Athena Software Blog
Investing in change with case management software
Posted by Amanda Centritto on Apr. 6, 2016

By purchasing a case management software system like Penelope, your social services organization is making an important investment in change.

You have likely spent a considerable amount of time evaluating case management solutions that will meet a variety of internal goals, strategic plans, or even funder-mandated requirements.

Your agency will evaluate and select something that will effectively track client outcomes, provide robust reporting, streamline processes and remove duplication.

These are not small expectations. Meeting these goals will change the way your organization operates on a day-to-day basis.

With all of the money and hours invested in evaluating the right fit for software, how is it that some projects do not meet the initial expectations?

Whether you are moving from paper to Penelope, or from another case management solution to Penelope, the answer is simple: success is measured by the investment you make in change.

An effective change management plan will allow you to stay on schedule, meet budget expectations, and support an effective Penelope implementation.

Change management is key to implementing a new case management system

Planning for change can be difficult. Organizations must allocate as much time and resources to planning and implementing change as they would any other corporate shift. So where do you start?

1. Prepare for the Change

Organizations need to allocate as much energy in planning for change as they do in their initial purchase.

Protecting your investment means planning for your implementation.

A change management team, consisting of all levels of staff, can assist with a smooth transition. Give this team the task of managing and communicating change to the rest of the organization.

2. Engage Your Staff

Ensure that staff are a part of the plan for change and that their opinions shape process and decision making.

A large part of this shift is ensuring your management teams have the capacity and ability to manage the change.

Planning and speaking the language of change together with staff teams will ensure their success. Allow them to become your champions for change.

3. Communicate!

Communicating change is key. Have a strong communications plan to support this organizational shift.

Schedule your communications to ensure staff are well informed. Allow staff to voice concerns and talk about the change and its impact.

Effective communication of the change will provide a more comfortable transition for staff. Being prepared and informed of the change allows for a smoother transition.

4. Set Goals and Milestones

Your change management plan, like any plan, should have goals and milestones built in.

Allow all levels of staff to contribute to goals that they would like to achieve and ensure that you celebrate victories.

Build a plan that allows you to have high ambitions, but that moves at a pace that's comfortable for all levels of staff.

5. Understand What Change Means to Your Team

Focusing on the positive aspects of change will assist you in ensuring success.

Many implementation project teams note that their staff are afraid of change. But what does this actually mean?

Often, this can translate to staff being afraid of technology. When an organization is moving from paper to Penelope, for example, there is a significant impact for staff.

Change will have a different definition for each level of staff on your team, and planning to understand this and focusing on positive empowerment of staff will enhance your chances for success.

6. Empower Staff Members

Focus on areas of change that are impactful personally for staff.

Remind staff that training will support their development and enhance their skills sets. Note that case management software will allow for more direct time with clients when duplication is removed and processes are streamlined.

Give staff projects/tasks to support the overall goals so they feel they are contributing to the success of the project. Empowering staff to contribute and make decisions will strengthen their support of the project.

At Athena Software, we understand that purchasing a case management software system like Penelope is a big step towards a new normal for your organization and we want to support you as you implement this very important change.

If you think your agency might benefit from Penelope's simple, smart and connected approach to case management, contact us today to set up a free demonstration of the software!

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