Article by Joan Walker, Managing Director at UNAPEN, Inc.
See Part 1 here: What Can RIAs Expect from a System Conversion – Part 1
See Part 2 here: What Can RIAs Expect from a System Conversion – Part 2
See Part 3 here: What Can RIAs Expect from a System Conversion – Part 3
When last we left off, you thought that there would be smooth sailing since communication was firmly established. Now comes the fun part, bringing it all together.
A Unified Vision
The vision that was created by the two project teams needs to be shared with the entire company. Most of the time this comes during implementation weekend and the weeks that follow. This is where you will find out if right people were involved in the project, were they empowered for success and did they communicate effectively. Another question that will be answered is – did the project and timeline take into consideration all the needs of all people who will use the system. The answer will be no.
After any implementation, there will be tweaks. These may come to light in training sessions. Training sessions will drive adoption and if those sessions are not tailored for how the users need the system to work, adoption will be low. If they are tailored for the specific tasks, there will be input from the users letting you know if you hit the mark. If not, this brings us to the wonderful world of change orders.
Change Orders – good or bad?
Change Orders can happen throughout the conversion and implementation. They can also continue for years after an implementation. If people are using the system, they will inevitably want to make changes and additions. This is not a bad thing, especially if the changes will do one or more of the following: increase productivity, increase accountability and reduce risk. Any software that a company uses should have those three factors.
Not all change orders are created equal, but the questions that need to be answered are:
- What is the Cost?
- Who requested the change?
- What is the change, including the following?
- Areas for the system that will be affected
- Screen designs of new functionality
- Is there a compliance component to the change?
- Who should sign off on the change?
- Will it impact current work flow?
- Are there other options?
- Is there a work around?
This will allow you to make an informed decision as to whether the change order should be approved. For example, a change to add social security to all email of a recipient may be inexpensive, but would it pass compliance?
Each Change Order will be like a mini project. Your vendor should demonstrate time and again their competency with their system and your company as they develop and implement each change order. A good vendor will question and validate your requests. The last thing you want to do is to make enhancements the work against each other. Remember the cartoon from the 3rd installment? Well I will leave you with an update to that cartoon – you never want to find yourself in the position of the 2nd to last panel.
Joan Walker is a Managing Director at UNAPEN, Inc, a nationally recognized consulting and software development firm that provides software and technical consulting to the financial services industry. Follow on twitter @UNAPEN.
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