The unexpected departure of your ETO software administrator can dramatically affect how you use ETO software, you will need to act fast to pick up the pieces they left behind. This blog outlines 5 steps to help you deal with this sudden challenge!
First up, communicating the sudden departure of your ETO administrator to the rest of your staff is critical. This is because you will need help from your organisation’s entire team to fill the role of your ETO administrator.
So you need to communicate to your team that the transition means “all hands are on deck”. Explain that team members across the organisation may need to step into roles and responsibilities they aren’t used to in order to deal with the range of tasks that your ETO administrator would normally do, including:
- End-user support and Q&A
- Troubleshooting system errors
- Managing data quality
- Designing new features or capabilities
- Adjusting user access
- Running reports (in some cases)
- Contacting Social Solutions for account management and technical support
Explain to your staff that this is a temporary situation in order to sustain your ETO database. Communicating a strategy and setting clear expectations will help all team members engage in your organisation’s transition plan.
Once solid communication is in place, you can then build a transition plan by following these five steps:
Step 1: Outsource the ETO administrator role in the short term
Given that most organisations do not have multiple staff acting as ETO administrators, it is likely that if your administrator leaves suddenly, you may not have the ETO software expertise, know-how, or capability within your internal team to manage your database day to day.
In this situation you could set about finding a new administrator or train a new one internally. However, this means that you may need to put on hold some of the administrator functions for your ETO database until the administrator role is filled. This isn’t ideal, considering that users will still enter data, they will still have questions and require support, and the database needs your attention to remain stable.
A more viable option is to look for a short-term solution where there are no breaks in the level of attention your database receives. The best way to do this is to immediately search for an independent ETO software consultant that can step in straight away and act as a short-term system administrator for your organisation (or potentially long term depending on how the relationship develops). This will ensure your database is not left for too long without the attention it needs.
Step 2: Take a step back and look at the role from a global perspective
Once you have a temporary solution in place, the next step is to look at recruiting a replacement, so looking at the specifics of the role and the tasks you want to outline in your job description. But before doing so, you need to take a step back and answer the following questions:
- Why did the current person leave? Was it something that we need to fix before hiring a new administrator?
- What is the current status of our ETO software system? What priorities are high value, low value, or zero value?
- What is the ETO software administrator role in our organisation? How does it fit our culture and organisational structure, if at all?
The worst thing you can do is to jump right into recruiting a replacement which may negatively impacts the integrity of your ETO database.
So, take stock of what brought your organisation to this point and what your priorities are moving forward so you know what you are looking for in a replacement.
Step 3: Review the tasks and amount of time spent on ETO administration
Once you have analysed the circumstances surrounding your administrator’s departure and have a bit more clarity on what you need going forward, you then need to define the tasks and amount of time an ETO database administrator spends in your ETO software system so you can begin the recruitment process.
Unfortunately you don’t have the former ETO administrator to walk you through what they do, so you will need to pull in relevant staff and conduct an audit that defines the following:
- What tasks does an administrator conduct monthly, quarterly, and annually?
- How much time does an administrator spend in the areas of data entry, reporting, system administration, and end user support?
- What percentage of an administrator’s total time is spent on ETO system administration?
If you don’t have the internal staff that can help you with this audit, you may want to hire an independent ETO consultant for this process who can provide an objective look at what it takes to manage your specific database.
Step 4: Assess current user satisfaction with the system
Once you have some stability, you might then want to set up a process to gather feedback from end users. Determine user satisfaction with the system and where they think it can improve.
The feedback can be:
- Formal (surveys and assessments) or informal (personal conversations)
- Identified (attached to a specific person) or anonymous (not attached to a specific person)
If possible, formal and identified feedback is most beneficial as this allows rich, internal conversations about how to get more from your ETO software.
This user feedback is helpful to those individuals who need to make decisions throughout the transition process, as they are not likely to be experts in the system, so it helps them to understand how ETO operates and what they need to take the next step.
Step 5: Gather all ETO documentation into one place
Whether you intend to use an ETO software consultant long term as your ETO database administrator, or you choose to use an internal resource, or you decide to recruit externally, the new ETO administrator will need documentation on how your system operates and its unique customisations.
So if your former ETO administrator left in a hurry, then you need to gather all ETO related documentation into one place and then organise and categorise that documentation, or assign staff to commence developing this documentation if you find it doesn’t exist!
Documentation might include:
- Data entry user guides
- Administrator user guides
- Database blueprints or schematics
- Correspondence with ETO consultants or Social Solutions technical support
Once you have gathered or written the required documentation, it is recommended that you store electronic copies of all materials in a shared folder like Dropbox or Google Drive so it is ready to go once you permanently recruit and train your new ETO administrator.
So, although the sudden departure of your ETO administrator is a stressful time, you can get through this by identifying an immediate plan and executing it in order to sustain your ETO software in the short term. Once you have some temporary strategies in place to keep your database operating as normal, you can then take your time to make some decisions about how you want to fill this role in the long-term.