Switching BMS systems? Keep these 3 points in mind

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We’ve been hearing from more and more brokerage principals that they are switching BMS systems for their personal lines. The common thread from all of the conversations is a focus on the benefits that will come from the improved features, or functionality, that the ‘new’ software will bring. 

What strikes us about what we hear is that rarely (very rarely) does a principal talk about the transition or implementation plan. 

And that’s a problem.

Research into the adoption of enterprise-wide software implementations show success rates of only 40%-50%. Granted, these are large scale organizations. But the same principles apply to brokerages of any size.

(You can read more about the reality check of new software in this eBook on maximizing ROI from new software).

Dealing with technology change is all about the details of the transition. Too often, principals focus on the features and functionality of the new BMS. Yes, those are important. 

But what we’ve learned is that software is useless without a well thought out implementation and transition plan. And while Policy Works is a platform that focus exclusively on commercial lines, the process for successfully implementing new software is quite similar. 

If you are planning to switch BMS providers, here are three tips to help with the transition and implementation. 

1. Do no harm

Your first mandate should be to follow the universal physician maxim: do no harm. We have seen too many software switches that are poorly thought out and rushed into action. The result is typically a rough transition, employee confusion and disappointment with the new software.

How do you ‘do no harm’? Take stock of your current BMS, workflows and data requirements. Determine where you’re disappointed, or looking for improvements. Then fully understand what the new system will need to do, and how the provider will help minimize the pain of change. Ask for a mapped-out plan. Make plans for how you will handle and give priority attention to things when they go wrong.

2. Use a staggered rollout

Don’t discard your existing BMS and related workflows until the wrinkles of the new system and implementation are ironed out and you are ready to go live. The goal is to minimize disruption while you make the shift.

Testing is critical to keep your current service levels intact and also to ensure that training at the CSR, producer and management levels is thoroughly and fully embraced. It applies to data entry, interaction with clients and markets, service processes and standardized work procedures.

3. Use the software, immediately (and repeatedly)

Maximize the ROI of your new BMS by utilizing all (or as many) of the functions the new software offers. This has to be done immediately after each training session. Why?

Consider this: the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve tells us that within 20 minutes of learning something new, 42% is forgotten. Within 24 hours, a staggering 67% of what is learned is quickly forgotten.

The whole point of changing your BMS is to improve productivity, eliminate redundancies and streamline work functions. That has to be the finish line for your brokerage. If you’re simply satisfied that you have “made the transition,” you are probably leaving big efficiency gains on the table. 

Be realistic

With any technology change, you need to be realistic. Software is only as good as the implementation. You have to continually keep in mind that you’re dealing with people who are already stressed from their daily work. When you commit to switching software platforms, you also commit to helping your staff through the transition as successfully as possible. 

If you're making the switch to a CMS for commercial lines, the same principles apply. You can read more about maximizing your implementations in our eBook The features and benefits trap: ROI is in the implementation.

Topics: Implementation