7 Steps to ELM Implementation Success
Once you’ve selected your ELM software or legal tech solution, things begin to happen very quickly. Legal Operations teams are uniquely cross-functional, and implementing an ELM solution well will require that you lean into this strength.
We’ve already looked at the steps to take in evaluating the right ELM solution. Now that you’re ready to implement it, you may already have technical team members in your department that you need to involve. But it is also possible that you’ll be working with technical folks from farther afield.
Lean into what makes legal such a great place to work: bring in the right players from across your organization and leverage their combination of legal know-how, business process knowledge, project management, and technical expertise to get off the ground.
A long procurement process does not and should not mean a long project or a delayed start. As soon as you sign the contract, you should get ready to dive right in. But not without taking into account these seven steps to lead your team to ELM implementation success.
Know who you need for ELM implementation
You’ve already involved a number of people in the procurement process, but now it’s time to rethink who you need. Start off your project with all your key stakeholders on the same page, and remember, now that you’ve purchased the solution, you may have key team members who work for the company from which you made the purchase.
- Members of the IT team
- Program / Platform manager
- Business analysts
- Solution-specific Hosting team members
- Solution-specific project managers
- Solution-specific professional services analysts
Don’t forget your grand plan
Things are about to get very specific in your ELM implementation: do you want this form field or this form field, for this object type to capture information or that one, what kind of permissions do you want to grant each department, team, or user? Before you get into the detail, remember the grand plan that compelled you to go through procurement in the first place.
Write the original goal somewhere that you return to often, like in the subtitle of your project plan. Maybe it’s “Stop wasting time looking for documents,” or “Centralize data for easier access,” or “Streamline boring, repetitive work.”
You’ve already been through RFP; you know what you needed in your solution. But now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. What do you need your solution to solve? You’re expert on your problem, but the team you’re working with has expertise in leveraging the solution. Team up with them to make sure that your idea can be translated into the software, and where there are gaps? Take notes and get creative.
Set timeline goals
Scope creep kills projects, so your ELM implementation timeline is a prophylactic. With your requirements in mind, benchmark reasonable goals that move your forward. Now is also the time to plan for contingencies. In order to build a failure-proof plan, plan the failures. Consider what could go wrong or take more time at any step, and then build in fail-safes to overcome the challenges that might appear.
If the software that you bought is a platform, you might be building the solution yourself. If that’s true, take advantage of the resources that the product offers. Ask your point person the following:
- What training resources are available, and if they are asynchronous, who can we ask for additional support?
- Are there any out-of-box templates to start with?
- Is there a knowledge base or user manual?
- Can they brainstorm ideas with other members of the customer community?
Build a communication plan
It is important to think about your communication plan well before your launch date. We recommend starting to brainstorm it during UAT: Think about the people you need to be excited about the changes your implementing, and how to frame your success as something that will make their lives easier: Change is only challenging when it represents loss.
Look back to your main goals to set the right (positive) tone. Maintain constant, clear communication, setting expectations and setting up the right meetings to get everyone on board.
Set KPIs for your ELM implementation
One of the most important things to do during your ELM implementation go-live is to start tracking your success. If things are going great, then you can use those stats to show your team how great your leadership has been, and you can pull those stats to help with further adoption. If they’re not, not to fear: use them to iterate and set goals to improve.