How to Transition to a New Case Management Software Application

by Brice Roy

June 22, 2017

Change, and how we deal with the difficulties associated with it, is a fact of life.

Sometimes change is welcome and possibly even anticipated, like a promotion or picking up a new hobby. Other times change is unsettling and unpredictable.

There are also times when change is both desired and disruptive, such as buying a new home or adopting new software.

While you might have to ask your friends to help you pack up and move to your new house, the staff at Athena Software are happy to help make your transition to using Penelope case management software as seamless as possible.

Two of the biggest concerns an organization faces with any new software are – is it easy to use and how will staff react to the new process?

Luckily, Penelope does not require a computer savant or an I.T. background to comprehend, and with experience helping hundreds of different companies adopt our case management software, Athena is working to make the transition to a new case management software application for nonprofits and social services as smooth and painless as possible.

Know Your Audience and their Roles

One often overlooked key to adopting software is understanding where you’re starting from. Your organization may have already tried (and are unsatisfied with) another software system, or you may have never used client management technology and rely on paper for your reporting. From the very outset of our work with clients, Penelope staff get to know your organization. Our deployment specialists set out a plan for introducing the software and decide who will comprise the project team.

Athena requires a minimum of two members on the project team and has two main methods of implementation.

The first involves working with the project team to configure the software and understand your agency’s workflows. We then train that team to be the super-users. In turn, the project team then trains the rest of your staff.

The second approach involves spending more time with the project team at the outset to gather requirements and understand workflows. From there, we work with your organization to complete the configuration. Sometimes it’s a mix of both.

Ideally agencies and organizations have individuals that are open to adapting and trying something new to improve their efficiency and effectiveness, but sometimes people may be less responsive to change.

There may be employees that are set in their ways and comfortable the way things are. This can end a project before it begins.

Athena staff focus on change management with the project team for that very reason. Instead of waiting, Athena tackles this head on and, as a result, the deployment itself becomes a change management project.

The solution to this problem involves extensive research into the nature and processes of the agency.

First, we establish what the organization’s current process is, what system they are currently using via computer or otherwise, and what roles are involved. Athena staff can then begin mapping out a process and establish with the project team how they want the workflow to look in Penelope.

Mapping the process and workflow that a case takes through the various agencies and organizations is one of most essential steps in the entire deployment process.

This provides the snapshot of the organization which is used to configure Penelope to the workplace. This in turn helps the individuals who may be resistant to change, as the customized roles in Penelope will mirror their current roles more closely and minimize the impact of the change.

Check out our blog on investing in change management for more insight into our deployment philosophy!

Skills Required for Deployment

While the implementation of any new software obviously involves computers, a degree in I.T. is not the primary skill needed to be part of the project team or contribute to the deployment where Penelope is concerned.

At Athena, we understand that each organization is different, and that technical abilities can vary greatly from employee to employee.

For the tech-savvy individuals who want to take a peek under the hood, Penelope has capabilities rivaling any other case management software application on the market, wrapped up in a visually-appealing, user-friendly, and configurable system.

It’s instinctive for an organization to assign their I.T. department the lead role in a software deployment, but the vast majority of Penelope does not require anything above basic computer literacy.

While the I.T. department plays an important role in many organizations, they do not normally play much of a role in the project coordination aspect of deploying Penelope.

This is why Athena recommends that organizations create project teams that involve individuals who really understand what the agency’s programs and services are all about.

The implementation of Penelope at any agency works best when the assigned project team understands the data points they’re trying to track and how they’re serving clients. The more the project team use the program, the more they will benefit from their increased knowledge and user expertise.

In fact, one of the most important skills for members of the project team is the ability to act as a project manager.

The title of project manager is not a requirement, but being a good participant or student and having time to do a bit of homework, test the software and ask questions is a must. It’s always helpful if an organization can identify these individuals right off the bat!

The project team should also be able to self-evaluate and establish a firm grasp on what the various roles are and what they require to complete their tasks.

This self-evaluation will assist with the decision-making process of deployment. Whether decisions are made collectively as a group or by an individual, it’s essential to have the ability to definitively answer the various questions that

Without the ability to make decisions, the deployment can become delayed or even be taken offline while the executive team or board of directors review the decisions instead.

Deploying any new software can be challenging and we, at Athena Software, try to make that change as easy as possible.

Is Penelope right for you?

If you’d like to know more about how Penelope can work for your organization, we’d love to help. Fill out our form or give us a call.

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