A software implementation can be a complex and overwhelming project for any organization. However, here at Burger Consulting Group, we have in-house resources to assist you in this endeavor. One of the services we provide is the management of software implementations. Below are some of the high-level areas that need to be managed through a software implementation.
Typically, when we work with a client on an implementation project the first area we address is Design. Design can be done either before or after a particular software decision has been made and includes reviewing current work processes and comparing them to industrywide best practices. The goal in this step is to design the work processes before configuring any software.
Once the design has been finalized the next step in the process is configuring or setting up the software solution(s). The work in this step generally revolves around managing the vendor(s) to ensure the finalized design is taken into account when configuring the software solution(s).
Implementations can involve a significant effort around integrating multiple solutions together. So we’ve dedicated additional space to what can be a complex topic (please see the related article on Middleware and Integrations in this Newsletter).
Data migration also involves a high level of effort in management. Typically, the work involved is not difficult but does take a significant amount of time from the resources involved. Some of the items to consider include the following:
- Initial identification of the data elements to bring into the new solution – It’s important to make sure the team understands that not all data needs to be brought over into the new solution. Noncritical data can remain in an old solution or be exported into a static file format to refer to later if needed.
- Test database creation and testing – it’s important to Plan and create a Test environment to test and verify the data going into the new solution is correct. You do not want to perform any data migration work in a Live or Production environment.
- Assigning responsibility – we will assign a single person to each data element being brought in through a data migration. There can be a tendency to assign a ‘Team’ to be responsible for reviewing data, but in our experience, if multiple people are assigned to a task, no one is assigned to the task.
- Method for how to migrate data – There are several ways that data can be brought into a new solution. Some of these include the following:
- Database – Burger Consulting Group has worked with several DBA’s that can extract data from an old solution and insert it into the new solution using back-end database queries. This can be an extremely efficient method of inserting the data needed but requires good communication between the DBA and the team members responsible for the data.
- Import templates – this method is more manual ban the database method and typically requires more involvement from the client teams as they are usually the ones responsible for extracting the data and inserting on the import templates.
- Manual – And finally the most time-consuming method for inserting data into a new solution is manually typing into the new software. However, you don’t have to worry about the data being in the correct format since it’s being entered through the software front-end.
- Cutover dates and order – we will work with your team to identify the specific cutover dates and order of migrating the data. For instance, you need to insert AP vendors before you can insert AP transactions.
- Mapping of fields from old to new – there is always some level of field mapping required with data migration. For instance, if you are updating phase codes from an old format to a new format they will need to be mapped when inserting into the new solution.
The testing phase of implementation is critical to ensure a smooth go-live. Burger Consulting Group can help you manage this process including team selection, setting up and documenting test runs, and coordinating the issues that arise out of the testing process.
One thing to keep in mind as you progress through an implementation is ‘how will new employees get up to speed on the processes and working in the new software solution?’ We recommend and can assist in documenting the work processes and how to do them in the new software solutions to provide a robust training curriculum that can be referred to by all employees moving forward.
The final step to consider before going live on a new software solution is to take a step back to assess whether you are truly ready to go live. We have a defined Readiness Assessment that we review with the implementation team to identify any areas of weaknesses to address before going live in a new solution.
Our end goal is for our clients to have a ‘boring’ go-live with no surprises. At the end of the day our clients should have a software solution that includes having employees trained on best practice work processes and how to work within their designed processes.