We have all been there; changing a system from one vendor to the next can bring up haunting memories (for some) of a long drawn out process that can take weeks. Knowing that another provider can deliver results faster, more effectively, but being stuck with a current provider can be frustrating.
However when done in co-operation with the correct companies, changing providers for your integrated marketing services can be easily managed. As Peter Levine talked about in this recent interview the reason why this is happening is largely to do with the move companies are taking from on-premise data applications to the same services now running in the cloud. Frustrations can now be eliminated faster than you ever dreamed possible by simple processes.
With the following few points you can be up running with no downtime when changing an application provider:
Timing - To guarantee that you have no down time you should carry on running with the existing provider while you are in the transition stage. The trap that most companies fall down into when changing providers of a database, or marketing application is knowing that they are upgrading to a better service and cancelling the contract with the existing provider prematurely. This can leave you with a massive rush to get everything set up and a loss of data.
User set up - If you're working with multiple users, suppliers and vendors who also need to access the software to keep your business thriving then you will need an efficient way to transfer these from the existing set up to the new one (that’s the easy part) then you will need company buy-in (the harder part). The biggest secret here is nothing to do with you, it is to do with selecting the right product. There is only so far you can tell people who use your product to carry on using it. The biggest trick in the book is to look for software that is intuitive, when the software is intuitive not only will everyone buy in but having it become a pleasure to use.
Transferring key information - When you are moving providers it can feel like you are starting completely afresh. One of the things that holds companies back when they are thinking about changing providers is the thought that all of the important data that gives critical insights and is used to make crucial decisions for your business is going to be lost. When you change a platform you need to make sure that all the data and KPI’s you have stored in the existing system, will come over to the new system and be ready to be updated with the new data you will be running through it. It's important to remember why you are moving providers at this stage, it will most likely be something like increased reporting functionality, or usability. This is actually the great thing, you may be able to get even greater insights in to your existing data once it's within the new system that could lead to better decisions and greater performance.
The biggest obstacle you will face when either moving up to a SaaS database platform, or changing a current SaaS solution providers is always: ‘but this is the way we have always done things’. Many companies have ended up in the graveyard from being inept to change, and not changing solution provider for your database marketing activity can have as much impact as any other 'change delay' based decision. Paul Graham of Y-combinator wrote an insane article on this topic that covers all the bases, and is a daring reminder that the pain of changing now will be eclipsed by the pain of being forced to changing in the future.
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