Going through a management system conversion can be a trying time. Much is riding on your data’s safe arrival, and the process can be stressful. Unfortunately, some agencies overlook conversion history when seeking a new provider. For those agencies, once conversion starts they wonder if it’s all worth it.
I’m here to tell you conversion can and should be relatively stress-free – if done right.
In my role as Manager of Conversion and Implementations at SIS, I’ve personally helped hundreds of agencies through a positive conversion process. And I’ve heard horror stories of conversions gone wrong with other providers. In my experience, the success of conversion depends on what the agency puts in and the experience and expertise of the new provider. Too often agencies come at conversion with dread and anxiety. These feelings are heightened when a provider expects the agency to do the brunt of the conversion work.
It doesn’t have to be this way! Let’s start off by looking at “the good” in the agency conversion process.
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The Good: A Fresh Start
Converting to a new management system is a little like moving: there’s lots to be done, but you get a chance to start fresh. Think of your conversion as “spring cleaning” for your agency. Often some of the positive outcomes of a change include:
- Getting all team members on the same page: No more confusion about best practices and most efficient paths. Each employee will be trained to know the system in the same way.
- Improving workflows: This is your chance to reevaluate your current workflows and processes, establishing the best methods with your new system.
- Cleaning up your data: Take the time to rid your agency of duplications and old policy data. Start off fresh, and set up regular check-ins to keep your data clean.
The keys to harnessing “the good” of agency conversion are communication and planning. Consult with your team before the conversion starts so you’re on the same page. Create a plan together and you’ll be more likely to stick to it.
The Bad: Accounting Conversion
The bad news of conversion is some items will not carry over automatically. One item that stands out is accounting data. But, it’s not all bad. As with the rest of conversion, your agency gets a fresh start with accounting. It’s a great opportunity to:
- Clean up unwanted accounts and hit the re-set on data entry
- Determine how checks and invoices will look on the new system
- Hone how to set up employees and commission
It’s not often you get this chance to clean house and start anew. Take full advantage of this opportunity to establish and maintain accurate accounting records.
Find out how to get your agency finances in order
The Ugly: Agencies Bearing the Burden
I wish I didn’t need to mention “the ugly.” But, I still hear stories from agencies going through this every day. Some management system providers don’t do a full data conversion, instead offering only an initial load (i-Load). This means only carriers that download are added to your system. In our opinion, this shouldn’t be considered a conversion at all. Agencies get stuck doing the bulk of the work, of manually moving all of the items not included in a download. That can be a big mountain to climb
And unfortunately, it can get worse. Some providers make agencies do the painful task of importing data themselves. Agencies have to put all client and policy information in Excel and import into their new management system. In this case, you shouldn’t even pay for the conversion – you’ve done it all yourself! The results of such “self-conversions” are disastrous at worst and extremely time consuming at best. The whole process typically takes months of work for an agency.
Get tips on vetting potential providers to ensure a positive conversion
The Key: Get More than Just a Provider
So, how do you guarantee you get only the good in the conversion process? The key is finding more than a provider, but a partner. That’s our goal at SIS. Our experienced team works with and for our clients through the conversion process, staying connected throughout and providing continual support after go-live.
With over 500 agency management system transitions and counting, we’re comfortable with the process and pass that serenity on to our clients.