I was talking to the CEO of a Technology Solution Provider/MSP and he admitted he was very unhappy with his current PSA/Business software. The software was slow, cumbersome to use and support was infuriating and he was constantly barraged with high pressure sales tactics to buy add-ons when he wasn’t even sure if they were getting good value out of their current PSA/Business software investment.

The CEO’s initial feedback was: “…, we’d love to make a change, but it’s such a pain to switch that I don’t think the business would tolerate it.”

So what’s really involved in switching business PSA/Business software?  Not the ideal picture painted by some software vendors about how painless and clean and tidy the whole process will be, but instead, what’s the real world, in the trenches realistic effort involved in changing business software?

Whether you’re unhappy with your current PSA/Business software, or whether you’re considering moving to new business software from an existing “frankensteined” patchwork of standalone software,  here are some real-world questions to ask before you consider making a switch:

Real-world questions need Real-world answers:

1) How disruptive will this be to the business?

2) My team is already busy. How much of their time will be required to make the transition?

3) We spent a lot of time mapping our business processes to the existing software, is there any way to avoid the pain of having to do it all over again?

4) How much of my legacy data can I realistically expect to transition to the new software?

5) How long will this really take?

Real-world answers

So the unvarnished truth is, there’s never an ideal time to change business software.  And the busier your team is, the more your business grows, the more you need better business software to help your team become more efficient and effective, but the less time they’ll have to devote to implementing and learning the new software.

The problem is, if you do nothing, there eventually comes a tipping point, and that’s when you start a) losing customers, b) losing money, c) losing talented employees, and that’s an even worse time to implement new business software.

The reality is, if your competition is using their business software strategically, they’ll be able to quote more competitively, delivery more efficiently & profitably and provide a higher level of customer service than you can, no matter how hard working or motivated your team is (think of trying to beat a computer doing math calculations using a calculator.., you’re not going to win that battle no matter how hard you try.)

So what’s really involved in making a successful transition?

1) How disruptive will this be to the business?

Real-world answer: How disruptive the new business software implementation will be, is entirely dependent on how well planned and structured your implementation/conversion approach is.

Many companies make the mistake of viewing their new business software implementation as something that will be done ‘in addition’ to their teams current workload.  That’s impractical, unlikely to succeed and would likely be very disruptive to the business. Think of it this way, if your team was already fully booked implementing other customer projects, would you really  book another new customer project and expect your team to implement it ‘in their spare time’ and expect that project to be succeed? Of course not.  The practical approach is to treat the new business software implementation just like any other new customer project. Start with a defined scope, resource allocation, budget and time frame, balanced against other customer deliverables.  Promys has created a “Getting Started with new Business Software guide” to help walk customers through the 20 structured steps required to successfully implement new business software.

2) My team is already very busy. How much of their time will be required to make the transition?

Real-world answer: If you’re unsure if you have the resources available to make the transition successfully, then work with the software vendor to define EXACTLY what the resource loading on the customer side will be.

The good news is, that at least some of the PSA/Business software vendors will do most of the heavy lifting in terms of gathering requirements, configuring the software to your specific needs and training your end users, at a pretty reasonable price (some even offer fixed fee).  The software vendor should be able to tell you exactly how many hours of your teams time and which resources will be required to gather requirements, participate in training and testing.

Then you can make an informed decision about whether “now” is the right time to make your new business software transition, in the context of other customer commitments.

The most common mistake here, is to buy a block of hours from the software vendor (or worse yet just watch the software training videos), get generic training and be left to “figure it out” on your own, with no defined scope or time frame.

3) We spent a lot of time mapping our business processes to the existing software, is there any way to avoid the pain of having to do it all over again?

Real-world answer: The unfortunate truth is, many customers initially took the “figure it out on their own” approach to mapping their business processes to their current business software. Not only do they remember how incredibly painful that was, many will admit that although they figured something out that mostly works, they’re still not sure if the business process they decided on takes full advantage of their current software’s capabilities or not.

A better approach would be to let the software vendor interview senior department managers (Sales, Project Management, Help Desk, etc.,) to learn and document your current business processes.  But, BEFORE implementing those business processes in the new software, to have ‘best practice’ discussions with the software vendor about how to map your business processes to the take full advantage of the new software’s full capabilities.  Sometimes this will be handled by configuration options in the software, and sometimes you may want to consider altering you business processes slightly to take better advantage of your new software’s full capabilities.

Ideally the new software vendor should be leading those discussions, bringing best practices to the table along with their industry expertise.  This approach works a lot better with vertical software vendors who have vertical industry expertise, rather than horizontal software vendors where you’ll have to teach them about your business.

4) How much of my legacy data can I realistically expect to transition to the new software?

Real-world answer: So the good news is, the most important data you need to maintain as part of your business software transition, is probably already in your accounting system. Customers, Contacts, Invoices and ideally P.O.’s.  If you already have that data, although there may be a little searching to find it, then you can, a) Maintain a list of your customers and contacts, b) Trace which items or services were sold to which customers, c) Track warranty information, d) Make sure Customer invoices and Suppliers are paid.

Most new PSA/Operational Business software will then integrate with your legacy accounting system (Invoices, P.O.’s, Inventory Receipts, new Parts and new Customers) and the new data will be added to the historical accounting data as part of the integration going forward.

Realistically speaking, three year old operational data like Quotes, Help Desk Tickets or Projects don’t actually have much value, so the addtional cost of converting them is almost impossible to justify.

If you already RMM software, then most equipment/customer assets will already be logged in that system.  And that, combined with the items above, is really the “must have” foundation data you need to convert as part of a PSA/business software transition.

Three key points regarding data conversion:

i) Be prepared to leave some operational legacy data behind, the most important legacy data is already in your accounting system.

ii) Data to focus on importing/converting is: Customers & Contacts, Master Parts List, and if available Customer equipment/assets.

iii) Don’t get caught up in converting all the data electronically.  If it’s less than 100 records (active Managed Service/Service Contracts, open Quotes, Help Desk Tickets) just re-key them.

As part of the transition, close out as many items as you can in the old system and open anything new in the new system.

5) How long will this really take?

Real-world answer: The software vendor should provide an implementation/project schedule broken down into specific steps with the duration of each of those steps, along with customer and vendor resources required for each of those steps.  That template should then be customized based on customer feedback regarding resource availability, so that a specific target live date can agreed upon by both software vendor and customer.

Like any other project, stuff happens and some steps may take longer or shorter than anticipated, and the project calendar should be updated accordingly. But both customer and vendor should have agreed up front on a target live date and be working collaboratively to track the projects progress and ensure the target live date is achieved.


Transitioning to new business software is not something to be taken lightly.  It’s going to take some time, resources and attention to do it properly.

But just like any customer project, if it’s planned and structured properly (into easy to understand detailed steps), if the resource allocation is known and planned for in advance, if expectations are set properly and if the customer and software vendor work collaboratively towards a mutually agreed upon live date, then implementing new business software doesn’t have to be “such a pain” that it stops the business from making necessary changes to move the business forward.

Promys has created a “Getting Started with new Business Software guide” to help walk customers through the 20 structured steps required to successfully implement new business software. Our goal is to help customers understand what’s involved in transitioning business software in order to determine if “now” is the right time for them to make a change.


Click here to download the “Getting Started with new Business Software guide”

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