By: Jenna Ulbricht
Implementing a new software system into a business environment can be an arduous task. Companies purchasing new systems are in search of software solutions that cannot be satisfied by their existing provider. One of the greatest mistakes a company makes when investing in a new system is expecting that the system works and is designed the same way that their current system operates. Another false expectation is that system implementations are one size fits all. Shaw Systems has been transitioning software at companies for 50 years, learning and evolving implementation practices along the way. Outlined below are stages to carefully consider when planning a software transition. With our experienced staff close by, we provide guidance during each of the implementation stages outlined below.
Implementation Strategy – The client will decide on a conversion strategy with the advice and assistance of Shaw. The conversion strategy will take into consideration the client’s time requirement, resources and previous implementation experience. A clear implementation strategy that is communicated to both organizations will guide the teams throughout the project.
Requirements and Analysis – During the requirements and analysis stage, Shaw Systems hosts onsite and remote requirements gathering sessions designed to:
- Identify the need for change.
- Learn about possible innovations and interfaces designed to provide solutions.
- Identify existing interfaces, requirements and schedule
- Estimate what it takes to install innovations and interfaces.
- Create steps to support the work as it progresses through the rest of the stages.
- Establish key stakeholders and software champions.
- Develop communication processes to support the work.
- Establish a project outline and timeline for implementation.
Conversion – If your organization is in the position to convert historical account information from your existing system to Shaw, we are happy to support the conversion process. Conversion involves the repetitive process of defining the data in its existing system, mapping the data to Shaw and verifying the data is translated properly and produces the expected results. Conversion can be time consuming depending on the quality of the data from the donor system and the extent that critical data has been stored in unexpected fields. Many times, documentation is not available or is inaccurate for the donor system. -If the data to be converted has gone through multiple prior conversions the quality of the data may be compromised. The organization should establish clear standards for acceptable converted data to maintain the implementation schedule.
Design and Construct – In this stage, our team of developers and business analysts configure the system. During the design and construct stage the following takes place:
- Securing and developing the support needed to install the new process and interfaces.
- Quantify resources required to execute the build out.
- Configuring the system and constructing enhancements based on initial requirements captured.
- Configure the interfaces
- Identify any alterations to the initial plan, defined through signed-off change orders.
Test – The testing stage is an ongoing and repeatable effort. Client testing begins when the first set of configurations, enhancements and interfaces are ready for delivery. Once new functionality passes internal testing, the releases are then delivered to the client to also perform acceptance testing. This process is repeated until all requirements are met and verified by Shaw and the client. While the testing of new functionality is being performed a parallel track of conversion testing may occur. The conversion testing will include the full range of system functionality and balancing. Testing will include a full parallel test of the new system and balancing to assure the new system results agree with the existing data.
Implementation– Once all testing in a pre-production state is verified, the Shaw and client teams are ready for a full implementation. At this point the implemented system becomes operational and able to handle the daily responsibilities of the client’s business. In this stage we gather data to check in on how implementation is going and develop improvement strategies based on the data.
Ongoing Support – Once a system is fully implemented, the client is introduced to our full-time support staff. Client support is dedicated to resolving client questions in a production state.
Our goal is to be present and accessible with each client through all implementation stages, made possible by our project management team, account managers, executive team, strategy leadership as well as our system support staff. We understand the critical nature of the system we develop and the powerful impact it has to positively assist alongside growing businesses.