Consider the following: you decided to implement an accounts payable solution and even have signed a contract with the software vendor. When the contract is signed, each party is supposed to know its counterpart’s obligations and responsibilities as well as their own ones described in the agreement. The contract helps stakeholders understand results expected upon the project completion. Signing an agreement though, is just the beginning of the whole implementation process, which is quite complex and phased. That is why it is crucial for vendors to build customer communication into their software implementation methodology. Lack of communication may easily lead to missed expectations, requirements, etc. Also, a well-organized customer communication ensures the visibility that allows clients to know what to expect throughout the implementation.
What is happening to your company during the whole implementation period? I would like to explain you the main phases and milestones of the overall implementation process using an example of our accounts payable automation solution Conterra FIM.
- Project preparation
At the beginning of the implementation process it is essential to define roles and specify particulars. A kick-off meeting held at this stage enables both parties to clarify the details of the project. An explicit discussion of the specifics during the meeting results in approving the project charter that documents the project scope, objectives and participants. Clearly defined roles and responsibilities allow coworkers to understand their individual component of the implementation, what others are doing and how it all fits together. A realistic implementation timetable plays a crucial role for the project success. Thoroughly planning the implementation process and keeping to the plan will save time and money down the road.
- Detailed assessment
On the next stage of the implementation process the vendor designs the solution. An expert analysis of the customer’s workflow will help customize a special automation solution that would fit customer’s needs and ensure efficient accounts payable process. Then the software vendor offers an accounts payable solution project for the customer’s approval. During the approval process the solution design may be altered and adjusted to better answer the customer’s demands. The stage results in gaining the solution design agreement and approval from the customer company management.
When the solution design is approved, the implementation process starts. During this phase the vendor integrates the accounts payable automation software into the workflow of the customer’s organizational structure.
On the next implementation phase the vendor prepares and passes all necessary software documentation to the customer. User manuals depict how a program is used, describing all its features. Documentation will explain the system to new users and help them better understand how it works.
- User training
Training end-users is probably one of the most important aspects of a new technology successful implementation. A scalable end-user training strategy makes new software deployment both a more cost effective and a happier experience for everyone involved. The first goal of the phase is to get end-users up to the skill level required for doing their jobs at least as quickly and accurately as they were doing with the old software or manually. The second goal is to make users’ acquired skills help them do their jobs more quickly, accurately, and securely than before. Our company, Orienge, has its customary training practice that always proves its efficiency. We provide in-person training for our customers’ key users, whose involvement plays critical role in the business process. We also host webinar training for important users, and the rest of users can train by watching the recorded webinar.
- Pilot operation
On the pilot operation phase, the entire new information system is implemented, but only at a single location called a pilot site. Pilot operation method allows detecting and eliminating system problems at early stages, which is less expensive than parallel operation for the entire company. Pilot operation shortens the changeover period on the final stage. After the system proves successful at the pilot site, it is implemented in the rest of the organization.
- All users’ involvement
Now, when the software is implemented across the organization, vendor’s professionals detect and eliminate some possible errors and problems that may emerge during the system operation. All users’ involvement is the project’s logical completion.
We have enlisted the main phases of software implementation process. Keeping to the implementation plan helps vendors do their job thoroughly and promptly. Software implementation is challenging even under the best circumstances. However, a professional team will always ensure competent project management and, as a result, an efficient software operation process.
The Orienge team and I are always ready to help you with financial information management and related processes. Feel free to contact me directly email@example.com or contact a member of the Orienge team at (917) 727-3278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also our post «Emotions on Implementation Phases».