< Part 5: Getting Buy-in to Your PMS Migration

This is Part 6 of the “Migrating Practice Management Software Successfully” series. See all articles in the series here.

Part 6: Getting the Timing of the Migration Right

Migrating between PMS is rarely a simple switch from one to another at a given point in time, unless you have little or no data in the old PMS the process will be more of a transition with various phases over an extended period.


When to export your data from the old PMS?

You should export as soon as possible, mostly because you will need at least one trial run of a full data export before the final go-live export. As mentioned above the exported data is often formatted differently or has dependencies that do not map to the new PMS. For the final Go Live export, you will want data that is as up to date as possible, if your final export is the first attempt you might find surprises that derail your migration.


When to enable the new PMS?

As soon as you have decided your preferred new PMS start using it straight away. With, most PMS’s you can create a trial account configured with Add-ons enabled without having to pay subscription fees until you are ready to go live.


When to conduct training for the new PMS?

Giving all users access to the new PMS as soon as possible is ideal. Users in large practices with complex workflows will need more time to familiarise themselves with new workflows; change is hard do not underestimate the resistance to change. Remember to focus on the reasons why the change is necessary and give people time to get comfortable with the new PMS. My experience has been that users need one to three weeks of using the new PMS to build confidence, so give them access to a training version with some dummy data, relative to your practice, early and set tasks for each user to complete. Doing this early in the process will build confidence in your team and mitigate the chance of users getting cold feet and feeling pushed into the change rather than welcoming it.


When is a good time to stop using the old PMS?

An ideal time to stop using the old PMS and go live with the new one is at the end of an accounting period. Doing so will reduce complications from having to reconcile payments, stock, banking and BAS part way through an accounting period. If your migration is near the end of the financial year it may be worth timing your migration, Go Live date as 1 July.

Successful migrations tend to be ones that start using their new PMS in parallel with their old PMS at least a week or two before the go-live date. Yes, this does mean double entry into both systems for a short period, but it is short-term pain for long-term gains. Being able to run a report in your old PMS for an entire date period or billing cycle or having future client creation and appointment dates already entered into the new PMS will be well worth it later when you’re attempting to stitch together bits of information from both PMS’s rather than using one.