Few things in life can be as terrifying as change. Joseph Burgo, PhD,  highlights why change is so fearful:

“While most of us want positive change, we also know that giving up the status quo means confronting the unfamiliar and all the unknown feelings that might arise. There’s no guarantee that change will be for the better; you don’t know for sure how you’re going to feel when your world changes. For this reason, many people have a strong fear of change; they cling to the familiar, even if it’s not especially satisfying.”

While that fear may be especially common among many, it can also invade the corporate world, leading to a culture of stagnation. This is especially true in the area of time tracking and project management. Companies may be slow to adopt time tracking software or, even more commonly, may be slow to migrate to a superior application, or a newer version of the current software, long after the limitations of the existing solution are painfully evident.

What can help alleviate this? Luckily there are a number of steps that will help make it easier.

Understand Your Needs and Educate Others

One of the most important steps in alleviating migration from one time tracking solution to another is to clearly understand exactly why such a change is needed. Conversely, nothing can undermine such a migration as an inability to explain why it’s necessary.

To accomplish this, have clearly in mind what the company and its employees have to gain from a switch. What features does this new program have that the previous one does not? In what ways will it make time tracking easier for your employees? Is it easier to enter their time? Does the new software have better options for remote workers? Does the new software have better management or expense tracking features for your accounting personnel?

Once you clearly understand why the upgrade/migration is necessary, take time to educate others. Make sure managers and supervisors understand, send out a company-wide email, have a brochure created to highlight the benefits—do whatever it takes to make sure everyone understands exactly why the migration is occurring. Once individuals understand the benefits, especially the benefits to them, their support can go a long way toward making a software migration go as smooth as possible.

Take the Lead

An often overlooked step in easing software migration is the example you set as owner, manager or supervisor. It’s not enough to simply know why a migration is necessary, or even to be able to explain it to others. You must show by example why it’s necessary.

For example, in an article we wrote for Small Business Trends, we highlighted some of the benefits of setting the right example:

“If the owner or executive of a company sets the lead in tracking his or her own time, it can be a powerful motivator toward helping employees to do the same and overcome the negative stigma time tracking can sometimes have.

As with anything, the success of accurate time tracking on a company-wide basis depends largely on the example that you, the owner or executive, sets. By establishing time tracking as something equally important for management and employees alike, you can help your company be more profitable, help your employees to become personally invested in the company and help yourself to be even more productive.”

While that article was about time tracking in general, the principle applies even more when asking individuals to change from something they may have spent years using and becoming comfortable with.

Choose Your Application Wisely

From a practical standpoint, one major impact on the ease or difficulty in migrating applications is choosing wisely when selecting an application. Does the application you’re evaluating integrate well with other industry-standard apps such as QuickBooks or Oracle? Does it use industry-standard formats? Can it export data in formats that are widely used and supported?

The answers to those questions may determine, to a large degree, whether your migration will be easy or difficult, and all the same, worth it.

Without a doubt, any software migration can be an arduous process, and even more-so with an application as integral as the one your company relies on for time tracking. By understanding why a migration is necessary, educating others, taking the lead and choosing software that abides by industry standards, you can go a long way toward alleviating fear of change and paving the way for a smooth migration.