So you’ve gotten through the budget approval process and executive review on adopting a brand new innovative technology platform that is going to transform your business. The real journey is now just beginning. Leading all the right internal stakeholders through the implementation phase is one of the most important pieces of this process. Communication is key during this phase, and getting everyone literate and comfortable with the new technology can be tricky and labor intensive, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a thoughtful plan.
Through our work and experience in the trenches with leading sports and entertainment brands like the San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Vikings, New York Yankees, Churchill Downs and more, together we’ve learned some of the best practices for a smooth and successful implementation.
Begin with the end in mind
Identify and agree upon goals, priorities and a timeline at the onset of the project. Think about what most excites the team about the platform and will have the biggest impact on customers and the business. Prioritizing features that align with your goals will help you achieve those goals better than trying to tackle too many features at one time.
Context is crucial
Provide in context examples of how the technology solves a problem. A presentation to hundreds of people is a good scene setter, but there’s nothing like having employees be able to relate how the technology will be used in the context of their daily activities. Making sure your staff sees it in action in your business is essential for them to understand, and feel comfortable with, using the technology.
Building internal excitement
Work with your internal communications to help build excitement about how this new technology will make a difference to your business and fans— especially around customer experiences. When your employees are excited about it, chances of success are higher. For example, hosting a dry-run with employees to test the technology can be a fun way to show how it works during a low stakes simulation. Also, be aware of how the new technology will affect other parties in the venue. Building excitement with venue vendors, or other groups that will be involved in making it successful, is also important.
Easy to follow guides
Share simple How To videos, screenshots of the technology in use, training courses, easy-to-use documentation and referral pieces from the technology vendor to help your employees understand how to use the technology that aren’t complicated makes formal initiatives less intimidating. For example, videos may help cashiers walk through how to use an order management system. Technology vendors can make a portal for customers to access all of these materials in one place — like a login for customers on a technology vendor’s website to access these materials. Additionally, it helps to identify an internal team member who understands the technology well to provide support to other employees when needed.
Start easy and build up from there
Be sure not to overwhelm functional leaders. Build up knowledge through practicing the basics first, and adding additional complexity from there. VenueNext likes to be onsite with clients when the customer is beginning to test and implement the technology, but the ultimate goal for us is to teach our clients well enough to use the technology on their own.
Test, test, test
Before implementing your new technology it’s crucial to test it in all scenarios before your launch date. It’s much less trouble to remove bugs before the technology gets into the hands of your users. Creating internal events around testing can not only make it fun, but it can make it even more of a learning experience for employees on how to use the technology. With testing, you can more easily identify the critical areas that require training. Testing before each event to make sure the technology is running smoothly is important too.
Have on-site help present for key milestones
Identify your main point of contact up front before signing an agreement. Be sure to get commitment from your technology vendor that key support staff will be onsite for onboarding, at launch time and during important events. This support can help resolve issues more quickly. Having important dates on a calendar makes the overall process more organized as well.
Communication is key and the answer to troubleshooting issues — having the right processes in place and being responsive and in touch with your vendor during critical times is a great investment at the outset. VenueNext uses Slack to quickly collaborate with its own customers. Technology vendors should communicate as much as possible and let the technology vendors know you’re available when they have questions by sharing your contact information with the vendors.
So with onsite help during key technology implementation days, ample communication, sufficient testing, thought-out planning, internal excitement and more, adopting a new technology will be a much more seamless process for your company.
Have any tips or tricks to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.