Those IT headaches can kill you, from scattered business files across multiple computers to the Excel file tracking your appraisal orders that have 3 versions floating around. It’s enough to keep you up at night, but that describes a lot of appraisers and appraisal firms. We both know you need to think about modernizing your practice and adopt new appraisal software that is modern and designed for Appraisers.
On the other hand, you cannot afford to bring the office to a grinding halt adopting a new system.
Adopt New Appraisal Software with a Plan
Introducing new software means having a logical plan of attack. One of the most important steps in your plan is the Trial. That’s the stage when you first test the new software in your office. (Here’s a hint, if your vendor doesn’t offer a FREE Trial, what are they hiding?). To really benefit from a Free Trial you need to look carefully at what changes the software will make to your workflow and processes. Then consider how it affects your team.
Here are 5 key steps to make your software trial work and pay dividends for the time you are going to invest:
1. Make one person accountable
Getting the test right means making one person accountable for it. It will probably be you, the business owner / appraiser but it could also be your office administrator. Whoever you choose it should be the person in the office who is tech savvy, but also someone who understands the workflow in the office from beginning to end.
2. Choose the right test group
To get your Trial right, you need to pick the right appraisers in the office to work with. Usually, this means a select a someone that is willing to try something new. Ideally, you need enough volunteers to deliver good data. But not so big that supporting them through the test disrupts the rest of your business.
As a suggestion look for someone on your team who is already frustrated by workflow issues. For instance, you may select Appraisers who feel pain around time-consuming tasks, one whom might be more amenable to testing a new solution. Maybe an Appraiser struggling to manage the day to day deliverables and scheduling. If the new app can help them manage the various deadlines, the value of the change will be obvious.
Try picking appraisers or admins on the team that are more tech savvy. The ones open to new technology and tools. This group will highlight benefits and bumps in the road that you will need to solve for before migrating the entire office to a new system.
3. Set clear goals and expectations
Before you begin the Trial, define the how much you are willing to invest in the Trial. For many, putting 10 appraisals into the system might be all you need. For others, a month long test period is required. As long as you run through the entire workflow several times. It gives you a real window on what is working and what problems you are solving
Set clear goals for what you want to achieve with your initial test group.
- How much time do you want to save?
- What cost savings do you want to see?
- What productivity improvements are targeted?
4. Provide training and support
Training and support can become resource intensive, which can disrupt the regular running of your business. If staff are busy handling test issues, it may take away from the time away from core goals. So define who provides support and within what limits.
Here is an idea. User your vendor to the maximum. Free training webinars? Book them. Free software support? Use it. Take advantage of all available resources. Especially your vendor’s training and support offerings.
5. Evaluate the test
At the end of your defined test period, it will be time to decide whether or not to adopt the software. Before making your decision, go back and think about the problem you were trying to solve.
- Did the software solve or show you how to solve the problem?
- Are you seeing productivity enhancements promised by the solution?
- And if not right now, is the benefit clear assuming a full-scale adoption?
What do your Appraisers say? How about your Admin? Ask them to judge how well the software is working. Do they find the workflow easier to manage? Have they seen a time or cost savings?
If you have any doubt, extend the test period.
Adopt New Appraisal Software
To make your trial successful, name a leader who will manage the test. Select the right test group. Set clear goals and expectations up front. Maximize training and support. And make sure to evaluate the effort. Get these steps right and your new system, appraisal management system, and back office will serve you well for years to come.