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Brave new world

Article

This issue of Veterinary Economics has been quite an experience for our editorial team-we switched software. Any of you who've done that in recent memory can probably identify.

This issue of Veterinary Economics has been quite an experience for our editorial team—we switched software. Any of you who've done that in recent memory can probably identify.

Things we could do with our eyes closed before we couldn't figure out how to do at all. Plus, we changed our work process to adjust for our new software. And we started saving files on an external database. And, oh yeah, we got a new phone system.

Boy, it was rough

So, on day one, I couldn't figure out how to open a file, what to call it, where to save it, or why the next person couldn't see the same image I did. And I didn't know how to access my voice mail messages. Oh, yeah. I remember now. Change is hard.

This transition really made me appreciate how smoothly our systems normally work. Getting a document full of words to marry up to a document that looks like a magazine is our equivalent of getting the medical records to marry to the invoicing system. And figuring it out took us days. Instead of focusing completely on the ideas and advice we'd collected to share with you, we had to talk about how to get our files working.

Maybe this is how you feel when you set aside time for team training or to attend continuing education yourself. You could be getting "real" work done.

Our new software is better. Really. When we learn the programs well and have our new systems in place, we'll be faster. We'll be able to design nicer-looking publications more easily. And we'll be well positioned for the future. That's all great. Really great. Worth-making-the-change great. The hard part is keeping that enthusiasm fueled today, when everything is harder.

But we did learn a lot

The truth is, under the pressure of this production cycle, we learned more about the software faster than we could have any other way. At first, we didn't even know what questions to ask. All the training in the world—and we had two weeks of it—doesn't deliver the same results as actually working in the system.

This change has been uncomfortable for everyone. We took something we're good at and now we're all bad at it. But we'll be good again soon. And we can celebrate that we're keeping up with the standard in our industry.

I'm sure you've tried to implement changes, big and small. The bigger changes are harder, of course. They're also the most likely to yield meaningful rewards. That's why we do it, right?

Often in January I'm thinking about my ambitious resolutions for the year. Right now my goal is to get back to retrieving a bunch of skills I seem to have lost overnight. Maybe I'll tackle the new stuff in February.

Marnette Denell Falley, Editor

ve@advanstar.com

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