Implementation: The Final Frontier

Why partnership is key to a successful software implementation and how AgentSync’s proven methods yield results for customers

You’ve done your research. You’ve watched the demos. You’ve gotten buy-in from leadership. You’ve talked budget. You’re on the verge of signing on the dotted line for a new compliance management platform.

And that’s when you realize what you’re really in for, and a sense of overwhelm sets in as you wonder how you’re going to accomplish something so ambitious in such a short timeframe. This is usually when all the fancy talk fades away and you’re left with a stark reality: Implementation is the vital step that no one talked about or planned for.

This is how it often goes, and customers are understandably disappointed to find the solution they’ve dreamt about is stalled somewhere on the road to going live, and the value they hoped for will be delayed, if not entirely unrealized.

Implementation problems can take many forms, and commonly include:

  • Protracted timelines
  • Mismatched expectations about what the product can (or can’t) do
  • Unclear roles and responsibilities on both the vendor and customer sides
  • Lack of internal alignment and competing priorities on the customer side
  • No clear decision maker to break ties and set the direction when needed
  • Insufficient customer change management processes
  • Lack of clear direction and support from the service provider

Because these issues are so common, the best implementation processes address them proactively with the goal of preventing them before they occur. At AgentSync, we’ve put a lot of thought into creating a delivery system that successfully gets our customers live, and realizing value, with the fewest number of roadblocks along the way.

When you think about the entire software purchasing process, implementation is a differentiator you shouldn’t ignore. No solution, no matter how great it promises to be, can deliver value to your business until it’s up and running. So, if implementation is a drawn-out, painful experience that deters user adoption and leaves staff with a bad taste in their mouths, you risk the long-term results of your investment.

How AgentSync approaches product delivery

“The team at AgentSync did a phenomenal job of working with our team and working within our processes and how we do implementations here. Their communication was spot on, and they understood the business. We’ve worked with vendors in the past that don’t actually understand our business and that can be really challenging.”

Our Professional Services team prides itself on being nimble and flexible, ready and able to meet a variety of customer needs – particularly those that come up on the fly. We couldn’t do this, however, without a solid process foundation that sets everyone up for success.

While every implementation is unique, we focus on sticking to our proven framework for a successful delivery. The following steps form the basis of our acclaimed Professional Services team’s impressive results. 

Project scope and success metrics

Before we begin, our team works with stakeholders across the customer’s business to determine success criteria, to clarify success metrics, and to define the scope of the implementation.

Some of the most common success criteria we see include:

  • Reducing compliance risk
  • Improving brand reputation and employee/producer experience
  • Integrated and automated workflows

Once we’ve identified the success criteria, we work alongside customers to define the precise metrics that indicate a successful outcome. Finally, we define the scope of the implementation in quantifiable terms. From the number of persona types and their access levels to the number of automated workflows and customized reports. By the end of this exercise, everyone has a clear understanding of exactly what success will look like and how we’ll achieve it together.

Our approach to delivery

Delivering a successful product doesn’t happen by chance. We systematically move through three phases, starting with Planning & Analysis, and continuing through Design & Implementation, and finally Validation & Deployment.

Throughout the entire process, we follow the same guiding principles:

Listen first: We seek to understand before being understood. No one knows your business like you do, and although our team is filled with insurance and technology experts, we still prioritize listening to customers’ needs before we take any action. 

Playback: We make sure our understanding of the customer’s situation is completely accurate. We don’t leave anything to chance or make assumptions. Before we go any further, we ensure everyone’s on the same page.

Recommendations: At this stage, our expert team can really shine. Taking everything we’ve learned into consideration, we make recommendations about the best way to proceed to meet the customer’s objectives.

Prioritization & alignment: If everything is a top priority, then nothing truly is. Before going any further, we work with the customer’s team to prioritize and align on next steps.

Collaboration: As our Professional Services team takes the reins and starts to move the implementation project forward, constant collaboration with the customer stakeholders is vital. We never work in a vacuum. Ongoing communication and input from all sides is one of our biggest differentiating factors.

Transparency: Sometimes technology doesn’t perform exactly how you expect. We won’t sugarcoat it: Transparent communication and accountability are non-negotiable if you want a successful partnership and, ultimately, a successful product delivery.

Setting project lifecycle expectations

Having a clear roadmap to our shared end goal is paramount. We provide customers with a detailed view of what their implementation project will look like, from kickoff to post-implementation support.

Areas we cover during this stage include:

  • Kickoff meeting: This is where we meet the team, align on scope, talk about what to expect, how much time each team and team member will need to commit, and much more.
  • Discovery workshops: These can include an end-to-end walkthrough, a deep dive into customer use cases, learning customer requirements, data mapping, and creating wireframes.
  • Setting milestones: Our Professional Services team works closely with each customer stakeholder to define and quantify delivery milestones and timelines.
  • Establishing governance: Setting up strategic oversight and well-defined procedures.
  • Defining ‌meeting cadence and ways of working: How often and with whom meetings need to occur, and setting up asynchronous communication and collaboration tools like Slack, Smartsheet, Lucid, and Box.
  • Resource planning: We explicitly define which teams and team members are responsible for each part of the process, and how many resources need to be allocated.

Customer Success, support, and tools

A successful implementation doesn’t end the day you go live. AgentSync prides itself on an extensive support system for customers at every stage of their journey. Your Professional Services team is your primary point of contact during the delivery process, and you’ve always got access to a variety of other people and resources, including a Customer Success Manager (CSM) throughout your entire relationship with AgentSync.

Once you’re up and running with AgentSync at your insurance business, you can take advantage of these support tools:

Other keys to successful AgentSync implementation

Our implementation framework has proven time and again to get customers live, using the product, and realizing value in a fraction of the time of other tech implementations. We’ve also noticed a few other hallmarks of the most successful implementation experiences.

  1. Embrace the idea of true digital transformation. The solution you’re purchasing isn’t just a way to plug a software into the same methods you’ve always used.
  2. Understand what you’ve bought and what it does. Ideally, understanding what the product does, and determining if its functionality aligns with your needs, is something you do before you make a purchasing decision. But, at the very least, make sure you’re heading into implementation with a solid understanding.
  3. Come to the table ready for a true partnership. As amazing as our team is, we rely on the customer to be an engaged and active participant in their success.
  4. Own and understand your data. This also includes making sure it’s clean and prepared for use in a new system. This may be one of the most important steps you can take to ensure success with any technology. It’s often daunting, but we can’t overstate its importance.
  5. Understand the complexity of your project and have realistic expectations. Sometimes adopting AgentSync is a standalone project and can be implemented in just a few months. Other times, it’s part of a larger initiative, such as adding or replacing a policy admin system. If that’s the case, timelines will naturally be longer and it’s important to understand your project’s complexity and how that impacts your process.

“The IT and Project Management folks can be the toughest to get on board with new implementations; and this was an experience that brought those folks into the fold in a way that was a true partnership. It was something unlike what I’ve seen before from other vendors. Our Project Management team thinks AgentSync set the gold standard for implementations and if every project went like this, it would be perfect. So our leadership has been very happy with the outcome.”

Implementation matters

If you’re considering an insurance compliance management solution, then you’ve got a tech implementation project in your future. Hopefully, we’ve made the case for why a great delivery experience is as important (if not more so!) than the product you choose.

After all, even the best product won’t solve your problems if it never gets up and running the way you intended. At AgentSync, we deliver the most modern and automated license compliance solution in a way that leads our customers to realize value and success beyond their expectations.

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