3 Soft Skills You’ll Need With New E-Billing Software
Communication is key to starting your new e-billing software journey on the right foot. And if you’ve ever heard horror stories of companies taking a year (or more) to implement their platform, this step was likely overlooked.
Communicating with colleagues:
Your first order of business is to ensure everyone understands the wider vision behind the purchase and is fully on board from the start. Next, note the specific concerns and requirements of each internal stakeholder before deciding on an appropriate communication schedule that keeps everyone informed.
Hold status meetings as frequently as necessary to keep tasks moving. Oftentimes, face-to-face conversations are the most efficient way to increase accountability and clear obstacles. But tactful email exchanges can be just as effective. Ultimately you’re looking to customize a system that keeps important updates and timely requests from slipping through the cracks.
Communicating with vendors:
Without a clear set of requirements, your e-billing vendor won’t know what you’re looking to achieve. And mystery is just about the only scenario they can’t help you manage. Share your expectations early and your limitations openly. Unspoken demands are always among the top culprits responsible for delayed and derailed progress, so create a communication loop that keeps your vendor aware of your top priorities.
The conversation shouldn’t end at implementation either. You should already be planning out the best ways to relay your future feedback, factoring in items like support requests, weekly check-ins, and quarterly business reviews. For example, what would be the most productive way to share your concerns if reality isn’t meeting expectations a few days, weeks, or months after launch?
Communicating with law firms:
For a smooth transition, inform your law firms of the impending switch well ahead of time. Be sure to emphasize any new habits or behaviors your new e-billing software may require on their end. Finally, confirm what kind of training and support resources they can expect from your vendor.
Whether this is your first time or fifth time using e-billing software, this new purchase will naturally attract excitement and expectations from your team. But you need to acknowledge that you can’t do everything at once. This sounds simple, but distinguishing your needs from your wants can turn into a surprisingly difficult exercise.
Your vendor also needs to be intimately involved at this stage. They can help transform the picture you have in your head in practical requirements and realities. And more importantly, they’ll let you know if your placing emphasis in the correct places.
For example, you may find out that you can launch weeks or months earlier than you imagined if you’re willing to postpone a small percentage of the expected benefits. Perhaps you start with the core e-billing software before working in additional integrations for your finance team during the next business quarter. Whatever you decide though, make sure the prioritized plan is shared with (and understood by) each stakeholder.
After you’ve confirmed what everyone wants to achieve and filtered that feedback into a feasible plan, you can now put it all into action.
Collaborating with colleagues:
Clear roles and responsibilities can help you sidestep entire categories of trouble. The most important title to assign is an internal project manager who will oversee the running of the implementation. If it isn’t practical to have one full-time project manager, assign an additional leader who also has the authority to make high-impact decisions. You’ll want to invite IT and business colleagues into the fold as well to proactively address security and compliance considerations.
If any of your team members are wrestling jampacked calendars that are becoming barriers to essential project meetings, it might be a good idea to reevaluate how you are allocating everyone’s time. An efficient way to achieve this is to reinforce your collaboration with a project management tool that keeps everyone accountable, tracks your team’s progress, and helps the implementation to launch on-time and within budget. It’ll also support those working remotely on the project so they can successfully align with their team members.
Collaborating with vendors:
A seamless transition is in your vendor’s best interest just as much as yours, so training and support should be included as part of their offering. If your team is spread across different time zones, that shouldn’t necessarily become a barrier to training either. Not everyone will be using your new e-billing software in the same way — or as frequently, so your vendor should provide tailored sessions to you and your team so everyone fully understands the technology and how it fits into their workflows.
Collaborating with law firms:
Your in-house team isn’t the only group with training requirements, of course. Law firm partners who are unable (or unwilling) to comply with your newly designed e-billing process will dramatically reduce its potential impact. It’s always best to account for these potential hurdles proactively, working with your vendor to develop a plan for educating and supporting these critical users.
Still worried about how to switch away from your current system? See our in-depth guide on safe and responsible transitions.