Change is hard, so we find that even though a product is a clear upgrade that lawyers will embrace, IT departments can be hesitant to switch out a lower spec or problematic product because of the disruption the change will cause their users. This is especially true with products that are heavily relied on by law firms, such as document comparison or metadata cleaning. But some firms are finding creative ways to make the change.
We were so impressed by one large law firm’s simple approach to change management that we thought it was worth sharing.
One firm that navigated this change with great success replaced a competitor’s product with Change-Pro Premier. Their IT team and lawyers became huge advocates for Change-Pro Premier and its superior, more accurate and readable comparison.
So, how was this firm able to make the switch? Here is the simplified version of the steps they took to roll out Change-Pro Premier with little to no disruption:
- Start with a pilot: This firm tested the software with a small group and then deployed to a larger group of early adopters/change advocates. This generated excitement and support throughout the firm. A successful pilot, and then deployment to a group of early adopters/change advocates. Viral support for the upgrade was generated.
- Communicate frequently: A week prior to rollout an email was sent to each region announcing the change and the benefits of using Change-Pro Premier over the old product. An additional email was sent on the day of the deployment. This email was short and concise, but included a Quick Reference Guide for those who wanted more information. Lunch and learn sessions were also provided in each office to further educate the users.
- Have a plan for rollout: This firm started pushing out the Change-Pro package for all users in a single geographic region. Each week they added an additional region, continuing until all the regions were completed.
- Allow time for adoption: One of the keys to their success was that the old product was left installed on all the machines; however, they removed its integration to Office, Windows Explorer and the DMS. The only way to access it was via the Windows start menu. This prevented too much reliance on the old product, but gave both IT and the end-users confidence that it was there should they ever need it.
The result of this approach was zero increase in help desk calls and an appreciative user base that saw the new software as an upgrade that was delivered without any disruption or the need to attend training …a huge win for IT! As a footnote to this story, the old product remained on the Windows image for almost a year and when it was finally removed there was not one complaint.