Implementing a new contact center platform is truly something that can make or break your career. If you launch the right platform, you’re a hero – you save the company money, improve customer satisfaction, and give your organization a competitive advantage. But if you purchase the wrong platform, or the implementation goes sideways, the consequences can be dire.

In our experience, there is one key area that is crucial to an implementation’s success: The transition from “sales” to “implementation”. During this period, ownership of the project changes from the buying committee to the implementation team. Likewise, your vendor team changes up after contract signature. Frequently, key information is lost in the handoff from one team to another. This can lead to key business goals getting ignored, timelines getting delayed, or designs getting changed up.

70% of software implementations fail, and we believe that a large portion of CCaaS implementations are doomed from the start because of poor transitions from sales to implementation.

Here are 6 steps you need to take before contract signature if you want your contact center migration to succeed:

1. Finalize Your Product Configuration

Make sure you document every aspect of your solution’s architecture, integrations, and configuration before you start the implementation. And then, make sure everyone who will be involved in the implementation is on the same page about the design of what they’re implementing. Making sure everyone works toward the same goal helps ensure your project stays on track.

Inevitably, you’ll have changes to your design as you progress through the implementation. But making these changes is easier when you have a documented starting point that everyone is working from. Designing the tool before you start implementing is key to a successful implementation.

2. Confirm your Business Requirements

Everyone on the buying committee knows your business requirements. But do the people on your implementation team know the business requirements? As Rich Mozak says (link to Catalyst club ep), everyone on your team should be able to state the top 3 goals of your technology purchase. It’s like an elevator pitch. You need to make sure your implementation team understands why you’re undertaking such a big project.

Making sure everyone knows the point of your project ensures that your business objectives are met. Your goals serve as a lodestar, guiding your implementation to success. If changes come up, or risks jeopardize your project, you can find the best thing to do by asking yourself and your team: What do we need to do to meet our goals?

3. Create a Change Management Playbook

A large-scale implementation is going to necessarily cause a lot of change. It’s up to you to track those changes and communicate them to the right people. Before you start an implementation, make sure you agree on where you’ll document changes to your current environment, as well as who needs to know about these changes.

It’s also up to you to communicate upcoming testing, trainings, go-lives, and infrastructure changes to both your bosses and your employees. Define a communication plan for these changes: What rolls up to the C-suite? What changes are so small that no one needs to hear about them?

4. Document Your Future State Operating Model

Buying technology is one thing. But figuring out how people are going to use it? That’s a whole other beast entirely. Before you start on the implementation, understand how this new tool will exist in your future state environment. How will people’s roles change, and what business processes will be affected? When documenting your new future state, think about the following:

  • Platform Administration – Who will be responsible for product upgrades and platform management? How will this affect their current responsibility?
  • New Supervisor and Agent Onboarding – How will you ensure new users get the right licenses, hardware, and training they need to successfully use your new tool?
  • Integrations – Who will be responsible for overseeing and troubleshooting integrations going forward?
  • New IT Help Desk Ticket Flow and Responsibilities – How will users report issues or request support? Who will respond to these tickets?
  • Reporting – Where will the reporting and data from your new tool go? Who will be responsible for analyzing this data?

5. Detail Your Implementation Timeline

Creating an implementation timeline is a lot harder than just saying “We want it up and running in six months.” You need to work backward from the answer, letting your goal go-live date dictate when you need to complete the other steps of the project. Work with your vendor team to understand what steps are needed for implementation, and make sure each step has a realistic date that helps you meet your goal.

Additionally, work with your implementation resources to understand any risks and issues that could affect your go-live date. Does your company have strict rules about when changes can be made? Are there other projects that might siphon away resources? What happens if you miss your desired go-live date? Get as much info as possible when crafting your project timeline.