Converting your core? Pay attention to change management

I’ve been a Cleveland Cavaliers fan for a long time, well before LeBron James joined the team – both times. I remember seeing Zydrunas Ilgauskas make his debut in 1997, back when the team played in Gund Arena. And I remember wondering what would happen after George Gund sold the team to Dan Gilbert and the arena changed its name to Quicken Loans. Would the team still be the Cavaliers? Would my favorite players still be there? Everything was changing, and I didn’t like it all.

Those memories bubbled up recently when we learned Quicken Loans Arena would become Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. What would this mean for the Cavs and all the other teams that make their home there? Was even more change coming?

Later we’d learn the name change simply coincides with the debut of the arena’s two-year renovation project.  But, still, it made me stop and think.

And that’s exactly what your employees and members will do when they first hear you’re undergoing a core conversion. They’ll wonder if the organization’s complementary applications, like your content services platform, will easily integrate with the new core. They’ll wonder if late nights reconfiguring solutions are in store. And, inevitably, someone will ask, “Should we talk with our solution vendors first?” (The answer, by the way, is yes.)

Change management eases any core conversion

No matter how well-architected your conversion blueprint or how long you’ve pre-planned, a core conversion frays nerves on every level of the organization. In a way, it’s like racing a car and deciding to change the engine in the middle of the competition. Will the car run right afterward? Will it be better? Or worse?

A smart change management plan is the best way to combat this same thinking among employees. Here’s where to start:

  • Find the perfect change agents

Change agents are your core conversion champions. They will help lead important projects and stick close to others, so it is vital that your champions stakeholders, strong communicators and have an uncanny ability to adapt to challenging situations and lead teams through them.

  • Communicate to everyone – and communicate often

Your CEO should deliver broad messages about the conversion to the entire company on a regular basis, change management experts suggest. Managers and supervisors should dig into the details with employees, fielding questions and finding answers.

  • Show employees how it’s relevant and why it’s desirable

The more everyone understands how the core conversion fuels the credit union’s long-term goals the better the process will be, even if it is a little rough. Outline to employees the challenges the credit union faces without making the change and how the conversion helps the credit union overcome those challenges. If possible, include how employees’ work lives will change for the better, too.

  • Recruit outside champions

Vendors who know their software solution can easily and seamlessly integrate with the new core can ease fears by showing staff how they have integrated with the core in the past. Whether you have already partnered with the vendor or are searching for new partners and solutions to implement soon after or alongside the core conversion, this third-party validation can go a long way to easing concerns and answering questions.

  • Don’t stop communicating after the conversion goes live

Make sure you continue to provide updates on the conversion as it gradually becomes part of everyday life. Share both disappointments and successes and regularly request feedback from employees.

Don’t forget your other business processes

Before we wrap up, here’s another thing to consider. As you start to undertake the project, don’t forget that they often consume a ton of time and resources.  Be wary of the ripple effect the project has on surrounding business processes and applications.  Make sure you understand the effort required to optimize and integrate with all ancillary systems and budget the appropriate amount of time and resources.

Remember that vendors like Hyland are more than happy to share best practices and provide support during the conversion process. Our team is committed to helping you leverage your data-driven technology to best serve your members, now and into the future. Make sure other technology vendors feel the same way and can back it up with world-class training and support.

Steve Comer

Steve Comer

Steve Comer, Director of the Financial Services industry at Hyland Software. For the past 13+ years, Steve has been dedicated to helping the financial services industry transform their business through ... Web: Details