Introducing a new system like royalty management software into a business can feel daunting. Leaders may be discouraged by the cost, while team members may be anxious that implementation will disrupt their day-to-day activities. This is perfectly understandable, because change of any kind can be challenging.
However, with careful preparation and good support, integration can be easier than some think. Here are seven top tips for taking the stress out of implementation and ensuring that your new system makes your royalty practices easier, faster and better.
1 Find a good partner
Smooth implementation starts with identifying the right partner to work with. As with any investment, thoroughly research your options before choosing the one that’s right for you. Ask for references and gather recommendations from other publishers – especially those of a similar size. Your partner should take time to understand your business, be committed to your success, and see your deadlines as theirs too. As well as trusting a business, it’s important to trust its people. Get to know the team you’ll be working with, and decide whether you can establish a good long-term partnership.
2 Plan carefully
Time spent planning the implementation of new royalty management solutions always pays off further down the line. Set your deadlines and establish a schedule that works for you rather than your systems provider. Your partner should be able to provide detailed schedules with steps and deadlines that have been proven to work on other projects. MetaComet’s MetaGoLive process is an example of a reliable and tested process that guides publishers through every stage of migrating to a new royalty management platform.
3 Set a go-live royalty period
Plan backward from the royalty period for which you want to run your first set of calculations and distributions. Setting a target focuses everyone’s minds on what needs to be achieved. Remember that you have until the statements are due to go live, rather than the end date of the royalty period. However, you should aim to have your statements ready to go three or four weeks before they are due, to allow for any delays or checking.
4 Communicate with your authors…
Keep your authors informed about your changes to royalty management practices. Focus on the benefits and explain how your new system will improve things from their perspective; for example, MetaComet’s solutions can provide them with greater transparency and easier access to the data they are interested in. Provide some example statements so they can visualise what they are going to get.
5 …but don’t over-promise
While keeping authors up to speed, avoid making any firm commitments until you are confident you can keep them. There is no need to promise a go-live date until a few weeks out, and if you try to set any timeframes earlier in the implementation process, you may be forced to push them back.
6 Test with parallel runs
Before you go live, run tests on your new system in parallel with your previous way of calculating royalties. With a good system and support, it should be easy to run your data from prior royalty periods and identify any discrepancies – and depending on your previous methods, they may be substantial. You can then make any necessary adjustments before testing again, giving you confidence about accuracy when you go live.
7 Have some contingency plans
If your implementation timeframe slips and your royalty due date is looming, or if you need more time to test, you need a Plan B. Be ready to revert to your previous methods of distributing royalties to ensure you don’t disrupt payments to authors. In the event that you do face a delay in royalty distributions, have some plans in place for how you will explain the situation to your authors. They may be frustrated, but honest and open communications go a long way toward easing their concerns.
David Marlin is co-founder and President of MetaComet® Systems, a leading provider of royalty management and revenue sharing solutions. To learn more about how its systems can automate publishers’ processes, save time, improve accuracy and reduce risk, click here.
David and the MetaComet® Systems team would love to hear your views on how to implement new systems with minimum disruption. Share your thoughts in the comments below.