Agency Management Software is not ‘Plug ’n Play’

Awesome Sparkly Demo. Sales rep’s promise of ease. Everyone loves it. Sign-on-the-line and install.

Your love affair with technology turns into a nightmare. And now everyone blames you.

That’s the basic trap of the perceived ‘Plug ’n Play’ agency software / technology solution.

I’ve worked with hundreds of beat-down, worn out, stressed individuals who were charged with fixing a problem with…software. They bought the package of their dreams and then found out that they actually had to do something to make it work.

Even the most basic, free, cloud-based program needs – at the very least – a process defined and parameters to follow. Otherwise everyone will do – or not do – what they want with it.

Garbage in. Garbage out.

If you go the more thorough route – not just placing a Band-Aid on the problem – and sign-on-the-line for an integrated solution, the commitment is greater. So is the exposure to the wrath of your colleagues.

I speak from experience. My colleagues survived and so will you. So pay attention…

Usually the hunt for a solution is born out of crappy issues that just keep swirling around. Everyone’s head hurts from the never-ending complaints about lost or incomplete information, errors, blown budgets, things falling through the cracks.

Just your average day at the agency. Sound familiar?

Software can fix it. But only if you do your research (include colleagues from each discipline the technology touches), and ask the “hard” questions of your rep…

a. What do I need to do to make it work for my agency?
b. Can I customize it myself for our specific needs? (without the need to ask for special programming which costs $$$)
c. How long does it take to install, customize, test, train and roll-out?
d. What kind of data conversion do you provide? (your current work / year needs to move to the new system)
e. What kind of support to you provide for free / for a fee?
f. There's a million more questions. Ask them.

Then start planning and prepare everyone for the positive change.

And keep in mind, to make this kind of change cast away those starry-eyes and be realistic - it takes a commitment from everyone, and total support from management.

But in the end, I believe that – when done right – agency management software is awesome. It can fix everything.

Except personalities. You're on your own there.