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The Boomer Bulletin - 2013
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Take a “Crawl, Walk, Run” Approach to Successful Software Implementations

Posted By Sarah Parker, Thursday, September 12, 2013

Some software discovery meetings become free-for-all sessions where IT asks for server upgrades, marketing asks for a fully functional CRM with marketing automation, several partners want real-time business analytics on their projects and the billing manager wants to automate billings and have it synchronized with the firm’s overall database.

With so many voices in the room, it’s no wonder the firms we come across have expressed a distinct fear of failure when it comes to implementing a system to meet all these needs (and then some).  It is also why many firms settle for disparate systems, making marketers rely on Excel spreadsheets for prospect lists and tax software for current client addresses.  Billers are stuck in a rut with tedious billing periods, and IT makes sure it maintains the patchwork.

Does life in 2013 need to be this difficult?  There is good news: the alternative to disparate software programs is not a failed CRM implementation.  By combining these programs on a single platform, such as Microsoft Dynamics, firms can begin to consolidate their databases.  

A big concern with consolidation is privacy of contacts.  There are systems that allow for control mechanisms and put restrictions on who can view what in a system.  

We at Templeton Solutions have devised the "Crawl, Walk, Run” approach for our clients’ implementations.  By helping with identifying the most pressing need (usually aggregating data into a single location), and developing an efficient, phased approach, we have helped our clients realize a 100% CRM implementation success rate.  Each phase is closed out with train-the-trainer sessions to make sure there is firm buy-in every step of the way.

After a complete review and holistic assessment, we devise the phased approach.  There are software and user-testing metrics each step of the way to ensure a successful launch. 

When you are ready to start crawling, here is a list of questions to ask your potential software provider: 

  1. Does the provider have knowledge of and experience in the CPA industry?
  2. Does the product provide information that leads to insights for managing a successful practice?
  3. Does the product include a business intelligence environment for managers to senior partners to customize dashboards?
  4. Does the product include project and resource planning capabilities along with forecasts for firm revenues, realizations and resource needs? 
  5. Is the product capable of showing ROI of marketing campaigns? 
  6. Is the product capable of tracking relationships and efforts starting with Marketing through to Invoicing? 
  7. Does the product have the capability to be offered on-premise or in the cloud with full functionality? 
  8. Does the product fully integrate with Microsoft Outlook®?

Sarah Parker serves as Client Services Director for Templeton Solutions and manages all aspects involving supporting client engagement service and deliverables. Working in the professional services industry for more than 10 years, Sarah brings passion, keen insight, and experience to each project engagement.  

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