April 03 2013

As an implementation manager for Patra, I’ve implemented more than 14 different services for over 10 clients over the last 3 years. While every implementation is unique, there are a number of challenges that all agencies face when adding Patra services. Some are organizational, some are personal. One blog post can’t address all of them, but I wanted to write this post to ease (some of) those fears.

Change is hard for all of us, and when it happens in a professional setting, it can generate fear. “What’s going to happen to me? Why are we making these changes? What was wrong with the old way?” Specific to the agency world, the questions I hear are: “Will the new process be too cumbersome? Will it take up too much of my valuable processing time? Will there be errors?” The most important question is often, “Will I lose control of my work?”

It’s normal to hear these and other questions before nearly all implementations. The best part of my job is revisiting folks and finding out their initial anxieties had been alleviated pretty quickly. “Now, I am the account manager I always knew I could be,” is what I often hear.

Seeing is believing, but before we can see, there must be trust. The most important tool in ANY implementation is communication – two-way communication, that is. We must communicate to the agency everything that will happen at every step in the process and it’s equally important for everyone involved to be encouraged to ask questions.

Following are four tips to prepare for an upcoming implementation:

  • Review your internal workflows so you know exactly how your team members process the work that Patra will be doing for you. Know these processes inside-out and understand where any current issues might exist. It might be advantageous for you to meet with key team members to go over these items.  If you don’t have written internal workflows, you will want to ask teams how they process items prior to the Patra visit.
  • If your Patra Implementation Manager sends you workflows prior to your implementation, review those as well to see how your internal workflows will fit in and how your staff’s jobs will change.
  • Make sure your IT people are involved from the get-go.  Not having buy-in, cooperation and support from IT is one of the most common causes of a delay in going live.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions prior to your Implementation.  Your Implementation Manager will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the process – it’s why we’re here!

I hope these tips help ease some implementation anxiety.  As always, please feel free to contact Sales or your Implementation Manager with any questions you have.  We’re here to make this as efficient, painless and SUCCESSFUL as possible.

Elizabeth McCormick is a Manager of Client Services and has worked for Patra for over 3 years.  She has 11 years of insurance experience and worked at an independent agency prior to moving to Patra.  She lives in San Francisco with her husband and dog and enjoys camping, cycling, reading and spending time with her family.