Making the Most of Your Onboarding Process
Your team has identified a product that will suit its needs and save administrators valuable time. You have thoroughly investigated its capabilities through demos and conversations with members of the vendor’s sales and engineering teams. The contract is signed and invoice is paid. So now what?
The official onboarding and implementation process usually begins with a definitive transition from the sales team to client services during a kickoff call or meeting. Depending on the complexity of the product and your internal processes, you’ll want to assemble a team that works collaboratively with the vendor to transition to the new system efficiently.
Who is involved?
Vendor’s implementation specialist - Your primary point of contact during the onboarding and training process.
Administrators - The “power users” who will be using the system on a daily basis. Their individual system permissions may vary, but they should all weigh in on site set up and attend training.
End users - Friendly applicants and reviewers who will log in and complete specific tasks. Though they often aren’t a part of the formal implementation team, it is important to consult them on an ongoing basis for feedback. They can also be valuable initial testers of new systems and processes.
Tips to Maximize Efficiency
Designate a point person. Even if many people will be involved with the internal decision-making process, have one person be the communicator with your implementation specialist. Depending on how your institution is organized, this person might even come from a project management unit.
Choose the right team. The people who will be using the product on a regular basis should be the most involved in the implementation.
Delegate accordingly. That being said, connect your implementation specialist with colleagues as needed. For example, a marketing specialist may need to provide branding guidelines and logos to ensure the site branding is consistent with the rest of your institution’s online presence.
Have a shared (online) space. Use a Google doc or other online tracking tool(s) to track progress. This may be provided by your implementation specialist, or you can create an internal version. The shared online space prevents many version control issues and improves collaboration.
Start simple. There will probably be easier items on your onboarding to-do list, like identifying internal team members. Complete these items first to keep the process moving towards your goal of launching the site.
Questions to Ask Your Implementation Specialist
What are ongoing support options? After the formal onboarding is complete, you will still have questions, and your end users may also need assistance. Find out the best way to contact the vendor’s support team, and then share this information widely with your audience.
Who will be my primary point of contact, post-implementation? This is usually an account manager, who may schedule periodic meetings with you to make sure everything is going smoothly.
What is the process for requesting product enhancements or new features? You’ll want to know how to share feedback with the vendor as you utilize the new system and get cursory knowledge of system maintenance and update practices.
How have other clients approached this? As you work through the various onboarding items, ask your implementation specialist to share best practices from other clients. Other administrators who are more experienced with the product can be a great resource for those just starting. Don’t forget to ask whether there are user forums or hosted webinars. These options are a great place to learn from others and potentially identify additional uses for the system.
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