So, it’s time to upgrade to bigger and better systems, more advanced software, or more automated software. You’ve picked the platform/s you’re going to use, but where do you start with moving things over? Planning a system migration is a huge task in itself. On top of learning a new set of features, you have to move over all of the documents, data and software that your business has collected over the years.
And that’s not all. It could take days to transfer over to the new system and your business can’t just come to a stand-still.
It’s important to be organised and strategic about how you approach system migration. When you start to map it all out, you’ll see that you’ve probably done this process before when planning a launch.
That’s right. The key to a smoother and more organised system migration is to plan it like a launch.
1. Plan for Preparation Time
System migration isn’t usually something you can jump straight into. Sure you’re excited for the new system to be ready to go like yesterday, but proper planning will ensure your migration is a relatively smooth and quick journey.
You need to make sure:
- You know how to use the new system and implement the change
- All of your data and documents are ready to be transferred to the new system
- The new system is ready to receive the data and files
- Your team is aware of how to continue working while the transition is happening
- Everyone has access to everything they need.
- You’ve got enough time in your marketing and sales calendar to make the switch comfortably.
If you allow for this initial period of planning for preparation time, you’re setting yourself and your team up for success. I promise it will save you a tonne of time and energy (and tears!) if you take the time to plan properly – just like it does when you plan for a launch!
2. Plan your Content in Advance
When you plan your system migration like a launch, you’ll realise that there are even similarities in content planning.
Even though the system change is already going to be a lot on your plate, it’s important to continue showing up consistently for your audience so you aren’t missing out on sales and are continuing to send people through your sales funnel.
The best way to do this is to plan your content in advance. Not only will it be one less task to be juggling during this period, but it will also make sure that the content links and resources are all working as they should be.
One thing to note here is if your system change impacts your landing pages, websites, checkout or email marketing, it’s best to keep your content schedule and advertising to content that doesn’t require people to click through or sign up to a dead link or broken automation.
You don’t want to send your traffic to a broken link and have one of their first experiences with you leading to an error page. That kind of customer journey is not ideal.
This leads me to my next point, PLANNING.
3. Plan for Testing Time
There are two things you need to plan for during this testing time.
The first is to test that all areas function correctly. Some priority checks include:
- Have your workflows changed and are they still running smoothly and in a logical way?
- Are all files opening correctly?
- Are all automations firing correctly?
- Do team members have adequate access?
- Are your customers facing any dead-ends or “404” errors
The second part is making sure your team knows how to use the new system. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example:
- Writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
- Creating video tutorials
- Team training sessions
This might be one of the longer more cumbersome stages of your system migration, but it’s going to pay off in the long run when you can have a smoother transition after your go-live with the new system.
Balancing your workload and adjusting to a new system can be difficult, so allowing for testing time will not only help things run smoothly on the inside but will keep your business looking professional on the outside.
It’s just like when you plan a launch. System migration will need time for you to make sure everything is in working order and to make any necessary changes.
4. Plan for Go-Live
Don’t just make your new system live when it’s done. Plan a date and time that will cause the least amount of disruptions for your team and clients.
If the new system is something your clients will see, send out an email and let them know about the changes happening and how it’s a positive move for both you and them. This will help ease any worries about emails, messages and other notifications from a new system they might receive. It will also end up being a great move for you and your team because you won’t have as many client emails and calls popping up asking what’s happening when you’re live.
For this to work out easily, you’ll have to prepare your staff to be answering questions and also ready to handle any tech issues that may arise with the new system so problems can be handled succinctly and not impede to greatly on your work.
Just like when you plan a launch, system migration requires your staff to be briefed on its functions and benefits.
Having a date for when the system goes live will also give your team a deadline to be ready to use the new system entirely. Depending on how you’ve chosen to train them, they may have SOP’s to read or videos they need to watch to make sure they are confident with the transition.
This will also allow for any last-minute questions and doubts to be handled by both team members and clients.
Do not plan a launch during or immediately after go-live – give your new system and audience time to breathe so you can fix any issues before you restart sending traffic/contacts.
5. Plan for Review and Optimisations
After the new system is live, it’s important to plan for a review in a few months.
Initially, it’s normal for productivity time to slow down while everyone is getting familiar so leave about 3-6 months between your live date and review time.
There may still be issues during this time that can’t be left and will need to be dealt with straight away which is totally normal. The steps you took prior to this will definitely have minimised them so that they’re more manageable. Plus, any good system will have a customer support team ready for you to contact whenever you come across an issue.
A system migration is usually an upgrade to bigger and better things that will allow your business to operate more efficiently. Look at the system now that you have all of your data inside and your team working within and critically analyse if it’s benefiting your business.
Do you need to implement new procedures to work more smoothly with the new system?
Do you need to optimise the new system with integrations, automations or upgrades to work better?
By taking the time to plan out these five stages, you’re preparing yourself, your team and your clients for stress-free system migration. You can approach the transition confidently and minimise the mistakes and road bumps that come with implementing new software.
Plan your system migration like a launch and it will completely change the way you approach this time and make everything run smoother.
Need migration support?
Overwhelmed by the planning and the thought of actually completing the system migration yourself? We offer done for you system migration, set up and management for CRMs, email marketing, websites, online course/membership portals.
You can contact us to discuss all things system migration and how we can help you.