OK, so you’ve bought PractiFI licences (welcome aboard!), you’re excited about what it can do for your wealth business and your team is raring to go. But what happens now? Can you sit back while a magic carpet whisks your business from here to untold glory with PractiFI?
Just like managing any change in your business, there’s more to it than magic. Big success is there for the taking, it just needs a little work to make it happen. With some drive and up-front thinking, you’ll be well on your way to PractiFI nirvana in no time. And a great place to start that planning is with our 7 Steps to an Awesome PractiFI Rollout. Ready?
- GET SOME R&R: No, it’s not time for a break yet. I mean roles and responsibilities. Make sure that the right people across the business are engaged and allocated a clear part to play in your PractiFI rollout. Consider these important roles:
- the Sponsor: the person (or people) who made the call to go ahead with PractiFI, who pay for it and hence who have a huge vested interest in its success. The sponsor may not be across all the details of the system’s setup, but they drive the big policies, such as when each group of staff goes live, what features will be used and what management reporting is needed.
- the Solution Champion: the person who’s in charge of the system day to day. The solution champion is super enthusiastic, decides the detail of how PractiFI has been configured for the practice (e.g. the client segments, service types, processes, etc.), ensures that the team is trained and is the go-to person for any questions. In a small or medium practice, the solution champion is often the practice manager. In a larger wealth institution, it may be the department head. Either way, it’s a crucial role for a successful rollout.
- the System Administrator: the person with the “keys” to your instance of PractiFI. They have control over user access, they liaise with the PractiFI support team around detailed configuration, they maintain quality control over the system and its data, and they keep abreast of plug-in apps or new features that can improve your company’s use of PractiFI even further. In a small to medium practice, the system administrator and solution champion roles are often combined. In a larger business, the solution champion is more business and process oriented, while the system administrators are the technophiles.
- the Implementation Manager: the person who manages the transition from the dark days before PractiFI right through to successful day-to-day PractiFI usage, typically through several phases (see below). The implementation manager understands organisational change and that it comprises not just system and process elements, but crucially, the human aspects of communication, training, expectations management and motivation. Again, this role may overlap with the solution champion, but the clear distinction is that the implementation manager owns the transition, whereas the solution champion owns the ongoing day-to-day success.
- the Team Experts: over time, some members of the team will stand out as having a flair or interest in parts of PractiFI. There may be one who’s a whiz at creating merge document templates, another who understands the Salesforce1 Mobile app inside and out, another who’s a natural at configuring PractiFI Analytics. The experts in the team are well worth uncovering, nurturing and supporting. Have them share their emerging expertise with the broader team and celebrate their success. Just make sure that the solution champion and system administrator keep control to ensure that anything new is tested before it’s let loose on the team.
- EAT THE ELEPHANT ONE BITE AT A TIME: I often hear directors and senior management lamenting that there’s no way their team will use a new system unless it’s fully automated, has every document template available, has every piece of data squeaky clean and synced up, and makes their morning macchiato for them just so. I challenge that on three fronts and instead make the case for a phased approach:
- The status quo is probably poor: Not the band, I mean the systems your team use today. I bet there’s messy data, rekeying of data, unfinished processes, old document templates and crap coffee. So why do you insist that they need to leap from 25% to 100% in one great change? Most teams will accept steady improvement rolled out in phases.
- You don’t know as much as your combined team: You don’t know what you’ll learn once your team get their hands early on PractiFI. They’ll find features you aren’t aware of and acquire skills you don’t have. Then, those learnings will inform the next phase of your rollout in ways that you can’t foresee.
- PractiFI is fun to use: Unlike most systems you’ve imposed upon your team in the past, PractiFI is not just about features; it’s about a user experience. Most teams enjoy getting started with PractiFI even if their company hasn’t activated every feature from day one. By getting at least some of your staff using PractiFI early, you can tap into a feelgood factor that can drive the remainder of your rollout.
- PLAN YOUR PHASES: Now that I’ve sold you on the value of a phased approach, next step is to consider what goes into each phase. Here are three common approaches:
- Pilot a subset of the team: This is great for larger businesses. Divide the team into groups and on-board them group by group. E.g. you might kick off with the advice team first on PractiFI, then once they’re on board and confident, roll out to the insurance division, then the investment guys, then the lending team.
- Pilot a subset of features: A common approach for smaller businesses with fewer business lines. Consider all the PractiFI features and integrations you want to use, then divide them into those that are essential on day one and those that can be phased in over time. E.g. Phase 1 might include loading up your full client book, getting your client segments and stages right, configuring your service offering and running basic task management. Phase 2 might introduce some standardised processes. Then later phase might bring some combination of document management, email integration, document generation or whatever suits your business best from PractiFI’s wealth of features.
- Pilot for new business: A good approach if your legacy data is messy or difficult to extract. Get started with PractiFI for new business only, then plan the migration of your existing data ready for the next phase.
- CONFIGURE THE BASICS: Once you’ve planned your phases, there’s a configuration step to get the basics of your practice set up in PractiFI. As an absolute minimum, your base configuration will involve creating your user records, allocating usernames and passwords to each team member and configuring the first set of features you’ve decided to go live with in this phase (see Step 3 above!). We have some great tutorials to help you with this. If you’re a Premium Support client, call us and we’ll guide you through, and better yet, if you’re a Premium Support & Admin client, we’ll do it for you!
- GET LEARNED UP: PractiFI’s user experience is a beautiful thing and most people find it easy to navigate. And our tutorials are a great starting place to learn some of the detailed and more powerful aspects of PractiFI. But if you’re the Solution Champion, or in any one of those important roles we discussed in Step 1, you have to skill up your team on how to use PractiFI with your terminology, your service types, your processes, your templates and all the nuances that make your business amazing. Most PractiFI clients work with our team to “train the trainer”, then have that person mould the message and disseminate it to the rest of the team. In addition to the descriptions you put into your standardised processes (an awesome source of day-to-day training) and the odd procedure document (a little yawn-inducing?), try recording a “how to” video for your team. Host the video online (say on Dropbox) then add a link to it into the sidebar in PractiFI’s Practice View. Easy!
- LOAD UP YOUR DATA: OK, so this is the least fun bit, we all know it. Some businesses moving to PractiFI have a pristine set of well-organised client records that magically match our standard import format and take merely an instant to gently absorb into PractiFI. Sound like you? I thought not. But don’t despair, because our tech team are alchemists when it comes to turning your lead of legacy data into the gold of rich client information. Yes, depending on your licencing there may be costs associated with that, but talk to us and we can get you on the right path.
- TAKE THE DRIVER’S SEAT: Your business is way more complex than our system, so naturally you’re in charge of your PractiFI rollout. Our team at PractiFI is always here to help — specifically, we offer Premium Support to answer your questions, or Premium Support + Admin if you need us to manage your configuration hands-on — but when it comes to the timing and phasing of your rollout, we dance to your tune. So go forth and lead on, knowing that we’ve got your back.