Implementation Methodology (IM) Advantage is a cost effective, proven methodology, designed to eliminate common implementation errors and further streamline the implementation process to save time and money.
“IM Advantage” is a flexible six-phased approach that allows the mapping of your business processes to your application, with full capabilities for management review and for changes along the way.
In the Definition phase, we plan the project, review Customer business objectives, understand the business processes, and evaluate the feasibility of meeting those objectives under time, resource and budget constraints. The emphasis is on building an achievable work plan and introducing guidelines on how the organization will work to achieve common objectives. Establishing scope early in the implementation gives the team a common reference point and an effective way to communicate. Strategies, objectives and approaches are determined for each (IM) process, providing the basis for the project plan. Sharing an accurate understanding of these requirements is a critical success factor for the project.
The team reviews financial, operational, technical and administrative processes and leads workshops with representatives from the organizationâ€™s staff to verify that all stakeholders understand and agree on the detailed business requirements. Then, the project team develops high-level process scenarios that are used to assess the level of fit between the idealized future processes for the organization and standard application functionality. Gaps are identified, and corresponding solutions developed. The analysis results in a high-level design for future business processes. This high-level design is developed into more detailed business process designs during the Operations Analysis phase.
During Operations Analysis, the project team develops the Business Requirements Scenarios based on deliverables from Definition that are used to assess the level of fit between the detailed business requirements and standard application functionality. Gaps are identified and new proposed solutions are developed. The analysis results in a proposal for conducting business operations under the envisioned application technical architecture. Proposed solutions for gaps evolve into detailed designs during the Solution Design phase.
To develop models of future business operations, we must verify initial assumptions regarding proposed functionality for gaps. The new system may require only minor modifications to forms, reports and programs. The team should explore workarounds to application gaps before considering custom modifications or new developments. If the new system requires custom development, the team prepares high-level design documents. These documents include general description of the required features and a work estimate for each customization. The approach to be taken for the customizations and estimates are approved before detailed design begins during Solution Design.
During this phase, work sessions are conducted for middle managers and first-line managers who are not on the project team, to assume their role in a successful implementation. Finally, a Transition Strategy is developed for migration of the organization from the current system to the new production system.
The purpose of Solution Design is to develop the detailed designs for the new system to meet the future business requirements. During this phase, project team members create detailed Business Procedure Documentation.
Supporting business requirements may require building application extensions to standard features – several alternative possibilities may have been defined during Operations Analysis. The project team carefully scrutinizes these possibilities and chooses the most cost-effective alternatives.
To design effective business systems, we make sure that planned user roles and job procedures are efficient. When designing new systems, we consider organizational changes, process improvement, and reengineering initiatives to the extent that they are incorporated into the project scope. These initiatives often affect how application features should be utilized. Business process design is iterative. Tasks that span both the Operations Analysis and Solution Design phases may be performed as a unit by a design team.
The coding and testing of all customizations and other custom software, including application extensions, data conversions, and interfaces, is done during the Build phase. Business system testing is performed to validate that the functionality meets business requirements.
If customizations, extensions or conversions are not required, the Build phase is still important because it includes the business system test, which is commonly conducted as a formal Conference Room Pilot (CRP) test. The business system test validates the
configuration of the new system and is performed in an environment that closely resembles production.
As the new system is being created, we begin to develop custom application documentation and systems operating documentation. As the system is refined, the documentation is reviewed and revised.
Developers produce unit-tested and link-tested program modules. System and systems integration tests are performed and a working, tested business system is delivered at the end of the phase. Finally, during Build the production support infrastructure is designed and a Transition and Contingency Plan is developed.
During Transition, the project team deploys the new system into the organization. All the elements of the implementation must come together to transition successfully to actual production. The project team trains the users while the technical team configures the Production Environment and converts data.
During Transition, users perform an acceptance test of the new system. Transition is a demanding experience for the project team, and in particular, for the users who have to maintain exposure to two systems until a new production system is declared. Managing changes and buffering the organization from negative impacts must be top priority. Preparation and planning facilitate the transition process. Transition ends with the cut over to production, when users start performing their job duties using the new system.
If a phased deployment is being employed, Transition may consist of multiple deployments where subsets of the applications may be deployed to various geographical sites and/or business units at different times.
Production begins immediately with the production cutover. It marks the last phase of the implementation and beginning of the system support cycle. A series of refinements and performance measurement steps is included in this final phase. The information technology personnel work quickly to stabilize the new system and begin regular maintenance. They provide the ongoing support to the organization for the remaining life of the system. During Production, you compare actual results to project objectives and determine if improvements can be made. Controlled system refinement begins to minimize the impact to users. Finally, you start preliminary planning of the future business and technical direction of the Company.
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