally.

Related Resources: Read our blog on how to manage change like a R.O.C.K.S.T.A.R

Additionally, we also provide insights into existing templates, which sometimes require change to accommodate accessibility demands or to make it more comprehensible to the audience. Furthermore, we can recommend independent change management specialists to advise your organization as well.

Training and Conduct Practice Meeting

We will introduce the product and features to your initial rollout champion group during a training seminar. Our training sessions are broken up into manageable and role-based sessions, combined with instructor-led and practice activities.

During these sessions, attendees will learn how to build agendas, create reports and manage their deadlines, conduct a meeting, take minutes and enjoy the new software!

Depending on a staff member’s role in the meeting process, their participation in training might take between an hour to 3 days of combined learning.

As best practice, we encourage clients to commit to training and start using the system. This allows them to take advantage of the software ASAP, and because training is fresh in their minds, there is no need to invest in more training, and that takes longer. Important to note, unlike other vendors, clients are able to use the software on an as-needed basis after training, instead of waiting for full deployment to begin using.

We understand that everyone is busy and it takes time to learn a new system, but the sooner the system is live and in use, the sooner time is saved! We usually recommend running 1 meeting in parallel with current process, or running a mock meeting, depending on client’s schedule.

The training will also prepare your key people to teach council members and meeting attendees on how to use the system.

A huge part of effective meeting management solution adoption is disseminating the knowledge of how to use the new system to all the staff members who will be using it. It is best practice to do an incremental rollout, where there is a gradual build-up and learning until full deployment, as opposed to a ‘big-bang’ approach, where you have to wait for full deployment and then the whole organization has to be trained all at once.

What you can do: Choose your most effective and enthusiastic communicators, as they will be trained first and can be tasked to train other users. Don’t focus on training all the staff at once. This should be a progressive rollout. It avoids confusion and increases confidence. These product experts will also need to teach council members to use the system as meeting participants to receive information electronically, take notes, vote and maybe even request to speak.

Publishing Implementation

Prior to publication, the client will have worked incrementally to implement, train, and practice working with the system. It’s important that each department is confident and experienced at this stage, as this is the final rollout.

This is the stage when the public-facing side of the meeting management application will be published to the client’s website in an iframe. This process takes a maximum of half an hour.

At this stage, the client has an updated workflow, their staff is confident working with the meeting management solution, and the public-facing interface is published.

Congratulations are now in order! The implementation process has been successfully completed.

So How Long Should I Expect?

Remember to find a meeting management solution provider that would be very supportive and is ready to accompany you step by step. They might even provide new insights into your workflows. They will be your guide in this new daunting yet exciting journey towards standardization of processes.

At eSCRIBE, a basic implementation project plan for our clients is eight weeks. This gives our clients and ourselves the time we need to optimize your software and features, build an implementation and training schedule, and ensure that your staff is enjoying benefits of using our software to its maximum potential. A fast rate of implementation is more likely to receive buy in by staff.

Meeting automation is a relatively straightforward process. The overall transition process should take on the order of six months, maximum, unless there are some very specific business drivers delaying adoption.

Remember that this is a lower limit and the majority of medium-to-large organizations will take longer to complete the transition process.

Keep the enthusiasm up and your department leaders will follow suit. Build a strong plan and follow through, and remember that your solution provider is always here for guidance when you need it!