It is perhaps natural to have a certain amount of fear and consternation when pondering the switchover of any software solution that is in daily use by multiple users. Fear of being held accountable for any glitches or problems by users, or worse still, by senior management. Fear of not having enough time to manage the transition alongside daily tasks, of not having the right level of vendor support – the list could go on and on. But switching your PDF software provider doesn’t have to be a difficult and painful process, and these seven simple steps can help ease you through it.
1. Engage executive support
In some companies, whether smaller and more informal or large and spread out, there may be the temptation to ‘go rogue’ and carry out a software switch outside of ‘official channels’. And this approach might work fine if everything goes off without a hitch, but what if something goes wrong? To prevent these kinds of potentially catastrophic embarrassments, it’s always best to ensure that you have the consent of your firm’s CEO and director before going ahead with the software switch.
2. Be aware of your current contract status
Before you switch software of any kind, it is absolutely imperative that you check on your commitments with your current software provider. It will do little good switching to a more efficient or cost-effective PDF software solution if you still have to continue your current subscription and effectively end up paying double.
When choosing your new software license, it’s also worth exploring PDF solutions that don’t use a monthly or annual subscription model.
3. Test the software before you commit to it
Many enterprise IT buyers have nightmarish stories to tell about how they took the plunge and made a software switch, only to find that the new solution that they had pinned all their hopes on wasn’t all that they thought it would be. Worse still, in some cases, the software can lack the actual functionality that employees need to get the job done, or the processes used can be cumbersome and time-consuming.
The best way to avoid this pitfall is to find a PDF software package that offers a free trial before you commit to purchasing.
4. Prepare a change management plan
‘Be prepared’ isn’t just a good motto for the scouts, but also for IT professionals dealing with a software switch. Creating a detailed change management plan is the best way to ensure that this is the case. This should include things like the roles and responsibilities of team members in managing the change, the number of users affected, any potential issues that might arise, and a proposed installation schedule.
5. Save all your work on an external drive
It’s unlikely that a software switch will result in the loss of data, but it’s always best to be safe than sorry, and by backing up all necessary data on an additional drive or in the cloud, you can rest a little easier at night.
6. Ensure compatibility with previous software
One major factor to consider during a software switch is how well the new solution integrates with existing workflows and historical records or data. When choosing a new PDF editing package it’s best to go with one that is 100% compatible with Adobe Acrobat and other popular PDF applications.
This is of particular importance where PDF files with passwords and encryption are concerned – great care should be taken to ensure that the same security features are supported to avoid being locked out of existing PDFs.
7. Provide training and support
A software switch of any kind can be stressful and frustrating for anyone if they don’t understand the new software. Schedule a few hours to train staff prior to the switch, and continue to provide support as they grow used to the new software. It’s also wise to choose simple yet powerful software that has a small learning curve.
Switching from one PDF software provider doesn’t have to be difficult. One final tip is to choose a simple volume license which allows you manage all users with a single license. Doing so will not only help you avoid complicated license renewal but also help ensure that all users have access to the same functionality.