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Switching Your Association Management Software Gradually

Bringing in a whole new enterprise system

Switching over your association to a new enterprise software for any organization involves risks and a lot of money. It’s a huge, terrifying project that causes a ton of stress and anxiety. How will staff adapt? How will your association like the software once all is said and done?


A great way to lessen these negative feelings about the transition is to do it gradually or in phases. Yes, this means start by only installing one “corner” of the software at a time. For example, installing only the email feature or document management feature, and keeping the old system still in place. After that’s been implemented and has been used and learned by everyone, bring in another piece of the software, until it’s complete.

One of the known challenges with bringing in new software is that you need approval from the board, your boss, the IT person, etc. A great way to avoid this challenge would be to use a “corner” of the software as a solution for a task that’s most troublesome for the association. Once the board (or whoever approves) sees how that task has been solved, it’s only natural to implement another feature to solve the association’s next problem.


During this process, you’ll also want to have clear communication with the association staff. This means to explain to them why there is a need for change, if they aren’t already aware, as well as explaining the benefits of the new system. Some staff members might feel resistant to change before they learn that it’s only going to make their job easier.

Communication throughout the process will also be clearer because the purpose of each element would be focused on for a certain period of time.


For training, selecting only department heads or subject matter experts of the association to learn the new software is a great way to disperse the knowledge throughout the organization, compared to everybody learning the software at once. Staff will also be learning it from someone they already know, and who already knows them.

Avoid Overwhelming

Using this gradual method will help your association smoothly transition to new software. Overwhelming staff with an abundance of new processes will only lengthen the amount of time for them to learn it, as well as not allow them to learn the software as thoroughly. This method should also help find any bugs ahead of time, as well as shorten the amount of time it takes the staff to learn, since they won’t be overwhelmed with the whole system at one time.

Gradual implementation also lets your association reduce the risk of drowning in a “software pool.” Like a trial, you get to try out the vendor and try out their solution before completely committing to changing your whole system. If you don’t like the solution, partially backtracking isn’t as difficult.

When procuring new software, you can discuss bringing it in gradually with the vendor. Check out our Software Procurement checklist to help you narrow down your list of association management or license management software fit for your College or association. Just click on the link in the image below!