Best Practices for Switching Agenda Management Systems
Moving from a manual agenda process to an automated agenda management system is relatively easy. However, moving from one automated agenda management system to another takes a few extra steps. You want to make sure that you don’t lose everything that was created in your old system as that information needs to be available in your new system.
Below are some steps to take to ensure that your transition goes smoothly.
Decide What Data You Want to Migrate
First and foremost, you’ll want to decide what information from the old system will be available in your new system. At a minimum, you should migrate all agendas, agenda packets, and minutes. If your agenda management system also tracks your public meeting voting, you should certainly plan to migrate the voting records as well. Beyond these key items, assess the benefit versus the cost to migrate additional data. For example, do you really need the workflow approval history for an agenda item that was included in a meeting ten years ago? If so, plan to migrate that data. If it will not provide you value, you can avoid this type of data.
Get Your Data
It is very important to check your agreement with your old provider to see your rights around getting your data out of their system. Many providers do not have provisions in their agreements to protect you. If there is not a specific clause in their agreement that states they need to provide you with a data export, make sure to export any data that you need BEFORE you cancel the agreement. This will certainly make the process much smoother and you’ll likely avoid additional costs from your old vendor. However, if your old system doesn’t have a simple way to export data, you’ll have to be proactive and work with the vendor to devise a plan to export your data.
Negotiate Your New Vendor Agreement
Don’t make the same mistakes with your new agreement that you did with your old agreement. Make sure everything about the migration process is included. For example, be specific about what information the new vendor is responsible for migrating. Simply stating “the vendor will migrate data from the old system…” is not enough. The agreement should state something along the lines of: “The vendor will migrate the agenda, agenda packet, and minutes document from 1,276 meetings stored in the current system to the new system. The meeting documents will be provided to the vendor in PDF format.”
Additionally, make sure that you have a clause in your new vendor agreement that requires them to provide a full export of your data should you ever decide to leave them (terminate the agreement). You’ll want to negotiate this up-front as the vendor will likely include it for free as they want your business. If you don’t they will probably try to charge you a large fee to migrate the data because they don’t want to lose your business down the road.
Next time you change your meeting and agenda management vendor, avoid headaches by following these guidelines.