Our client, an engineering consultancy, had recently selected a new billing and project management software system – Netsuite. The new software was to replace an unsuccessfully implemented replacement for an old, home-grown projects system. While the original system was unstable, it had been universally loved by the directors and staff, while the interim replacement was universally hated. Additionally, the cut-over to the interim system had been flawed, with the data transition being incomplete and containing inaccuracies. Implementing the new billing and project management software would be a challenge, both in terms of ensuring business acceptance, as well as bringing together legacy take-on data from two systems. We were engaged to assist the business with the implementation, primarily to assist with process alignment and change management within the business, with a secondary aim of providing a plan for completing an accurate data migration on cut-over. Finally, due to our prior contact with the vendor during the selection process, we were asked to fill an advisory role, assisting the business with vendor follow-up and communications.
- We discussed options for a simple change plan to be used by the GM and Directors, ensuring that all staff were engaged in the “story” of the rollout and were aware of what would be occurring. In particular, the communications plan was used to ensure that concern regarding current pain points could be allayed. Key staff were engaged as champions and used continually throughout the process to be the sounding board for functionality and communications to their teams.
- We attended the initial workshops with the vendor and the business, ensuring that all the key functionality required by the business was included, while also translating between vendor and business where compromises had been reached.
- Unfortunately, there were immediate issues with the vendor through their lack of project communications but continual project management billing. We were able to use our alternative vendor contacts to force the communication and eventually, push for a change to a more proactive vendor Project Manager.
- When the full scoping and functional needs document was produced by the vendor after a couple of months, we assisted the businesses firstly with an initial review to check the functionality described met needs. When we discovered there were significant misunderstandings and assumptions made by the vendor, we worked with the vendor and the business to realign the functionality back to meet the business needs.
- We attended all the critical functional presentation or verification sessions with the business and vendor, using this knowledge to help the GM develop a first-pass functional review session for identified key staff. Feedback from this process was then fed back into the project.
- We assisted the business with preparing end-user training documents, presenting the functional steps in a way that aligned with the staff perception of the business process.
- Throughout the project, a data analysis process occurred to determine the way in which data from the two legacy systems could be combined and brought into the new software system. A method was put together, in conjunction with the vendor, with data dealt with in defined categories. We also provided hands-on assistance with the cut-over process.
- There were significant issues with the vendor throughout this project, which meant that constant delays and functional shifts occurred. We helped the business keep the project progressing and have the right information to pin down the vendor.
- Despite the late delivery of customised functionality, we worked with the business to ensure that they still had the right documentation and data scenarios to complete end user training with one hundred staff.
- While there were some challenges with the take-on of 35,000+ current and historical projects, the data came over accurately and balanced at the time of the cut-over, to the best of available knowledge.
- While the business did not make their initial desired cut-over date due to their vendor delays, we helped them push through the tasks to ensure they made their drop-dead date.
- The vendor only delivered key functionality the day before cut-over, by which stage the business still decided to progress. After many months of pain with dealing with the current vendor and unsuccessfully attempting to get them to rectify missing items, we identified a suitable contact at the software vendor, ensuring that the issues could be escalated and resolved.
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