FAQ: Software Implementation, Digital Adoption, and Payments Software Vendors

January 5, 2022

Jen&Carmen_Implementation-min

Underwriters need the best software, but choosing the right tools is only the first step. You’ll achieve the maximum benefits only if your payments software vendor has a clear understanding of your business and digital adoption best practices.

Software implementation is often challenging, but the right vendor can make sure your implementation is successful. It’s also helpful to have a list of frequently asked questions like this one on hand to serve as a digital transformation guide.

We recently sat down with Carmen Thoms, Vice President of Customer Success, and Jennifer MacDonald, Customer Success Manager, to discuss the differences between a
good implementation and a great one, and the steps you can take to ensure your software implementation is as smooth as possible.


1. How long does it usually take to implement new software? What can a business do if it takes longer than expected?

 

Jennifer: There are three factors that have a significant impact on digital adoption and software implementation. The first consideration is the company’s goals. Implementations are most successful when the client takes advantage of agile deployment and concentrates on solving the 80%-plus use cases that can be solved instantaneously.

Second, you need to look at the complexity and scope of the software. If you’re implementing new software with a material impact on how you conduct business, you’ll need a dedicated project team and detailed roll-out plan. That team’s most important duty is preparing your organization for change. An organization that’s properly prepared can leverage the new software tools quickly and start using them to increase productivity almost immediately. Unprepared organizations may struggle for months or even years to get the full benefits of digital adoption.

Your payments software vendor is the third factor you need to consider. How experienced are they with your type of business? How many of their staff have successfully led implementations at companies like yours? Agreement Express is jam-packed with experts in the payments space, with more than 20 years of experience in onboarding clients.


Carmen:
I agree with Jennifer, but I’d like to add that when you’re creating a timeline, preparing and consulting with your vendor is key! Knowing your business and your pain points really helps us understand what the solution needs to look like. Understanding any additional third-party relationships and contracts in advance will reduce or eliminate bottlenecks when you’re ready to use those services.

Just to expand on what Jen said about preparing your team, we’ve noticed over the years that the teams that handle software implementation the best are the teams that are encouraged to talk about it, permitted to ask questions, and feel ready to make the switch. Make sure to prep your team for digital adoption and the transformative tech that’s coming down the pipeline. It’s easier to deal with resistance when you can show them the positive impact it will have on their daily lives.


2. In your view, what are the most important considerations before adopting new software?

 

Carmen: Know your goals and keep your eyes on the prize. Your team needs to understand exactly why you’re implementing new software and your reasons for choosing that payments software vendor.

Software implementation can sometimes feel like the world is changing beneath you. The more you prepare your team for that tectonic shift, the better they’ll be able to handle the bumps along the way. Learning curves during software implementation are often painful, but your team will benefit in the long term. Make sure they understand this and keep encouraging them well before the software implementation actually begins.


Jennifer:
In our experience, one of the best ways to do this is illustrate the value that digital adoption will bring to each team. People will relate much better to specific benefits rather than vague statements like “it’ll be good for the company.”

At Agreement Express, we thoroughly discuss all goals with your team ahead of time, and throughout the software implementation and onboarding processes. We check in frequently to make sure you’re meeting your digital adoption goals.


3. Fear of change may be the single biggest challenge when it comes to digital adoption and software implementation in the payments space. What are the best ways to overcome this fear of change?

 

Jennifer: Establish your goals, make sure they’re the right goals, and then stick to them. You must constantly restate the benefits of the change, so your team members know it’s worthwhile.

You can also share stories of previous changes at your company, and show the positive, verifiable outcomes that resulted. You don’t need to limit yourself to just your firm. Agreement Express has dozens of success stories we can share with you and your team members.


Carmen:
The single most important thing you can do is make change and digital adoption part of your company’s culture, if you haven’t already. Be proactive and provide a central place where team members can post questions and receive answers quickly. In addition, block out time for training and learning during the software implementation, and make sure your team members have goals tied to the benefits of using the new system. 


4. Some PayFacs may believe that it’s better to build their own system rather than work with an existing payments software vendor for their merchant onboarding and underwriting. What advantages does working with an established vendor like Agreement Express have over building their own system?

 

Carmen: People like the reliability of paper. They’re used to it and they know it works. But paper is, well…paper. It’s slow and inefficient. When payfacs build their own systems, they often try to recreate that paper system in digital form and they usually find that the new system they’ve built is just as cumbersome as the old one. They’re no further ahead, but they’ve also spent thousands of dollars and wasted a ton of personnel hours to build a system that doesn’t work very well.

Payfacs need a stable solution that others have already tested for them. That’s just one reason why going at it alone is not the right direction. You and your team need to focus on your core competencies and leave the technical research and development to people with expertise in those areas.


Jennifer:
Agreement Express is the expert in underwriting and merchant onboarding software. Our clients can focus on growing their business based on the products and services they’re selling, because we handle all software development. 


5. What value do clients see when they invest the time and money to undertake digital adoption? Basically, why should they automate their underwriting if what they’re doing now gets the job done?

 

Jennifer: You need to think about the long-term effects, not just what will happen in the next 90 days. When I wrote about the top five tips to get your team excited about digital adoption, I pointed out that you need to slow down now to speed up later.

You’re adopting new software and processes because you want to increase efficiency. You need to keep that top of mind as you move through the software implementation process. You’re slowing down in the present to ensure a faster and more efficient future.


Carmen:
One of the best ways to convince others at your organization is to pull statistics that show how long a specific workflow takes now, compared to what it could be with the right software tools after implementation. This will also help guide you in choosing the right solution. Depending on your situation, it may be best to go with a solution that’s a bit more “plug-and-play” and avoid over-engineering. Small teams may want to consider the shortest and simplest project. Regardless of the size of your company and what you’re trying to achieve, Agreement Express can help make sure your software implementation is the right size for your team.

 

Conclusion:

Successful software implementation is only possible with the right payments software vendor. The skilled team at Agreement Express eases the workload, because we know how to drive towards your key objectives and make sure it fits with your processes.

We’re partners, not just vendors. When it comes to software implementation, we help you understand the data you have, while providing risk insights and actionable advice. Contact us to see how our expert implementation team can help you today.